Senator Schumer came out yesterday on Face The Nation in strong support of the public option, stated his requirements for it, but left room for compromise on the public option by allowing for an alternative such as the Conrad co-op proposal to pass the Senate Finance Committee if it falls along within these requirements:
And we’re working very hard to come to an agreement. Look, I’ve said to Chuck Grassley and to Kent Conrad and Chairman Baucus, if-- I don’t care what you call it, but whatever we have that has to compete against the private insurance companies, and, of course, I prefer a public option, but these are the
First it has to be available on the first day to everybody. Second, it has to be-- so there shouldn’t be a trigger, two years later, maybe we’ll have one.
Second, it has to be national. You know, I know there are co-ops in Iowa. There are even co-ops in New York. I live in one. I live in an apartment building that’s a co-op, so I’m a co-operator. But to just have one little co-op, say in Ogdensburg, New York, and say New York is covered, when 99 percent of the people have nothing, that’s no good.
Third, it has to be transparent. In other words, we want to know-- the public option, the advantage is, when it makes a deal with the drug companies or big hospital association, we’ll know what it says and it will keep the insurance companies honest. They don’t make their deals public. And they-- since there’s no competition, they jack up prices. And it has to have the clout to go against the big boys. Now if we could get those four things, we could do it. But it’s a-- it’s a road to go.
I'm sorry, Senator Schumer, but the Conrad co-op alternative is already a compromise of a compromise, and I can't go along with that, and pretending that a lipstick on a pig makes it anything else other than a pig.
Here's Senator Schumer's office. Please call him to thank him for supporting a public option, and tell him that we can't support Conrad co-op's compromise since it's already a compromise of a compromise and the Republicans will NEVER go for anything else resembling a public plan or a public competitive player to the private insurance companies:
CALL Senator Schumer at (202) 224-6542
ALSO, PLEASE CALL the phone numbers of ALL the Senators on the Finance Committee with these talking points below for the mark-up:
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 CONRAD CO-OP COMPROMISE.
Please CALL Senator Max Baucus at (202) 224-2651
Please CALL Senator Olympia Snowe at (202) 224-5344
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
We can't afford for the Tri-Caucus health reform package to be weakened any further, or to have the public option stripped out in conference committee. It'd be a mandated bailout of the private insurance industry, and no amount of flowery rhetoric about cost controls and lowered premiums can change that fact.
It's why I want you to use the Public Option Tool next week to call your progressive Members of Congress and find out where they stand. The public option is the line in the sand for me, and it needs to be the line in the sand for 40 progressive Democrats as well!
Also, want to bring some serious local grassroots smackdown on Senators like Baucus, Wyden, Conrad, Lincoln , Landrieu, Hagan, and Feinstein? Let me tell you how we can do this. We're going to use President Obama's website, Organizing For America, to accomplish the greatest smackdown of all time this weekend.
I want you to sign up with Organizing For America this week. Once you've signed up with OFA, I'd like you to go to the Health Care Action Center and take a look around.
The most important tool we'll be using in the Health Care Action Center. will be the "Contact People Near You" phonebanking tool.
This is the action item agenda with the "Contact People Near You" phonebanking tool below:
- Sign up with Organizing For America.
- Go to the Health Care Action Center and click on the "Contact People Near You" phonebanking icon to the left of the screen, near the bottom of the page.
- Select your state from the drop-down menu. This is where the fun action comes in!
- Let's say, you select Montana from the drop-down menu. It takes you to a new webpage where it has a red icon that says "Make Calls Now" with a list of 25 supporters to call. It asks you to make a report after the call, and gives you talking points. In my opinion, these are weak talking points since it doesn't mention the public option, so I'll be fixing that a bit.
- So what we'll be doing is calling 25 people, asking them if they support President Obama's health care plan, which includes a public option to help keep private insurers honest. Then we'll tell them to call their Senators, such as Max Baucus, Conrad, Hagan, and others, to ask them to support the public option in President Obama's health care plan.
That's what we'll be doing---bringing down the grassroots smack-down at a local level by calling people in these Senators' states. Here are the talking points for each of the states below that you can use when calling supporters from your call list. I'll use Montana as an example first.
Hi, is [person's name] home? My name is [blank], and I'm a volunteer with Organizing for America, the grassroots organization formed to continue bringing the change we worked for during President Obama's campaign. How are you today? (Wait for response and make sure to engage in a conversational manner). As you might know, Organizing for America was formed after the campaign to support the President's agenda for change.
Recently, President Obama laid out the three core principles for real health care reform in America which has to reduce costs — such as rising health care costs which are crushing the budgets of governments, businesses, individuals, and families, and they must be brought under control. Secondly, real health care reform must guarantee choice in that every American must have the freedom to choose their plan and doctor – including the choice of a public insurance option which helps keep private insurers honest and lowers the cost of the monthly premiums that we pay. The public option will be available nationwide, available on day one, and is accountable to Congress and the voters.
Third, it must ensure quality care for all in that Americans must have quality and affordable health care. The need for action in reforming our health care could not be greater; the costs for premiums are rising 4 times the rate of wages and families and small businesses can no longer afford their existing health care plan. If health care reform is going to be passed it cannot wait another year. For American families, the status quo is unacceptable.
Do you support these principles for health reform? I also would like to ask you to call your Senator, Max Baucus, at (202) 224-2651 on Monday to ask him to support President Obama's health reform by helping pass a strong public option which keeps private insurers honest.
Here's the list of states that we should call that presently have Senators that are threatening to block President Obama's health reform, which includes a strong competitive public option to keep insurers honest. So, when you use the "Contact People Near You" phonebanking tool on OFA and use the generic talking points which I provided, I want you to choose one of these states to call and to have the phone number of the Senator ready on hand to give to the local person you're talking to when you ask that person to call his or her Senator to support the public option in President Obama's health reform bill.
California--Senator Dianne Feinstein (202) 224-3841
Louisiana--Senator Mary Landrieu (202) 224-5824
Montana--Senator Max Baucus (202) 224-2651
Nebraska--Senator Ben Nelson (202) 224-6551
North Carolina--Senator Kay Hagan (202) 224-6342
North Dakota--Senator Kent Conrad (202) 224-2043
Oregon--Senator Ron Wyden (202) 224-5244
Hope you'll be signing up with OFA this week to bring some serious smack-down at the grassroots level to these corporate Senate Democrats! Please recommend this diary so others can see the phone numbers and call!
Also, please CALL the White House and tell them not to go after our allies for holding these moderate Senate Democrats accountable for opposing the public option!
CALL The White House at 202-456-1111 andE-MAIL THEM!