Don’t Let Obstructionists Like Grassley, Roberts and Issacson Bury Health Care in Amendments!

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We all know what happens when the Republicans get on the phone with lobbyists. The best laid plans of Presidents and Senators gang oft agley. This time it is the most urgent matter of our time and the guy you need to threaten with being tossed out of office is Chuck Grassley of Iowa. This guy is doing everything he can…he must be getting a huge payday from the health care lobby…to stop your health care program. He knows it is not about money. This can be paid for six ways from Sunday. He knows it is a fraction of a military budget that can be cut next year by this amount at least to pay for it. Not that cutting the military budget enough to pay for the entire thing is the way to go. But we could easily pay for half of it and not even notice it in the military budget.

Please do not underestimate the significance of achieving a public health care option this fall. If you do not get a public health care option in the upcoming legislation, you will not have health care when you are laid off, or get seriously ill, or move out of state or if any of that or other serious things happen to your friends or relatives. You will never have an affordable health care insurance policy again if this public plan fails. And Chuck Grassley is doing everything he can to make it fail. Almost as important is the McCain Amendment to allow Americans to import prescription drugs from Canada. The Roberts-Issacson amendment would virtually end that.

We’ve been over this ground again and again. All the potential pitfalls, mail order problems from places that do not have regulatory agencies, fraud problems–all those protections are not only in the McCain bill but have been in these bills several times before. But the pharmaceutical lobby has scared even some Democratic Senators, like Senator Murray and Senator Mikulski and of course delighted all the Republican Senators.

Get on the phone and tell Senator Grassley to join Senator Harken and others in pushing through a PUBLIC HEALTH CARE OPTION. And tell him to support Senator McCain’s amendment without any other amendments, like the Roberts-Issacson amendment, attached to it to try to stop Americans from getting less expensive prescription drugs from Canada.

It is time we stood up and told both Democratic Senators, like Mikulski, and Dodd and Murray that we don’t want any more playing footsie with the health care lobby. We want single-payer health care as they have in other countries. We deserve it. We pay our taxes and we’re willing to pay more to get it until we can cut enough waste from the federal budget to pay for it without extra taxes. But it is OUR MONEY. We want the government to stop building F-22s that employ a few extra workers in some congressman’s district. It gives big profits to a defense contractor who then takes the money and uses it to lobby Senators to spend more money on defense and less on health care.

Maybe we can’t dismantle the archaic private system right now. OK, that’s understandable. But we can pass a public option that will cause private health care firms to compete. The public option will cost you less because it will cost less and there will be no huge salaries or bonuses, or stock dividends to be paid. So, you will not pay more. And those with private healthcare will get a better price. The health insurance companies, the doctors, the hospitals, the pharmaceutical companies all will take what the financial people call a “haircut.” That means they will all make less than they did before. The average health insurance CEO may make less than the average of $14 million dollars last year. That is correct…$14 million in ONE YEAR. And that’s an average, not the top guys.

Senator Mikulski said she is not a shill for the health insurance industry, but she voted against the McCain amendment in committee. The McCain amendment would have enabled people to safely buy prescription drugs from Canada and one-half to one-tenth the price that they pay here in the United States. There is nothing new about it. It has been rejected several times previously by the Senate on behalf of the pharmaceutical companies. Senator Murray, Senator Mikulski and others voted against the McCain Amendment. This is too important to let it slide. You need to tell both those Democratic Senators and ANY Senator that votes against any part of a public health option that works, that this will not be tolerated under ANY circumstances.

Vote for the damned bill, tell them, and if you don’t we’ll be there next time, with the Unions and with others to see that you are not the nominee of the Democratic Party for senate from your state. We’ve made it clear, pay us now…vote for a public option…or pay us later when we throw you out at the polls.