Nearly 50 million Americans -- one-in-six of our fellow citizens -- lack health insurance. And even those families lucky enough to have health insurance have seen their premiums triple in the past decade, now paying an average of $16,000 per year and rising rapidly.
In short, America's health care system is in a crisis, and it's time to do something about it.
Congress is currently working on new reform legislation that will make quality health care available and affordable for all Americans. But we know the forces of the status quo will battle us every step of the way.
So we're asking for your help, today, to get this critical legislation passed.
The whole reason for health insurance in the first place is to spread costs among as large a group of people as possible, so we all pay a reasonable amount for quality health care and don't get stuck with an enormous bill if we get sick.
Unfortunately, that's not how our system works anymore. Now, private insurance companies have been able to cherry-pick the healthy customers they want -- denying coverage to people who are most in need while charging exorbitant premiums to other folks with "pre-existing conditions."
That's not right. It's time for private insurers to treat Americans fairly.
That's why, as part of any health care reform plan, we support a public health insurance option that would foster greater competition in the marketplace. If you're happy with your current insurance plan, you could keep it. But a public option would create more choices for consumers -- and lead to lower costs and better quality for all. Plus, a public option would allow you to always keep your insurance, even if you lose or change your job.
At a time when our country is struggling to pull itself out of a severe recession, we can't let our health care system continue to be an anchor dragging down our nation's economy.
We'll take this petition to our colleagues, to show them the strong grassroots support for reforming America's health care system now -- including creating a public insurance option.
More than 33,000 people have already signed our online petition since we launched it on Friday -- but we'd love to have your support as well. With private insurance lobbyists roaming the Capitol, trying to stop real health care reform, the time to act is now. We need you to make your voice heard.
Follow Sen. Dick Durbin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@senatordurbin