>Advice for President Obama and Spencer Bachus

>There’s a nice video to original music here about the Great American Kiss-In.

Count me as one of the progressive/liberals that believes that health care reform does not happen unless there is at least a public option. In fact, I am in favor of a single payer system, but I know that won’t happen for another decade or so, so a government run public option is the next best thing.

Of the Americans who have insurance, what percentage do you think have government insurance now? You may be surprised.

http://sas-origin.onstreammedia.com/origin/gallupinc/www/videoplayer_1.23.swf?FLVsource=http://sas-origin.OnstreamMedia.com/origin/gallupinc/www_video/gn090730_1.flv

Here is what President Obama needs to consider:

The Republicans will not be voting for health care reform with or without the public option.

The Republicans will not be voting for health care reform with or without end of life counseling.

Now, consider this, Mr. President.

You campaigned on health care reform (and other things) and we progressives supported you. Do I need to start listing the things you have fallen short on? A public option was one of the planks in your health care platform.

Let me quote from “Renewing America’s Promise” (page 10), the Democratic Party platform from 2008.

“Families and individuals should have the option of keeping the coverage they have or choosing from a wide array of health insurance plans, including many private health insurance options and a public plan.”

On your Health Reform web site web site, on the Alabama page, you say this:

Guaranteeing Choices: The largest health insurer in Alabama holds 89% of the market, which limits the choices that you have for finding coverage. With a competitive public insurance option, you will have more choices and increased competition that holds insurance companies accountable.

Don’t give up on the public option!!! If you are going to give up on something, give up on believing that bipartisan participation in reform is a possibility.

Spencer Bachus is hosting a Town Hall meeting tonight at 7:00 at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center. I was planning to go, but just don’t feel it would be the best use of my time. I have been going back and forth with an anti-health care reform buddy of mine, and finally got to the root of the matter. He doesn’t like the “messenger” so he is against “the message.” In other words, he is anti-Obama so he is anti-reform, ignoring the facts and what is actually in the proposals. Most of the people who will attend feel the same way, and they are not going to be convinced to change their mind.

But Bachus needs to do what is best for the country, and for the people of Alabama.

I hope Bachus takes these things into consideration as he bows to the birthers and deathers that will probably crowd the room tonight. References for these figures are here.

Since 2000 alone, average family premiums have increased by 95 percent in Alabama.

28 percent of middle-income Alabama families spend more than 10 percent of their income on health care.

16 percent of people in Alabama report not visiting a doctor due to high costs.

Alabama businesses and families shoulder a hidden health tax of roughly $600 per year on premiums as a direct result of subsidizing the costs of the uninsured.

13.6 percent of people in Alabama are uninsured, and 63 percent of them are in families with at least one full-time worker.

Choice of health insurance is limited in Alabama. Blue Cross Blue Shield AL alone constitutes 83 percent of the health insurance market share in Alabama, with the top two insurance providers accounting for 88 percent.

Choice is even more limited for people with pre-existing conditions. In Alabama, premiums can vary based on demographic factors and health status, and coverage can exclude pre-existing conditions or even be denied completely.

The overall quality of care in Alabama is rated as “Average.”

Our nation’s health care is rated number 37 in the world, and our part of that is just “average.” I can’t believe the people of Alabama would be satisfied with that. But I guess that is part of Alabama’s history. Satisfied with the status quo and mired in mediocrity.

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