Health Care For America Now, a coalition including unions, rallied in Seattle Tuesday to support health care reform with a public option. Zels Bryan Johnson was there:
” People here are absolutely ecstatic about the demand for the public option. One of the signs I’m looking at is “Now – I Can’t Afford To Wait”. Another sign is “Pass The Public Option Now”. And you see things from AFT Washington – and they’re saying unity, strength, action and “Health Care For America Now.”
As working families and their unions flooded capitol hill with phone calls Tuesday calling for the House to pass health care reform with a public option plan, the Senate Finance Committee was busy eliminating the public option from their proposal. The chairman of that committee is Democrat Max Baucus. He gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from the monied interests that oppose a public option – the insurance industry, as well as pharmaceutical drug makers and HMO’s. Robby Stern is with the Puget Sound Alliance For Retired Americans, one of the groups supporting the Seattle rally for the public option:
“They are spending $1.4 million per day to try and make sure that we do not get a public option and that there is not a requirement of some employer responsibility. We’re in a pitched battle. I think we’re in hand-to-hand combat at this point.”
So the political war over health care reform comes down to this. Monied interests trying to protect their power and profits in the existing health care system on the one hand – versus working families, their unions and health care reform advocates pressing for real reform that delivers quality health care to all on the other. The question the politicians and the American people must soon answer is which side are you on?