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Future of Public Option Depends on What Single Payer Supporters Do Now

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HCAN Rally at Chicago Aetna Headquarters | Feb. 16, 2009


In order to continue to tug health care in a more humane and less corporate direction, Americans should continue to stand up and speak out in favor of single-payer health care. The very future of the so-called public option and/or Rep. Alan Grayson's "Medicare You Can Buy Into Act" depends on people who are willing to take a position for real healthcare for all, a system that does not work within the context of a for-profit system.

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Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and David Sirota, author of The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington, are still working to keep the movement for a public option alive by delivering petitions to Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado.

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Hamsher and Sirota are looking to force Sen. Bennet to offer an amendment including the public option when the Senate is in the process of adding "fixes" to the bill. And, since Sen. Bennet has a primary challenger who is also publicly stating he is for the public option, Hamsher and Sirota are making it possible for voters to apply pressure on the primary so Bennet might take action.

John Nichols, writer for The Nation, is already calling for a "reform of the reform." Suggesting there were "practical and political reasons" for supporting the recent health bill signed by Obama on Tuesday and that passage was part of a process, Nichols now hopes people will come together to build a "Medicare for All" framework around a core principle--that "everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health"--which Obama declared the health reform enshrined in America.

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The problem with continued willingness to support the public option is that it has the potential to be driven by people who misunderstand what just happened here. Facts and figures never suggested the public option was better than single-payer or that would reasonably improve the health care system. The public option was a market-based proposal that promoted the idea that if government competed in the health care market than costs for healthcare would go down.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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