Fight For A Public Option

Eric T. Schneiderman

September 29, 2009

Although the U.S. Senate Finance Committee today rejected several amendments to create a public option to compete with the private insurance industry, the fight for real, robust health care reform is not over yet.

Our country's private health care system is a catastrophic failure. The insurance industry has been thriving on the backs of sick Americans for far too long – and politicians are allowing them to do it.

A public option is critical because it would have the scale and bargaining power to negotiate lower prices from health care providers – and would push private insurers to get the same deals.

Today’s setback is disappointing, but I believe the fight for a public option is winnable. According to the most recent CBS News poll, over 65% of Americans want a health care reform bill that includes a public option. President Obama supports it, the House of Representatives supports it and a majority of U.S. Senators supports it, too. 

A bipartisan plan is a worthy goal, but we cannot be held hostage to the Republicans’ obstructionist tactics and the insurance industry’s lobbying blitz. It’s time to move forward with a budget reconciliation process that only requires a 51-vote majority.

Make your voice heard and join me in standing up for a strong public option that puts people before profits.