Harry Reid stood up for America today.
He put a public health insurance option in the Senate bill, the merged version of the two health care bills passed out of committee that will now go to the Senate floor for debate, amendments, and passage.
This is a huge victory. Putting the public health insurance option in the Senate bill that goes to the floor makes it much harder to remove later. Opponents will need 60 votes to amend the Senate bill, meaning a high bar will have to be cleared to take out or change the public health insurance option.
Why did Senator Reid do it? As he said:
I believe that a public option can achieve the goal of bringing meaningful reform to our broken system. It will protect consumers, keep insurers honest and ensure competition and that's why we intend to include it on the bill that will be submitted to the Senate for consideration.
For these reasons, the public option is what America wants. In poll after poll, in rally after rally, month after month, the American public has spoken. We want a public health insurance option to keep the insurance industry honest, to increase competition, and to give us somewhere to go if we don't want to be at the mercy of the private insurance industry any longer.
When the Washington Post - harbingers of cautious beltway conventional wisdom - has their polls showing 57% of Americans support a public health insurance option, you can be sure that this is a mainstream position.
Senator Reid deserves our thanks today for leading America forward. The fight is far from over, and to be sure, there is plenty in the Senate bill that needs to be fixed. We need:
- To make sure health care is truly affordable to everyone
- Ensure employers are responsible for helping to provide good health benefits to their employees
- Fairly finance reform rather than taxing higher-cost plans
Click here to sign the petition thanking Senator Reid and telling him that as he fights for us, we'll stand with him.
(also posted at the NOW! blog)
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