Right now, ten Senators - five progressives and five conservative Democrats - are locked in a room looking for a deal on the health care bill. One Senator is standing in the way: Joe Lieberman.
Those Senators negotiating should not be held down by Joe Lieberman's outrageous ideas about health care. Those Senators need to fight the insurance companies for what's right.
The proposal on the table would be a win for the insurance companies. They said so themselves last night:
With the Senate shifting sharply away from a "pure public option," an insurance industry insider who has been deeply involved in the health care fight emails to declare victory.
"We WIN," the insider writes. "Administered by private insurance companies. No government funding. No government insurance competitor."
The so-called compromise on the table, forced by Joe Lieberman, isn't an acceptable substitute for the public health insurance option even if it expands Medicare (even though that's a good idea). It wouldn't control costs, it wouldn't increase competition, and it would leave most of America at the mercy of private insurance. And it would be a boost to big insurance companies, allowing them to operate across the country without having to face competition from a public insurer.
A large number of people in this country including many, many doctors wanted Medicare for all. That didn't happen. Then we wanted a strong public option tied to Medicare rates. Then we wanted a public option building the Medicare network. That didn't happen. Now we are saying public option coming out of the HELP Committee. And now we're saying public option with the state opt-out. Where was the compromise coming from their side?
We must tell the Senate negotiators that America rejects this so-called compromise. Health Care for America Now put together a petition that we're going to deliver tonight to the Senators in the negotiations.
(also posted at the NOW! blog)
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