Supporting The Public Plan

by digby

I was talking to Darcy Burner yesterday, who filled me in on the exciting work she's doing as the new head of the American Progressive Caucus Policy Foundation (APCPF), which is:

a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to bring together the collective wisdom of progressives inside and outside of Congress to promote

* peace and global security,
* energy independence,
* environmental sustainability,
* human rights,
* civil liberties and
* the health and economic well-being of us all.

We will serve as a communications, fact finding, research and education center for progressive leaders and other public policy-makers, issue advocates, the media, and the general public inside and outside of Congress.

Check out the web site for more info. It's a much needed pathway for progressive thought and action from many different perspectives to come together and work in new ways.

Darcy mentioned to me that this week is an important moment in the health care debate, in which it might be helpful for members of the netroots to weigh in with a little positive reinforcement to the progressive caucus, which has been holding the leadership's feet to the fire on the public plan option. Everyone pretty much agrees that if that goes down, health care reform will be a meaningless shell game.

I was somewhat surprised frankly (in a good way)to hear the the progressives caucus had pulled together on this one and was actually wielding some clout. They represent over 70 m4mbers of congress, which is a bigt bloc of votes. if they can stick together on the public plan, it will happen.

I think it's pretty clear that netroots types are all more than willing to meet our responsibility to push and criticize and basically be a thorn in the sides of politicians to "make them do it." But it's also important to let them know that we appreciate it when they follow through.

If you have time today or tomorrow to give a progressive caucus rep a call or send an email it would be helpful. They need to know that the public is paying attention and that we have their backs as this debate kicks into high gear. The health care industry is working overtime to whittle away at meaningful health care reform, most especially the public plan which scares them to death. These self-identified progressives are the people who will hold the line and ensure that they do not get their way.

If one of these House members is your Congressional Representative, all the better. But contact one or more of them even if they aren't. They need to know that people other than lobbyists and big donors are engaged and informed on this and that weknow what's at stake with the public plan.

Write or Call Your Congressional Progressive Caucus Member and tell them you appreciate that they are holding the line on the public plan.

*I posted this yesterday over at

Update: There's more to this story developing in the Senate as we speak. Mike Lux writes:

The insurance lobby has had multiple tactics for stopping the public option idea, which they despise because they know if regular folks have choice to go to a public option, insurance companies won't have the same ability to treat their customers like garbage when they get sick. The first tactic was just to try to kill the public option outright, and the good news is that they appear to have failed at that. This so-called trigger proposal is the second tactic: the idea is to write a "trigger" that will allow for a public option only under certain conditions, but write the legislation so that those conditions would never get met in the real world. It's a classic DC tactic, right up there with calling for a commission to study something. Olympia Snowe is carrying the insurance industry water on their trigger proposal, proposing triggers that would only get tripped in some fairyland none of us have ever visited.

The great thing for the insurance companies in a tactic like this is that it gives "centrist" Senators (centrist in Washington, DC usually means those who have taken massive amounts of campaign contributions from the affected industry) an excuse to help the insurance industry while looking like they are open to the public option that their constituents have been demanding.

Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress have gotten some good things done so far, and are building real momentum in getting us moving in the right direction on health care. But if conservative Democrats force the adoption of the trigger, it will destroy Democratic unity and doom health care reform, because progressives will start attacking Democrats rather than insurance companies. We really are at a critical moment.

The only committee seriously considering the trigger turkey is the Senate Finance Committee, whose members average several hundred thousand a piece in insurance industry contributions. If you care about getting true health care reform, now is the time to make your voice heard: call the Senate Finance Committee members and tell them "NO to a trigger."

So, thanks to progressives in the House, it looks like they haven't been able to kill the public option. But they are now working overtime in the Senate to get this trigger mechanism in place to essentially --- kill the public option.

Anyone who thinks these people are partners in health reform needs to stop smoking the good stuff.


In every major legislative battle, there are a few critical moments that decide the fate of that legislation. In health care reform, we have already seen two: the first when President Obama insisted ...
In every major legislative battle, there are a few critical moments that decide the fate of that legislation. In health care reform, we have already seen two: the first when President Obama insisted ...