Republican moderates and even some Blue Dog Democrats really lay a trap when they say they support health care reform but balk at costs they say are excessive while opposing a public option which would in fact be the most significant tool in keeping down costs. That’s classic fence sitting to appease lobbyists while attempting to make the right noises for constituents back home.
I do want to commend Congressman Mike Michaud, who is referred to as being in the Blue Dog Coalition as being on record as supporting the public option. Here is part of a statement on his website: “I am, however, supportive of a public insurance option. I believe that if people like their current health insurance that they should be able to keep it and continue to see the doctors that they have grown to trust. But if people don’t like their health insurance or have none, a properly structured public insurance option could provide an affordable alternative.”
So how do we get our Senators off the fence? We need to directly ask them to take sides.
Last night I joined with about twenty of my neighbors at a friend’s home to talk about health care and write letters to Senators Snowe and Collins. The group included local activists and some individuals involved in health care delivery. There was a range of incomes from retired citizens watching the medication costs eat up their savings to middle class parents concerned about their new college grads finding affordable access to care. There was even someone recently laid off. It was a typical cross section of individuals from whom our “moderate” Senators expect to pull a few votes each election. All spoke passionately about the need for health care reform now with a public option.
These people asked Senator Snowe and Collins to take their sides by writing to them with their stories, describing their needs, adding their hopes for their children, sharing their cost concerns, and noting the critical need for a public option to achieve real reform. The longer our Senators engage in the two front trick described in this post’s opening sentence, the more one must be concerned that they may be taking the non-voter side of private insurance companies who oppose substantive health care reform.
Please join these letter writers with your personal letters and help pressure Senator Snowe and Senator Collins to take your side at one of their local Maine addresses.