Robert Reich gives a brief, clear explanation of what the public option is and why it is important, and then goes on to explain what you can do to help. Opponents to meaningful reform are impressively well-organized and have almost unlimited financial resources. This is the time when everyone needs to step up:
1. Call your representatives in Congress and tell them you support President Obama’s healthcare reform plan and that you support a public option. This is the most important step. Politicians take calls from constituents very seriously, more seriously than emails or faxes. Go to the CongressMerge online Congressional directory and enter your address to get the contact information for your Representative and Senators. Take fifteen minutes out of your day to call both Senators and your Representative, even if they have already said they support reform. This is going to get very, very rough, and we can’t let anybody go wobbly if we can prevent it. Program the numbers into your phone and call as many times and as often as you can stand.
2. Go to the Health Care For America Now web site and use their handy interface to email to your representatives in Congress. Use their template, modify it, or write your own letter, and Health Care for America Now will fill in the necessary address information and forward it to your representatives.
3. Post this video on you Facebook page, MySpace page, and blog, and email it to friends, family, and whomever else might get some good out of it.
4. Talk to all your friends, family, and coworkers about this. If people support reform, urge them to do what they can to help. In the video, Reich pointedly mentions talking to your friends in Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Maine, Wyoming. These are the states of five members of the Gang of Six, the six Senators on the Senate Finance Committee who are trying to forge a bipartisan compromise bill. He omits Iowa, Chuck Grassley’s state, because Grassley has plainly been throwing up objections to whatever has been proposed and isn’t going to go along with meaningful reform anyway.
If your are engaging people who are opposed to the proposed reform, this is an incredibly easy argument to win, as evidenced by the the fact that opponents have not come up with a single well-reasoned, factual argument for opposing reform. Here are some links with additional information if you need talking points, assuming they can be convinced by someone that isn’t screaming and waving a sign:
Eight Questions About Health-Care Reform – nice quick, nonpartisan summary of healthcare reform from the Washington Post
“Obamacare”: Debunking the Myths of Health Insurance Reform from Media Matters
Herndon Alliance – focuses on information for seniors and other Medicare recipients. (This is for your mom, Lucy!)
Why is Health Reform Needed? from FamiliesUSA
Like Mr. Reich says, this is our last chance to make this happen. You cannot wait any longer to get involved in this. In a couple of weeks, we will have either made a profound positive change to America for ourselves and all who follow us, or we will have to spend years regretting that we didn’t do enough. Spend the next few days doing as much as you are able to do, and you will never ever regret it, no matter how things turn out.