President Obama is taking heat from all sides on the health care debate. Especially from the obstructionist Republicans who just want to see him fail politically regardless of how the American people are suffering.
Obama has been getting a fair amount of flak from Progressives too. So on July 20, he responded by holding a 23-minute conference call with a few prominent progressive bloggers.
I was encourged to hear him state his support for a strong public option during the call. He discussed his strategy and policy, answered a few questions and asked for support in counteracting the disinformation campaign that’s being mounted by right wing pundits and the for-profit insurance industry. (You can listen to the audio of that conference call here. )
President Obama said:
“I know the blogs are best at debunking myths that can slip through a lot of the traditional media outlets…And that is why you are going to play such an important role in our success in the weeks to come.”
He’s right. Thanks to an online grassroots lobbying push, an amendment to allow states to establish single payer health care insurance, which was inserted into HR 3200 (America’s Affordable Health Choices Act) by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), passed with bipartisan support during a lengthy committee action.
Although I’ve been disappointed by many of the president’s policy choices and appointments, I appreciated his effort to reach out to progressives through the blogosphere. I really want to believe that the candidate I voted for is still the same man who is occupying the White House.
When I received another email alert today from DNC Chair Tim Kaine, urging voters to sign a petition to support the president’s “principles” and to keep the pressure on lawmakers in Congress to create a strong health care reform bill, I thought, “Even though I’d like to see specific language for a single payer public option, I do agree with his principles.” So I signed the petition.
And then to my surprise, I discovered that President Obama has changed the wording in one of his core principles to include the choice of a public option!
An earlier iteration of his second core principle reads:
- Guarantee Choice — Americans must have the freedom to keep whatever doctor and health care plan they have, or to select a new doctor or health care plan if they choose
Now the wording reads:
- Guarantee choice – Every American must have the freedom to choose their plan and doctor, including the choice of a public insurance option
That’s progress, right?
There’s a video clip posted on the petition page of the president responding to the right wing attacks on the proposed health care reform. He said:
“Think about that. This isn’t about me. This isn’t about politics. This is about a health care system that is breaking America’s families, breaking America’s businesses and breaking America’s economy. And we can’t afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care. Not this time, not now. There are too many lives and livelihoods at stake.”
I couldn’t agree with him more.