Dear Senator Reid,
I am one of many progressive Independent voters who are becoming increasingly worried at what we see as the erosion of support for a public option among our lawmakers. The vexing part is, we cannot understand why. We currently have a Democratic White House, a huge House majority, a healthy Senate majority, and 78% public support for it! Yet we are afraid that those charged with crafting a bill are caving to special interests, which is NOT what we voted for last November! Americans overwhelmingly voted – and not just voted, but pounded pavement, burned up phone lines, made signs and flyers and buttons at our own expense, held meetings, and, like me, became very involved in the political process for the first time in our lives. Politics is now in my blood, and I am still in the fight. As a veteran whose health care is fully covered by the VA, I have no personal stake in this issue, but it is very important to me because this crisis threatens our economy and the very fabric of our collective lives.
The only way to true reform is a robust public option. “Co-ops” just won’t be powerful enough to negotiate with providers and drug companies. Besides that, even Group Health – the model currently being touted – took 60 years to develop. We don’t have that long to wait. Americans are losing their homes, their livelihoods, and indeed their lives due to medical costs. Our nation has become a worldwide laughingstock, as other countries cannot understand why we seem to be trying to kill ourselves!
If the bill that comes out of Congress this fall does not contain a robust public option, I predict massive Democratic losses in 2010, and Obama will become a one-term president. I, for one, promise to support the opponent of any lawmaker who votes against the public option, whether they represent my state or not. That’s how strongly I feel about this issue, and I am one of millions.
Democrats need to stand up against the lobbyists and special interests NOW, and do what’s right for the American people. You know what’s right, regardless of what the right-wing media pawns are feeding a fear-conditioned populace. Please do it. As soon as President Obama signs a bill containing the public option, to be enacted immediately (not in 2013!), his approval rating will soar and Democrats will find renewed support among the people. If the bill Congress sends him doesn’t measure up, it will only give Republicans the ammunition they need to paint Democrats as weak and unable to pass a bill even with an across-the-board majority.
Get your Senators in a room, shut the door, sit them down, and lay it out for them. Get Ed Schultz in there if you have to – he has offered his services if that’s what it takes. Just get it done. Our nation is looking to you – don’t let us down.