I have been trying to do anything I can, in my small way, to push for meaningful health care reform. To me, it's the moral/ethical issue of our times, and a matter of life and death for us, our families, our neighbors, our friends and our fellow countrymen and women. In case you didn't know this, the US ranks 36th for health care of its citizens, according to the World Health Organization statistics. And yet we rank first in amount of money spent on health care. The majority of bankruptcies are caused by health care costs, and 70% of those bankruptcies happen to people who have health insurance. Why? Because even those of us with what we consider to be very good health insurance policies routinely face denial of coverage and rejection of claims by profit-driven health insurance companies should we present a major claim and/or need expensive medications and treatments.
It's a difficult and complicated issue, and I don't know at this point what proposals will come up for votes in the House and Senate. I do know that the very least we voters deserve from our elected representatives is a straight up or down vote on any and all bills which manage to survive various committees and make it to the floors of the House and Senate for votes by the full chambers.
I just learned that the Republican Senate leadership is planning to filibuster, and thereby prevent such votes. If you have a Republican Senator, please contact him or her and to state your opposition to a filibuster. If you have a Democratic Senator, please contact him or her to ask their support for the proposal described below, wherein Democratic leadership will strip Dem. Senators of committee chairmanships, should they join in a Republican filibuster. It shouldn't matter which party you belong to - Senators are elected to represent all the constituents in their state, not just the ones in their own political party. Lobbyists for special interest groups have given hundreds of millions of dollars just this year to our congressmen and senators, to bribe them to block health care reform through strategies like filibusters, or watering down reforms, or adding loopholes.
The material below explains how a filibuster would work. If you feel comfortable signing the petition referenced there, that would be great. Either way, please contact your state's senators, and tell them you oppose a filibuster of any bills regarding health care reform. And while you have their ear, you can tell them what parts of health care reform you support or oppose. You can call their toll free numbers in DC, or call one of their local offices. Just tell the staff person who answers that you are a constituent of the Senator (they may ask for your address/zip code) and that you oppose filibusters on health care reform.
Bottom line, don't let your elected representatives pocket money from lobbyists, and then hide behind a filibuster to block open voting on this very important matter.
Thank you very much for your time in reading this, and for your consideration of my request.
Support the proposal announced by Rachel Maddow tonight.
Petition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
"Any Democratic senators who support a Republican attempt to block a vote on health care reform should be stripped of their leadership titles. Americans deserve a clean up-or-down vote on health care."
Click here to sign -- and watch Maddow.
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Rachel Maddow broke some amazing news tonight on MSNBC:
"Two major powerbrokers on the left…are encouraging a Senate strategy in which the leadership would revoke chairmanships and other leadership positions from any Democrat who sides with a Republican filibuster to block a vote on health reform."
Click here to watch the video -- and sign a petition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in support of this idea.
We'll deliver the petition signatures to Harry Reid next week after a big news conference in front of the Senate.
What does this proposal mean? In general, it means Democrats need to be Democrats!
Republicans are planning to use the Senate "filibuster" procedure to block a vote on health care reform. But if all Senate Democrats stick together, a clean up-or-down vote will take place.
This means 51 votes -- not "60 votes" -- would be needed to pass reform. And winning a public health insurance option would be very likely.
It's critical that Harry Reid sees immediate support for this idea -- please sign the petition tonight and tell your friends.
Which senators would feel pressure from this proposal? All the senators who are siding with the insurance companies and opposing the public option: Max Baucus (D-MT), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) are some examples.
Let's send a clear message: It's not OK for Democratic senators to join with Republicans to block a vote on health care. Period.
Please click here sign the petition today -- and then tell your friends.
Adam Green, Stephanie Taylor, Aaron Swartz, Evan Miller, Michael Snook, and the PCCC team