A recent CBS News/New York Times poll finds that 72 percent of Americans support a government-sponsored health care “public option” to compete with private, for-profit insurance companies. Unlike the message in most Republican talking points, Americans believe the government would do a better job than private industry at keeping down costs and guaranteeing care for all Americans.
Despite this high level of support, Senate Democrats still consider killing the idea in order to win Republican support for a health care bill. In particular, Sen. Maria Cantwell is proposing so-called “health care cooperatives” as an alternative to a single payer system or an authentic public option. But Robert Laszewski of The Health Care Blog has already observed that such not-for-profit state driven plans already exist in other forms and have not accomplished a lot. “Health care cooperatives” are a red herring distraction from true health care reform.
So why would Sen. Cantwell support a red herring? In the Senate recently, 10 Democrats sided with Republicans to eliminate estate taxes on 2,500 of the richest Americans. Matt Taibbi points out that this was a tax break worth $91 billion for this country’s wealthiest 0.2 percent.
Sen. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray were among the 10 Democrats.
Sens. Cantwell and Murray need phone calls, e-mails, letters and postcards telling them that they need to have the courage to vote in the people’s interest and to support a public option. There is no more important issue today for American families and businesses than real health care reform.