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ACTION ITEM: Help push HR 4789 (Public Option Act) to the floor for a vote.

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You may be interested to know that Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) recently proposed enacting legislation to address the health care crisis. His proposed bill is HR 4789. It's called the Medicare You Can Buy Into Act (also known as the Public Option Act). If that became law, it would make it possible for anyone who wanted it, to buy into Medicare. His arguments in favor are crisp, clean, and cogent.

Recently, thousands of people protested in the streets of DC demanding a public option. Grayson's proposal is currently the quickest way to get that. His approach short-circuits all the nonsense that has consumed millions of dollars and thousands of hours to produce garbage.

The only way it will get to a vote is if it is voted out of committee.
In this case, that would be the Ways and Means Committee.

If you look at the current list of cosponsors (now at 50 64, from the original 10), you will notice something important

A lot of the Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee have yet to endorse this bill.

It's great that Alan Grayson has the support of people like Donna Edwards, Barney Frank, Anthony Weiner, Jared Polis, Carol Shea-Porter, Chellie Pingree, John Conyers, Jim McDermott, Janice Schakowsky, Dennis Kucinich, John Lewis, Elijah Cummings and others.

But thevotes of support we need to get right now belong to members of the Ways and Means Committee. Without their support, this bill will die in committee.

We know we can't wait for the Democratic Party "leadership" to tackle this for us.We need to follow Grayson's leadand do it ourselves. Now is the time to start dialing for dollars. To help you help Grayson help all of us, I have put together a hit list so we can whip this bill ourselves.

Some Democratic members of the Ways and Means Committee have already endorsed the bill. I have noted them below so you can call and thank them.

When you contact the remaining Democrats, here is a proposed script you can use or modify as you see fit when you are talking to their legislative assistant for healthcare.

I've learned that Representative Alan Grayson has introduced a bill that would allow all Americans to buy into Medicare. It's HR4789. I'm calling to encourage the committe to act on this bill quickly so it comes to the floor. This bill is a very good thing and does not stand in the way of any other health care initiatives. Will Rep. [fill in the blank] vote it out of committee so it can be voted on by the full House? Will they cosponsor the legislation as well? (If not... why not?)

If the person you are speaking to is a legislative assistant, they will likely say they "need to study the bill". That is not necessarily a bad thing. The cost implications need to be considered.

However, it is worth noting the bill explicitly states the people who avail themselves of this public option before 65 will be paying for it at cost. Moreover, we are already paying for it with our payroll taxes, often many decades before we become eligible. That's a hidden 3% tax (1.45% from you and 1.45% from your employer). Why not get more bang for your buck?

For those who worry this will cause employers to drop their insurance, it is worth pointing out that they are doing that already. The rate this is happening is increasing. Finally, we have the recent Goldman Sachs report touting two health insurers as good buys because they are aggressively raising their rates and making a handsome profit -- while personal bankruptcies from medical bills continue to climb.

If you still hit resistance, don't give up -- especiallly if the representative is on the record supporting the public option. Many of the Democrats in the Ways and Means Committee have stated "I support the public option, but..." That means they are still available to be lobbied. Politely ask their legislative assistantif the representativewill make studying this a priority and let them know you will be calling back as more information is developed to address any concerns they have.On the next page I have compiled alist of the Ways and Means Democrats, click on their respective links to get their contactemail, phone, etc. info for each representative:

Sander M. Levin, MI-12 Acting Chairman

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For starters, I am not the Henry Porter who writes for the Observer in Britain. I'm a native New Yorker living in Maryland. I used to believe knowledge was power. Now I know knowledge translated into action is power.
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