The grassroots health care movement mobilized thousands of phone calls to Capitol Hill July 8, demanding enactment of health care reform with a strong public option that goes into effect immediately with no delaying “trigger.”

The Campaign for America’s Future initiated the July 8 call-in, urging supporters, “No month will be as critical as the month of July in the fight to win health care for all.”

The House and Senate are both moving fast to complete the drafting of health care reform legislation before they recess in early August.

Prospects for a public plan option are improving, thanks to increasing grassroots pressure, the CAF statement, signed by co-director Roger Hickey, said. But, it warned, “the massive lobbying effort from the insurance and drug companies is far from finished and several senators have yet to take a stand.”

The group pointed to a victory: Sens. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., and Kay Hagen, D-N.C., both endorsed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee bill that includes a public option after first saying they opposed it. Both changed their positions after MoveOn.org mobilized the senators’ constituents to demand they support inclusion of a public option.

“The lesson,” the center said, is: “when we mobilize the grassroots, we make democracy work for the common good.”

The phone number of the Capitol Hill main switchboard is (202) 224-3121 or toll-free 1-877-762-8762.

This reporter phoned his congressman, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, for no charge from Washington State to express appreciation for his support of the public option.

MoveOn.org also initiated a second call-in campaign, this time to the White House, to protest Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s support of a “trigger” mechanism that would postpone implementation of a public option until the nation reaches some point of extreme crisis in the future.

“The ‘trigger’ is a trap to kill health care reform,” says a statement from MoveOn. “It would delay the public health insurance option for years even though we’re facing a health care crisis now.”

Right now, when key committees are finalizing health care legislation, “Emanuel’s remarks will only embolden conservative opponents of reform,” MoveOn continued. “He should be standing with the majority of Americans for a strong public health insurance option — not disastrous half-measures like the ‘trigger.’”

The Huffington Post reports that Emanuel has been floating the idea of a “trigger” since January, a “Trojan horse” of the medical-insurance lobby.

The White House public comment line is 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414. (Again, this reporter phoned the White House and, after a three or four minute wait, was connected to a receptionist who listened to my message supporting the public option but opposing the “trigger.” She thanked me for the call and assured me my views would be conveyed to the president).

greenerpastures21212 @ yahoo.com

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