The fight for a real public option continues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/17/2010, 5:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Substantively, not much has changed since we analyzed the Senate version of the health care bill in "'Reform' or Legislative Obscenity?"

We noted then:

The Baucus bill is a "legislative obscenity that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and a former vice president of WellPoint spent months preparing --- an insurance carrier wish-list that contains no public option, no means for controlling costs or abuse; a measure that does not merely protect but expands the already obscene wealth of the few by mandating that every citizen purchase insurance, with massive subsidies flowing into carrier coffers."

Yet Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), an original co-sponsor of H.R. 676 "Medicare for All," and a consistent critic of the pending obscenity masquerading as "reform" because it would serve to institutionalize the privatization of our health care, has now publicly declared that he will vote for the bill as presently drafted while continuing the fight for a rational, public health care system.

Meanwhile, Alan Grayson (D-FL), with 50 co-sponsors, has introduced "The Public Option Act," a bill which would provide all citizens with the option to buy into Medicare, though he, too, will vote for the Senate version of the health care bill...

In offering the Medicare buy-in bill, Grayson laid waste to the GOP canard about a government takeover and loss of freedom (see video from his appearance on Democracy Now! today at end of article):

I say to those people on the other side of the aisle, if you don’t want to buy into the public option, that’s fine, but don’t prevent me and my family and the ones who I love from doing the same.

The noise from the disinformed "tea baggers" notwithstanding, the plain and simple fact is that the U.S. Congress truly represented the citizens of this nation; if we were still a functioning democracy, Grayson's "Public Options Act" would already be the law of the land.

A Feb. 2009 New York Times/CBS News poll [PDF] revealed that 59% of all Americans favored a national health care system. Similarly, a Feb. 2009 Grove Insight Opinion Research poll [PDF] found that 60% of all Americans favor Medicare for All, the single-payer concept embodied in H.R. 676.

But, alas, the will of the people and the decisions made by those who are constantly trolling for corporate campaign contributions are seldom aligned.

UPDATE: In an email today, Jane Hampshire of wrote:

I spoke with Dennis following his speech, and his campaign will return the money to those who have donated in support of his pledge to vote against any health care bill that does not have a public option….

Once the other 64 members of Congress who pledged the same abandoned Kucinich, it became hard to expect Kucinich to carry the weight of the health care bill on his back alone. That said, it is both disheartening and illuminating to realize that the progressives in Congress have no true commitment to anything but putting on a show....

Hampshire provided a link to a petition calling on members of the House who broke their pledge to return the $430,000 they collected as a result of their pledge.

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Rep. Alan Grayson's March 17 appearance on Democracy Now! follows...


Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968).

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