Yesterday, I posted about some questions Chris Bowers composed to nail down our senators’ position on the public option. I e-mailed McCaskill and Bond, and while I’ve not yet received an official response, I’m told by a McCaskill staffer that they will get back to me.
The questions, again, are as follows:
Do you support a public healthcare option as part of healthcare reform?
If so, do you support a public healthcare option that is available on day one?
Do you support a public healthcare option that is national, available everywhere, and accountable to Congress?
Do you support a public healthcare option that can bargain for rates from providers and big drug companies?
Now, just because I sent my questions in, that doesn’t let you off the hook. It’s important that Sens. McCaskill and Bond hear from us and respond specifically to our questions. Please ask for specific responses. Don’t assume that just because Obama is president and that he has thrown his support behind a public option that a viable public option will automatically come out of the process.
For example, just today Obama’s first pick to head the health care reform effort and become Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, came out against a public option.
But we were concerned that the ongoing health reform debate is beginning to show signs of fracture on the public plan issue, so in order to advance the process of developing bipartisan legislation and to move it forward, it’s time to find consensus here,” Daschle said.
“We’ve come too far and gained too much momentum for our efforts to fail over disagreements on one single issue,” he said.
This despite the fact that 76% of Americans believe that a choice of a public plan offered by the federal government is either extremely important or very important to health care reform. That’s a result that surprised even the pollsters who conducted the survey. It looks like the only people insisting on the “consensus” that Daschle describes is the conservative Republicans he’s teamed up with to offer a watered down compromise plan.
Still, politicians don’t respond to generic polls. They respond to constituents and to people who contribute to their campaigns. The only way we are going to have more of an effect than the donors is if more of us constituents write in support of a public option.
Fortunately, Chris Bowers has teamed up with grassroots group Democracy for America and the Health Care for America Now! coalition to develop some tools and make it extraordinarily easy to ask our representatives these questions, and to collect their answers.
To write a letter, use DFA’s Whip Count tool. It’s got a sample e-mail you can edit, and it will automatically send the e-mail to the correct senator for you. http://www.standwithdrdean.com…
Once you get an e-mail response, you can send it in to HCAN using this webpage: http://healthcareforamericanow…
Or you can simply forward it to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Either way, please take just a couple of minutes to ask these questions of our senators.