In my recent column in The Hill titled Obama's health care Katrina I took President Obama to task -- proudly -- for spending years telling Americans they would keep their insurance policies when he knew millions of Americans could not. I called for a solution to help these people and I called on progressives including myself to lead the fight to help them. And now, even more, it is time to do what really needs to be done and fight like hell for a public option, for Medicare for all, for single payer health care, for whatever we call a program that would better bring health and greater justice to all Americans.
Obamacare makes health care better for many Americans and has created problems for other Americans but that is not the major point. The major point, in truth, is this: Obamacare was flawed because when it was passed, the Congress including most Republicans were owned by insurers and special interests, and too many Democrats, especially conservative Democrats in the Senate, were merely rented by insurers and special interests.
In my humble opinion it was a shame, an outrage and a health care infamy that President Obama sold out and traded off the public option. It was shameful. At the moment the law was passed the Democrats controlled a large majority in the House, which courageously included a public option, a large majority in the Senate, which shamefully did not, and a weak-willed president who was never a Kennedy or FDR liberal accepted a bill that was an insurance bill... not a health care bill.. in the sense that the original Medicare was powerful health care reform, and the public option would have been powerful health care reform.
It is time for liberals, progressives and Democrats to charge into the future with the courage and vision and passion to begin a real, true and historic battle for health care reform that is real, true and powerful and that is single payer, or Medicare for All, or a strong public option.
Ladies and gentlemen, one cannot provide true reform, change we can believe in, or dramatically improved health care with bills that are insurance industry productions, passed with political payoffs, compromising our highest ideals.
I supported Obamacare -- though without enthusiasm or illusions.
I support Obamacare today -- though we must fix the problems with integrity and courage for those who are being shortchanged.
But above all -- it is time to wage the battle for what should have been passed when Democrats had a Democratic president and large Democratic majorities in Congress.
It is time for liberals to work like hell to pass single payer health care, or the public option, or Medicare for all and it is time for liberals to fight like hell to elect a Democratic House and Democrat Senate and another Democratic President to make it happen.
In truth, on the great matter of great healthcare reform, President Obama may fear this, right wing Republicans may hate this, but the voters on our side!!!
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