Sam Stein with the Huffington Post had this blockbuster storyyesterday about how the Senate Democrats from the HELP and the Finance Committees went over to the White House and were considering the "7-year trigger" for the public option with the White House aides.
Now, what is this "7-year trigger" for the public option in health care reform, you ask? Basically, they'll insert a strong Medicare-like public option in the final bill but have it as a "trigger" only to set in SEVEN YEARS FROM NOW if private insurance fails to make health insurance affordable for Americans.
Here's a little NEWS FLASH for President Obama and some of these Senate Democrats:
PRIVATE INSURANCE HAS ALREADY FAILED, AND IT'S THE TRIGGER FOR THE PUBLIC OPTION!
Now, here's more from the Huffington Post story on this subject:
Multiple Democratic sources tell the Huffington Post that the White House and key members of the Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committees are in the process of hammering out key principles on health care reform -- with a meeting scheduled at the West Wing this afternoon. One of the components will be music to progressive ears: that any bill includes an option publicly run health insurance coverage. But it also comes with a caveat that could engender opposition from that very same constituency.
A trigger would pave the way for public option to come into place only after certain market conditions are met -- mainly if private insurance companies are unable to achieve various metrics for coverage within a certain time frame. The proposal would placate many of the private health care actors who consider a public plan the first step towards a single-payer system. Progressives, however, view it as reform in name and not substance.
"This is really, obviously, a mechanism to kill the public plan," said one progressive health care reform advocate. "We will see what comes out, but the fact that they are debating this is problematic."
The only reason they're considering this is to avoid the use of the budget reconciliation by placating Republicans with this "7-year trigger" to get the bipartisan votes they need to pass this form of health care reform. Besides, it looks better politically for the White House to have this pass with the use of "bipartisanship," which is ridiculous. Why compromise away essential parts of the health care reform for the sake of a couple of Republican votes?
Yes, it IS problematic, and VERY STUPID of them to do so. It's time to tell them NO to the 7-YEAR TRIGGER for the Medicare-like public option.
We NEED a strong, robust Medicare-like public option NOW, and we can't afford to wait SEVEN YEARS for this to happen. Too many of us are hurting now.
PLEASE CALL the White House and let President Obama know that you don't want him to consider the "7-year trigger" for the public option. Let him know that you're ANGRY that he's doing this. Tell him it won't be REAL health care reform without an immediately available, strong, robust Medicare-like public option.
CALL the White House at: 202-456-1111 and E-MAIL them as well!
PLEASE CALL these Senators on the Senate Finance Committee today to demand a strong, robust affordable Medicare-like public option. Here's a list of talking points below:
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.
Please CALL Senator Max Baucus at (202) 224-2651
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
It's really important that we CALL these Senators on the Senate Finance Committee because some of them are SERIOUSLY considering the 7-year trigger for the public option in case private insurance fails. Well, here's a frickin' news alert--private insurance ALREADY has failed us. We have to get them to stop considering the public option as a "fall-back trigger" seven years from now, because we NEED a Medicare-like public option NOW that is affordable and OPEN TO ALL Americans.
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)
So, PLEASE CALL and let them KNOW that you want a Medicare-like public option in health care reform! Ask them not to pass a bill out of the House that does NOT include a strong, robust Medicare-like public option that is AFFORDABLE AND OPEN TO ALL AMERICANS.
A Medicare-like public option is the line in the sand for me. Is it the line in the sand for you as well?
If so, then CALL!
I'm going to be gone all day, so please help keep this on the rec list so others can see the phone numbers, call today, and help fight against the swiftboating of the public option in health care reform.
UPDATE: President Obama re-affirms his support for the public option in a letter to the Senate, thanks to HCAN:
The plans you are discussing embody my core belief that Americans should have better choices for health insurance, building on the principle that if they like the coverage they have now, they can keep it, while seeing their costs lowered as our reforms take hold. But for those who don't have such options, I agree that we should create a health insurance exchange — a market where Americans can one-stop shop for a health care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose the plan that's best for them, in the same way that Members of Congress and their families can. None of these plans should deny coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition, and all of these plans should include an affordable basic benefit package that includes prevention, and protection against catastrophic costs. I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.