20 August, 2009

Whipping My Rep

(I mean whipping in the purely political sense. So stop sniggering.)

Long-time readers know I love my rep, Jay Inslee. No politician is perfect, o' course, but he comes close enough. Most of the time, writing to him feels like a silly waste of time - chances are, I don't have to encourage him to do the right thing.

However, even though he supports the public option, he's not drawn a line in the sand. So I spent some time tonight whipping up a letter to whip him in:
Dear Rep. Inslee,

6o House members signed a letter to Secretary Sebelius stating they wouldn't vote for a health care reform bill that doesn't include a strong public option. I looked for your name, but it's not there:


It should be.

I know that you support a public option, but right now, that's not enough. The White House needs to know that a robust public option is a requirement, not a chip that can be bargained away. Co-ops can't compete with entrenched insurance companies. A mandate without competition amounts to little more than government subsidies for insurance companies that still believe that profit is more important than patients. When the top 5 earning insurance companies average $1.56 billion in profits and spend an average of more than 18% of their revenues on administrative costs (including marketing and profits), you know the patient care isn't their top priority.

Competition with a robust public plan will help bring those sky-high administrative costs down. And we desperately need that competition. Consider what Blue Cross recently wanted to do in Michigan:
"Earlier this year, Blue Cross asked for permission to increase its individual rates by an average of 56 percent and 41 percent for individuals in the group conversion segment."
They settled for a rate hike of "only" 22%. That's obscene.

Rep. Inslee, we can't go on like this. We need meaningful health care reform. And we need it fast. Single payer would have been the best reform for America. Since that's not politically feasible at this point, we've settled for a public option. We cannot back down from that. The more we compromise, the more the insurance industry gains and the rest of America loses. Without a strong public option, whatever passes for reform will be nothing more than a placebo. It wouldn't truly reform anything.

Rep. Inslee, your constituents need you to stand with those 60 colleagues who made it clear that they would not vote for any bill that did not include a robust public option. Can we count on you?

Dana Hunter
Proud to be your constituent since 2007
(Well, damn it, I am. And I don't mind telling him so - especially since he's likely to get an earful of the Hitler talk from the Teabaggers at his town halls.)

You all are welcome to filch said letter and tailor it to your own purposes before sending it on to your own CongressCritter. If your rep's one of those glorious progressives who drew the line, thank 'em. If they're on the fence, or haven't committed to stand firm for the public option, whip 'em. If they're against the public option or one of those Blue Dog buggers who're trying their best to destroy it, bawl 'em out.

If you feel like making a phone call, here's contact info and a handy whip-count tool.

Need inspiration? So glad you asked. I actually have plenty handy.

We've got Howard Dean, who'll tell you exactly why the public option's worth fighting for.

And for dessert, just think how upset Conservatives for Patients Rights will be when they learn that, indeed, rumors of the public option's death were greatly exaggerated.

Sometimes, when you're yammering at recalcitrant Reps, it helps to remind them just where the public stands on an issue:

Over the weekend, the White House signaled that it would accept health care reform legislation that lacked a public option, provoking an “outcry” from progressives. Now, a new Rasmussen poll finds that public support for reform legislation “collapses” if it doesn’t include a public plan:

Just 34% of voters nationwide support the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats if the so-called “public option” is removed. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 57% oppose the plan if it doesn’t include a government-run health insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

That's Rasmussen, people. Rasmussen usually skews right. So if a polling outfit that produces numbers pleasing to Cons got this result, you can bet support for the public plan's huge.

And if your CongressCritter tries to point toward waning support, remind them of two things:
1. Wimping out on health care reform's what brought those numbers down


2. That poll that showed dismal support? Heh, well, it's funny how asking a question the wrong way fucks up the results. Wait for the corrected results next month, or check out this poll showing 62% supporting the public option. Or this one showing just how many folks would be angry if reform doesn't pass.
Bottom line: Congress has no good excuse for not passing a good reform bill with a robust public option. Don't hesitate to tell them so.

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