Or maybe, just maybe, the idea will catch fire this time, bringing the series to a merciful end? (Oh-oh … gotta watch my death panel rhetoric!)
Amid all the hullabaloo over Dennis Kucinich pledging to vote “yes” on the health care bill, which blanketed NPR for the three hours I was on the road today, I didn’t hear a peep about a simple little bill that Alan Grayson is sponsoring. Nor had I heard about it in the full week that’s passed since he introduced it. And why should the media bother with this trifling little bill? Grayson’s H.R. 4789 is only four pages long. It’s probably a long shot.
But dang, what’s not to love about the “Medicare You Can Buy Into Act”?
Grayson isn’t grandstanding with the Senate health care bill now in front of the House, nor is he undermining its chance of passage. He’s just putting forward a public option as a stand-alone resolution in addition to the mondo bill, and he’s framing it in a way makes it hard to shoot down. Here’s what he said (via John Nichols at The Nation, who rocks for being on this):
Health care reform — here’s where we are. The House of Representatives is about to vote on a Senate bill without a public option. It looks like the reconciliation amendment will not have a public option. The House bill had a public option, but once the House passes the Senate bill, that’s history.
Which is why I introduced H.R. 4789, the Public Option Act. This simple four-page bill lets any American buy into Medicare at cost. You want it, you pay for it, you’re in. It adds nothing to the deficit; you pay what it costs.
Let’s face it. Health insurance companies charge as much money as possible, and they provide as little care as possible. The difference is called profit. You can’t blame them for it; that’s what a corporation does. Birds got to fly, fish got to swim, health insurers got to rip you off. And if you get really expensive, they’ve got to pull the plug on you. So for those of us who would like to stay alive, we need a public option.
In many areas of the country, one or two insurers have over 80% of the market. They can charge anything they want. And when you get sick, they can flip the bird at you. So we need a public option.
And they face no real competition because it costs billions of dollars just to set up a national health care network. In fact, the only one that’s nationwide is . . . Medicare. And we limit that to one-eight of the population. It’s like saying that only seniors can drive on federal highways. We really need a public option.
And to the right-wing loons who call it socialism, we say, “if you want to be a slave to the insurance companies, that’s fine. If you want 30% of your premiums to go to ‘administrative costs’ and billion-dollar bonuses for insurance CEOs who figure out new and creative ways to deny you the care you need to stay healthy and alive, that’s fine. But don’t you try to dictate to me that I can’t have a public option!”
And there is a way left to get it. By insisting on a vote on H.R. 4789. Three votes on health care, not two. The Senate bill, the reconciliation amendments, and the Public Option Act.
We got 50 co-sponsors for this bill in two days. Including five powerful committee chairman. But we need more.
Sign our Petition at WeWantMedicare.com.
Call. Write. Visit. Do whatever you can do to get you Congressman to co-sponsor this bill, and push it to a vote. Right now, before it’s too late.
I just adore the line about only letting seniors drive on federal highways. Because that, in fact, is exactly what we’re doing with the public option that exists right now, right here, in the United States.
If you’re a Grayson junkie and want to hear him personally digress on the federal highways and his $10,000 baby, here y’go:
As of today the bill has 74 co-sponsors. Unfortunately my congresscritter, Charlie Wilson, is not among them. He’s still too busy flirting with his fellow Blue Dogs, I’m afraid. Wilson is proudly pro-life, and scared as a little mouse that he might not be reelected if he votes yes on the big bill. After all, Wilson already voted for the Stupid Stupak amendment last fall.
I wouldn’t be too heartbroken if Rep. Wilson goes down in the next election. And if he does, then I’d like to invite Rep. Grayson to consider relocating to Ohio. I know, I know – he’s brash. He says things that offend. But that’s what can happen when you try to speak truths, not platitudes. Right now, his blunt, sensible words could save thousands of lives. We’ll see if they can be heard over the shouts of teabaggers and the grunts of obstructionist Republican congresscritters.
Oh, and Dennis Kucinich is on board with Grayson as a co-sponsor, too. Just goes to show that if you resemble a leprechaun, you’re bound to make the news on St. Patty’s Day.