Senator Bernie Sanders stated on Thursday that the public option has 50 votes in the Senate. [....] We all know that the public option passed in the House with a solid majority. We are also well aware that the CBO has clearly stated that the public option would save the most money by far and reduce the deficit our country is facing. Health insurance reform and the economy are inseparable. We have a mechanism before us that would reduce the deficit, provide choice in a monopolized industry thereby drive down insurance costs, which will continue to positively impact our economy, and while we are at it, save lives. The public option should be a no-brainer!
During the health care summit this past Thursday, President Obama painstakingly explained more than once to GOP members that we cannot go back to the beginning and start all over. Nor, can we do health insurance reform in small pieces because the problems we currently face do not conform to a step-by-step approach. Not voting in the public option through reconciliation now is like trying to fix 100-year old unattended levies with a bunch of sand bags — the water will keep rising.
We bagan this debate a year ago and in that time, another 42,000 working American citizens died as a direct result of our broken health care system. This is an annual projection. How many people have to die, how many lives have to be ruined before we get it that we have a crisis on our hands. If you don’t believe that, go to the Mission of Mercy Free Dental Clinic on March 12 and March 13 in Middletown CT and talk to the folks standing in the never-ending lines. Ask them if they want to forego the public option this time around. Better yet, ask the surviving loved ones of the 42,000 working American citizens who died last year if they would rather wait for another day for a public option.
Ask Kristen Blake who is having surgery on March 1st and was sent a letter from her insurance provider that says they just may not be able to cover her — they are not sure … yet. Ask R. Wrenn, who has lost everything, including her ability to finish graduate school and her dream to become an RN because UnitedHealth Care stopped paying for her treatment midway through of A CURABLE DECEASE. UnitedHealth Care’s first response was that it was taking too long for her to recover and then she would most likely go over her cap. They did not wait to see whether Wrenn would reach the insurance cap on her policy. They simply cut off her insurance claiming pre-existing condition. Ask the loved ones of the recently deceased Melanie Shouse if they want to wait for a public option at some other date and time.
We went to the poles and elected senators to represent us with the hope that they would have the courage to do what is required when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, namely, a gargantuan industry that cares nothing for the people, except their shareholders and profits. The American people have one message, loud and clear, save lives and reduce the deficit — PASS THE PUBLIC OPTION NOW.