Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Now Let's Get It Done!

I am guardedly hopeful. Obama's speech was better than I expected. He said he supports the public option, but he's open to triggers and co-ops. The last part of his speech was really great.

I especially liked his reference to the letter he received from Ted Kennedy:
I received one of those letters a few days ago. It was from our beloved friend and colleague, Ted Kennedy. He had written it back in May, shortly after he was told that his illness was terminal. He asked that it be delivered upon his death....

He expressed confidence that this would be the year that health care reform – "that great unfinished business of our society," he called it – would finally pass. He repeated the truth that health care is decisive for our future prosperity, but he also reminded me that "it concerns more than material things." "What we face," he wrote, "is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country." [emphasis added]
It was truly a great speech. Given the opportunity to edit it, I would have tweaked it:
But an additional step we can must take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. Let me be clear – it would only be an option only for those who want it. don't have insurance.

Even so, the president demonstrated more support for a public option than I expected. His stated goals are good.

So now the question is, Can he deliver?

Even more importantly, can we?

I believe that the stance Barack Obama took tonight was altered by our activism and our persistence. In spite of his chastisement of Progressives for imbuing the public option with so much importance, I think his support of it was stronger because of indications Americans demand it. I think we did that.

During the election last year, we were just dipping our toes into this online organizing thingy. But clearly our work on health care reform proves that we're getting better at this. We're learning more, we're teaching each other, we're making more and more important connections. We are aggregating our power. How awesome is that?

Tonight I feel guardedly hopeful, not so much because of Obama's speech but because we are mobilizing for real change. I knew when Obama was elected that the really hard work lay ahead of us, and I was worried about whether we'd have the heart and the wherewithal to do it. Tonight, I'm less worried.

Barbara Boxer reported on Rachel Maddow that after the speech, Obama said to her, "Now let's get it done." That was my favorite thing he said all night. Enough talk. Let's have some action.

If you haven't already, tell each of your representatives to support real health care reform. Tell them you insist on a robust public option.

Write letters to local and national newspapers in support of real health care reform with a robust public option.

Particularly if your representative is a member of the Progressive Caucus, ask her or him to publicly commit to voting against any health care that does not contain a robust public option.

If you have other ideas of how to push for meaningful health care reform, please let me know.

Now let's get it done!


  1. We have not had the opportunity before. We were slaves to our government. Now, we MUST take our responsibility seriously and participate. We must make our government know what we want and demand they treat US fairly.

  2. Why don't people see that, once the government enters a market, the field inevitably tips in the direction of the government? If there is any sort of a government-funded option for insurance, there will be no way for private companies to compete, and they will remove themselves from the market, thus ensuring that the ONLY option will be the government option.

    For President Obama to claim that he does not want to force the American people into a government health plan is disingenuous at best. Further, how can he claim that he can pay for the nearly $1 trillion bill with savings and the premiums of the government option? Especially if we take him at his word that it would be less than 5% of the people in the US?

    His budget office has already said that there will be $9 trillion in deficit spending over the next decade. Now he is proposing another $1 trillion? This would be disasterous for the US and world economies.

    I would like to ask someone a serious question. Someone who thinks having the US Federal government involved in health care is a good thing. What, in the modern history of the United States governmet, have they run well, economically and without waste?

    Medicare? Don't make me laugh. Medicare is the ENTIRE reason that health care in the United States is so expensive. For any given procedure, Medicare pays the provider approximately 25 to 50% of the actual cost (NOT billed cost) of the procedure. Where does the rest of the money come from? Those of us who pay for our own insurance, either out-of-pocket or through an employer pay the difference.

    Social services? What a joke. Name one program run by the Federal government that doesn't have rampant waste and fraud.

    The military? That may be the best example, but it flourishes not BECAUSE of Federal involvement, but DESPITE Federal involvement. It is kept at the high level of performance by the dedicated professionals who do the actual work. You just need to look at what the Federal government tried to do to the military in the 80's to see how they fought for their services to see that.

    In no instance I can think of has the Federal government made a problem better simply by being involved. This country works, this country gets better because the PEOPLE of this country decide as a group that something needs to be done, and we do it on our own, WITHOUT THE INTRUSION AND INTERFERENCE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!!!

    And where, may I ask, in the Constitution of the United States, does it give the Federal government the ability to intrude into health care? Into the insurance industry, or ANY industry for that matter?

    The Constitution has strict limits placed on the powers that the Federal government has, and for good reason.

    The tenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States says the following:

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

    That seems clear to me. If the Constitution doesn't give the Federal government the right to take over 1/6 of the economy of the United States (the health care industry, people), then they do not have the right to do it. IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!

    So, so sum up, it's a bad idea, they won't do it well, it will wreck the economy, it is vehemently opposed by 60% or more of the population (remember, Mr. Obama only got 54% of the popular vote), and it is prohibited by the Constitution.

    Sure. Go with that.

  3. Hey Steve, Thanks for sharing. Obviously we disagree. Medicare is doing a much better job than the insurance companies of taking care of people. Medicare is not prohibited by the Constitution and hasn't put the insurance companies out of business. What we need is more of that.

    Not everything government does is automatically bad, or good for that matter. That's why we need to be paying attention and keep our government accountable.

    But you feel free to turn down every government service that comes your way. And whatever you do, don't set foot in a national park. Sure. Go with that.

  4. Let's see....Post office going broke every year with a huge deficit.....Medicare going broke......Medicaid going broke......Social Security going broke, and on and on.....!
    What is really crazy, Obama has not a clue on how to fix any of them. Hasn't even started to look at them.
    He says that he can cut medicare by near a half trillion and then find the money in the fraud and abuse in the medicare system. WHY WAIT? WHY NOT DO IT NOW? WHY WAIT TILL WE MAKE THE CUTS AND THEN TRY TO FIND THE MONEY.
    Pure rehtoric.
    What was really disturbing last night was how he ridiculed all the people working against his plan as liars and worse. He used every deregatory name in the book and disgustingly embarrassed himself and even used an old Chicago political term when talking about Conservatives, independents and Democrats who don't agree with him. And calling every insurance company and doctors, etc., crooks, liars is tragic. Sure there is an occassional bad apple in every profession. Whether clergy, doctors, accountants, business, or just plain workers. You'll find bad apples. It's human nature.
    But to broad brush a whole segment of society like Insurance companies is really horrible.
    He didn't help himself last night. He even made the bridge longer if he is trying to get people to work with him.

  5. It's tough being in the minority, isn't it? You may have noticed, John and Steve, that I don't agree. I do appreciate you keeping your comments polite and respectful.

    Nevertheless, my purpose here is to spur liberals and progressives into action, not to argue with the opposition. My eyes are on the prize, and I will not be distracted.

    There are other good places in cyberspace to make your case and argue with liberals. Please go find them. (Read: further comments from right-wingers will not be posted.)