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We are packed for Costa Rica with our free air miles tickets in our hot little hands, and now in Austin for some health stuff before we go. Even with the return to beautiful CR to look forward to I have been somewhat depressed because Repubs and interest groups are after cutting our junk TX teacher retiree healthcare again. Our 20% we had to pay out  was huge this past year,   but thankful to have that coverage or we would indeed be bankrupt now.

We are not yet old enough for Medicare, and even that is under threat of cuts as well. Meh.

New Day!

But its a sunny day here in Austin, TX, and FINALLY some hopeful news this week!

How about that President Obama, hmmm? !

Been giving the Republicans 'what for' in his speeches, saying NO WAY he's  doing the debt ceiling tango with them again, and also standing up to the NRA on gun control!  Now that's what I'm talking about!

And then almost as awesome, the Republicans stepped down off their little hobby horses and actually finally let Sandy aid pass.  Yus!

Now I must admit to being one of those who is still skeptical as to whether he will negotiate  cuts to safety net benefits when it comes down the sequester, and as I wrote recently I think its prudent tojoin the 300 organizations of Strengthen Social Security and be proactive in pushing against any possible cuts.

So Excited !

That said,  I was SO so jazzed to see this news in my email this morning:

New Public Option Bill Lowers Families’ Health Costs and the Deficit

Health care experts have long said that a public health insurance option not only would provide lower-cost health insurance for those who choose it but would also force private insurers to lower their premiums. A public option was a key element of the 2009 House-passed version of health care reform, but it did not make it to the final bill.

Now, as lawmakers focus on deficit reduction, with many Republicans calling for cuts in health care benefits and shifting even more costs to working families, the creation of a public option as a deficit-reducing tool—along with its other benefits—is back on the table.

On Tuesday, Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), along with 43 co-sponsors, introduced H.R. 26, the Public Option Deficit Reduction Act.  This bill would offer consumers the choice of a publicly run health insurance plan, an option they say would save more than $100 billion over 10 years. Schakowsky says:

American health consumers deserve a publicly accountable, transparent and lower-cost option. The bill would provide that choice and lower the federal deficit at the same time. We cannot let for-profit insurance companies continue to prevent American consumers and American taxpayers from benefiting from passage of the public option.

She says that a public health insurance option would offer premiums 5% to 7% lower than private health insurance companies (according to the CBO).

And, by providing a lower-cost alternative to private insurance, it would put pressure on all insurers to lower their premiums in order to compete.

According to Schakowsky, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated a public option could reduce the deficit by $104 billion over 10 years. If coupled with other measures such as allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates a 10-year cost savings of $278 billion. That’s in addition to the health care cost savings the Affordable Care Act is already achieving.  

Says Waxman:

As Congress looks to reduce the deficit, it is important to remember the one policy that could save billions of dollars is the public option.

A public option is part of the AFL-CIO's Solutions Agenda to stabilize the national debt over the long-term. Find out more of what Congress should do.

Awesome news. Hopefully the President will go strong on this surefire way to reduce the deficit and help the 26 million who will not be helped by ACA.

So what say we get on board with this and  contact Congress, the President, our Senators and ask for their leadership and support for this.

(Speaking of, pssst, Senator Reid, remember when you promised a separate vote on the Public Option?!  

Now you can make up for that not happening by supporting this awesome

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Originally posted to divineorder on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM PST.

Also republished by Dream Menders.

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