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I’m pleased to know that at least one of our US Senators here in Missouri, namely Claire McCaskill, supports a public option for health care reform. Now, as we’ve seen with the Third Way nonsense, one can “support” a public option in about the same way George Bush supported “fixing” Social Security, with so many caveats and triggers that the ultimate aim is really pulling the whole thing down. I’m not accusing McCaskill of anything of the sort, but I would like to know a little more about what she thinks a public option should look like.

Chris Bowers over at OpenLeft has come up with a series of questions aimed at getting some more basic information about what kind of public option our senators will put their support behind.

The aim is to get answers from all 59 Democratic senators and some of the swing Republicans (in other words, the two senators from Maine.) And since our elected officials are responsive to constituents first and foremost, the questioning needs to come from us Missourians.

So will you write Senator McCaskill, ask her the following yes or no questions, and find out where she stands on the public option? (Since she has already professed support for the public option, instead of asking her about that, you might want to thank her.) Her e-mail contact form is here: http://mccaskill.senate.gov/co…

1–Do you support a public healthcare option as part of healthcare reform?

2–If so, do you support a public healthcare option that is available on day one?

3–Do you support a public healthcare option that is national, available everywhere, and accountable to Congress?

4–Do you support a public healthcare option that can bargain for rates from providers and big drug companies?

Once you’ve received a written response (that’s the reason we’re asking you to e-mail McCaskill instead of calling her office) post it in comments here.

For fun, you could always ask Senator Bond what he thinks about the public option here: http://bond.senate.gov/public/…

For more on the public option and why it’s essential for any real health care reform, Paul Waldman has an excellent article on the subject.