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This week President Obama asked Congress to stand strong and finish the job of fixing our busted health insurance system. I couldn't agree more, and now we've got a plan to get this done.

I'm calling this strategy "Pledge & Pass," and it's a simple, two-step plan for passing meaningful health insurance reform. I believe it's our job as public servants to actually serve the public, and ending the suffering of millions of Americans under our current system is exactly what our constituents expect and deserve.

Here's the plan.

Step 1. United States Senators pledge to fix elements of the bill that are not acceptable to many House members, and the House pass the Senate bill as is.

Step 2. We in the Senate fulfill our pledge to the House, fix the elements that need fixing, and pass this critical legislation through a filibuster-proof budget process known as reconciliation.

As I've said for years, letting perfect reform be the enemy of a good bill would be a tragic outcome for our constituents. Make no mistake about it; people are hurting as a result of decades of dithering on this issue, and it's past time we deliver real change.

Every day, middle class families go bankrupt and lose their homes. Sick folks don't get the health care they need, and as a result they're sicker, they experience pain, and they watch their children experience pain.

Every year, 45,000 people die because they lack health insurance, and it's long past time we put an end to it. It's time get a bill to the President's desk.

Remember the story about activists that went to talk to FDR about wanting to see him enact Social Security? At the time, the President didn't have the votes in Congress to get it done. He said,  "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."

Make us do this.

This is not about House vs. Senate, it's about Now vs. Never. If they pass it, we'll fix it. I didn't run for the Senate to walk away from the health care debate empty-handed, and with your support, we won't.

Originally posted to Al Franken on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:38 AM PST.

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