If you follow me on Facebook, pieces of this post will sound familiar.
President Obama released his proposed health care reform legislation this week; you may find the proposal as well as highlights and summaries at whitehouse.gov. The hue and cry that President Obama's health care reform proposal doesn't include a public option began immediately following the release of his proposal. The public option has become both the boogeyman and the holy grail of health care reform.
Loud voices on the progressive left have repeatedly stated that they would rather see no health care reform than have reform without a public option (the holy grail of health care reorm). They've made the inclusion of the public option the litmus test of health care reform legislation. Loud voices on the conservative right, have demonized the public option and are just as vocal in asserting that they will not accept a public option.
The folks opposed to the public option and the supporters of it have both placed way too much emphasis on the exclusion or inclusion of that single piece of health care reform efforts to the detriment of getting some of the larger issues addressed.
So let's look at what the President's proposal includes:
(1) Provides federal authority to regulate insurance rates in direct response to the super rate increase attempt in California;
(2) Creates marketplace competition and consumer choice via the provisions for the exchange plan;
(3) Closes the donut hole in Medicare prescription drug coverage, which will provide immediate relief for seniors on Medicare;
(4) Increases tax credits for health insurance premium;
(5) Provides waivers for low income families and individuals regarding mandatory insurance;
(6) Prohibits denying health insurance to persons with pre-existing health conditions;
(7) Extends consumer protections against heath insurance practices; and
(8) Adds new protections that prohibit all annual and lifetime limits.
The above is not a review of all of the provisions of the President's proposal. I think that we are a nation with the attention span of a one-year-old. The Internet has made it possible for each of us to carefully review primary documents rather than rely on the news media to tell us what those documents say. Before you decide what you think of the President's proposal, READ IT! Once you get to the site, follow all of the links to ascertain what each proposed Title does.
When you're done, if you share my belief that we don't have the luxury of waiting possibly another decade for health care reform, then take action. MoveOn.org is conducting a Virtual March for Real Health Care Reform on tomorrow, February 24. All that you have to do is take less than three minutes to register for the virtual march and then indicate when you will call your Senators on tomorrow. MoveOn will send a fax to your senators from you (see photo to the left). I've checked out the participation numbers on the map on MoveOn (just roll your cursor over the map to see the numbers) and the numbers are pathetic. When you don't participate in telling government what you want, you can't complain about what it does. MoveOn is a progressive organization; this is our chance to drown out the voices of the tea party protesters. If we truly want change then we have to act; the campaign slogan was always, "Yes we can!"