The House has always been more liberal than its Senate counterpart, and their own health care draft, which will be released in full later today at 1 p.m., has a public option in it. Nancy Pelosi has said repeatedly that it will be a strong public option. Also, remember the House chairmen have been resisting the calls of the Blue Dogs and the New Democrats to jettison the public option.
House Democrats planned to unveil a draft of their sweeping health care bill Friday. It would require all individuals to obtain health insurance and force employers to offer health care to their workers, with exemptions for small businesses. A new public health insurance plan, strongly opposed by Republicans, would compete with private companies within a new health care purchasing "exchange" where Americans could shop for coverage. Government subsidies would help the poor buy care.
The draft, being released at a news conference of the chairmen of the three committees with jurisdiction — Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor — was not expected to mention the potentially unpopular tax options.
On the other side of the Capitol, two Senate committees were going in separate directions on their health care bills. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee spent a second full day working on an expansive bill reflecting Democratic priorities, while members of the Finance Committee were laboring to produce legislation that could attract Republican support.
The public option may still appear in the HELP Committee mark-up of the bill draft, and the mark-up is going on today, so PLEASE CALL Senator Dodd to let him know that you want Option A, which is a strong, robust Medicare-like public option in the mark-up!
Tell Senator Dodd to STOP PLAYING POLITICS to appease the Republicans and release the details of the public option as Option A only in the HELP committee bill draft!
CALL Senator Dodd at (202) 224-2823
You can e-mail the HELP committee as well here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, don't forget to CALL these Senators on the HELP Committee with the talking points below and why you WANT the HELP committee draft to have a strong, robust Medicare-like public option, that is NOT THE SCHUMER COMPROMISE OR THE CONRAD CO-OP proposal!
Tell Senator [Name] that you DO NOT want the 7-year trigger for the public option and take it off the table, and that you want him to support an affordable strong, robust Medicare-like public option. We NEED a strong, robust Medicare-like public option NOW OPEN TO ALL AMERICANS AND AFFORDABLE, not more of the SAME broken system that's given us unaffordable premiums, little private insurance coverage, and rising co-pays. Also, DON'T TAX OUR EMPLOYER HEALTH BENEFITS. Instead, follow the proposal by President Obama to tax the wealthy above $250,000, eliminate the overpayments in Medicare Advantage, and put tax capital gains to help fund health care reform. TELL YOUR SENATOR NO ON THE SCHUMER COMPROMISE AND NO ON THE CONRAD CO-OP COMPROMISE.
Also, tell President Obama at the White House not to pursue bipartisanship for bipartisanship's sake with the public option as a bargaining chip in health care reform. Let's make President Obama know that we don't want the 15% that is traded away for "bipartisanship" to be the public option.
This is what President Obama has told visitors in private at the White House:
The president has told visitors that he would rather have 70 votes in the Senate for a bill that gives him 85 percent of what he wants rather than a 100 percent satisfactory bill that passes 52 to 48.
Tell President Obama not to sacrifice the public option for the sake of bipartisanship. It won't be real health care reform without a strong public option that helps keep insurance companies honest.
CALL the White House at: 202-456-1111 and E-MAIL them as well!
Please especially CALL Senator Kay Hagan to support a strong, robust Medicare-like public option!!!!
Please CALL Senator Max Baucus at (202) 224-2651
Please CALL Senator Olympia Snowe at (202) 224-5344
Please CALL Senator Charles Schumer at 202-224-6542
Please CALL Senator Edward Kennedy at (202) 224-4543
Please CALL Senator John Rockefeller at (202) 224-6472
Please CALL Senator Ron Wyden at (202) 224-5244
Please CALL Senator Kent Conrad at (202) 224-2043
Please CALL Senator Jeff Bingaman at (202) 224-5521
Please CALL Senator John Kerry at (202) 224-2742
Please CALL Senator Blanche Lincoln at 202-224-4843
Please CALL Senator Debbie Stabenow at (202) 224-4822
Please CALL Senator Maria Cantwell at 202-224-3441
Please CALL Senator Bill Nelson at 202-224-5274
Please CALL Senator Robert Menendez at 202-224-4744
Please CALL Senator Thomas Carper at (202) 224-2441
Also, can you please CALL these THREE chairmen in the House of Representatives, especially Rep. Waxman who's leading the charge on health care reform below?
Ways and Means Committee Chair Charlie Rangel (202) 225-3625)
Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Henry Waxman (202) 225-2927)
Education and Labor Committee Chair George Miller (202) 225-3725)
TOLL FREE NUMBERS FOR THE SENATE, HOUSE, AND WHITE HOUSE:
Capitol Hill 800-828-0498
Also,please feel free to go over to HuffingtonPost and give Rep. Jim Cooper, a Blue Dog, a piece of your mind for opposing the public option in health care reform. This moronic idiot has no idea what he's talking about in his fetish for bipartisanship.
Remember again, this is the three options for the public option in the HELP Committee draft:
Option A: A public health insurance plan operated by the Federal government with a payment schedule that is set in statute and is based on Medicare.
Option B: A federal health insurance plan that is operated under contract from HHS but would play by the same rules as commercial health insurance carriers. The federal government would contract with an entity to administer the plan as well as provide start-up costs (e.g., 6 month reserve). The plan would be required:
(1) to be a non-profit or cooperative entity
(2) charge premiums at a level to cover costs of paying claims, making quality improvements, and administering the plan and (3) re-pay initial start-up costs. Every state gateway must offer the federal public plan. In addition, States would be permitted to operate their own public plan if the plan meets requirements established by the Secretary.
Option C: Drop public plan option. [That's it. That's the whole thing.]
I'm in favor of Option A in the HELP Committee draft, which is basically a strong, robust Medicare-like public option.
If you want a strong, robust Medicare-like public option, then the time to fight is here and NOW! Let's not stop on making these calls!
A strong, robust Medicare-like public option is the line in the sand for me. Is it the line in the sand for you as well?
Remember, this is the time when they MOST want us to GIVE UP. Well, guess what? I'm NOT GIVING UP! This is the fight I've been waiting for, and it's a fight that needs our support in the netroots.
And to quote a Huffpo blogger, Eric Schmeltzer, the public option is the best health care we can get. Max Baucus wants to screw you out of the best health care. McConnell wants to screw you out of the best health care. That's what they're doing by fighting against it. Well, I say, SCREW THAT!
Please REC this diary up so others can see the phone numbers and make the calls today! Also, please ask your friends and family to CALL today! The more people that call, the better it will be for the public option in health care reform.
UPDATE: HCAN just came out with an EXCELLENT ad supporting the public option that will run for ten days in these states such as Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington.
Can you PLEASE help put HCAN's diary on the REC list?
UPDATE #2: Here's the link to the House bill draft which has a public option.
UPDATE #3: Senator Jeff Bingaman just answered all FOUR of the questions brought up by Chris Bowers in this diary by TheFatLadySings