( – promoted by Clark)

Missouri has an undeniable health care crisis. Check out the alarming statistics [pdf]:

From 2000 to 2007, health insurance premiums in Missouri increased by 76.1%, while earnings increased only 17.3%. The average premium in 2007 was $11,852, while average total wages were $26,037. Clearly, something is wrong.

The health care costs for business rose 76% over the same period.

Unemployment in Missouri continues to increase, with more people losing their health insurance because of it. To fix Missouri’s economy, we need to get our health care costs under control. That means reform. Real reform that works for real people. Reform that makes health care affordable for all, and gives them a real choice between the private health insurance they have and a public health insurance option if they want.

On Thursday night in in Springfield, we Missourians stood up to this crisis.

More below the fold. -Clark

KY3 covered the town hall meeting we had, to which Congressman Blunt was invited but declined to attend. Here’s what was said:

61-year-old Janetta Tracy was one of about 70 people who attended the Health Care For America Now forum Thursday night at the Teamsters hall in Springfield.  She is worried about walking through her golden years without health insurance.

Right now, Tracy is covered by her husband’s plan, through his old county employer.  But that’s about to change.

Next year, his disability will move him into the Medicare system, and essentially leave Tracy to fend for herself.

“That leaves me without anything because I can’t stay on that plan,” Tracy said.  “With the pre-existing conditions, I don’t know whether I’d be able to get private insurance.”

Tracy struggles with a rare but unpredictable joint disease.  Because she’s self-employed, there aren’t many affordable providers that will take her on.

“It’s not that I’m opposed to paying for insurance. It’s just that, I don’t know, how I can do it, at the prices out there now,” she said.

That’s why Health Care for America Now is organizing forums across the country.

Dr. Janie Vestal of the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians said that political change won’t occur until the middle class feels the impact of the healthcare crisis.  That’s why she’s in favor of a government insurance plan that guarantees coverage.

“I think healthcare should not be linked to employment, but available to everybody,” Vestal told the group.  “Healthcare should be provided based on the need for healthcare, not on the ability to pay for healthcare,” she said.

Where is Congress? More importantly, where is Congressman Blunt?

Thursday night we publicly requested a meeting with Congressman Blunt. We here at the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition will make sure Blunt hears these voices and understands the full depth of this crisis and what it will take to fix our economy and health care system.  And we will do our absolute best to make sure Blunt hears and represents his constituents and signs on for quality, affordable health care for all. Because we can’t do any less.