Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Letter To The Paladins of Special Interests

Today, five Democratic senators (Blanche Lincoln, AR; Kent Conrad, ND; Max Baucus, MT; Ben Nelson, FL; Tom Carper, DE) voted against an amendment for the public option introduced by Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV). (Later the first three also voted against the Schumer amendment, which posited a somewhat weaker version of the public option.)

I wrote the five paladins of moneyed interests and traitors of the people the following letter:

Dear Senator:

I am one of the majority of U.S. citizens and legal residents, including a majority of doctors, who supports a strong public option for health care. In fact, my preference would go to Medicare for All.

With your vote against Sen. Rockefeller's amendment, you have just ensured my active opposition to any run you should choose to make for public office in the future (Senate, President, dog catcher, whatever.)

The argument that a vote for the public option would ensure the failure of the reform effort proposed by the Senate Finance Committee prompts a response of "So what?" from those who, like me, thought that it was a pretty disastrous bill to begin with. Additionally, it shows just how out of touch you and some of your colleagues are with the priorities of the nation. The objective should not be to pass some sort of reform. We need reform that not only expands coverage to everybody, but that ensures that health care costs go down, both for the nation and for individuals. The bill being discussed achieves neither goal, and has been described by several economists and health care experts as a huge gift to the health care industrial complex.

Moreover, the argument that a public option would be fiscally irresponsible ignores the fact that all other rich countries have systems in which the government plays a much larger role in health care, resulting in much lower costs than in the U.S.

Finally, saying that we have to start from the system we already have, and preserve much of it, flies in the face of reason. It is the system that we have that brought us to where we are: We are the country that spends the most on health care by far and the only one where families and individuals go bankrupt because of medical bills and where tens of millions lack coverage.

In sum, due to your stance against the public option, I will actively support your primary opponent(s), should there be any--even your Republican opponents in future election. Why? Because the country does not need, and can no longer put up with, Democrats who do the Washington two-step like Republicans when it comes to choosing between the interests of common people and the moneyed interests of their donors.


If you want to write your own letter to them, please click the named links above.

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