Washington State continues fight for health care

SEATTLE – One of nine statewide health care rallies took place here on Dec. 12 for health care reform. It was sponsored by President Barack Obama’s grassroots group, Organizing for America, and several statewide health care organizations.

Rep. Jim McDermott, a strong single-payer supporter, said a “Medicare for All”-type system would be the most humane way to deal with the crisis.

The problem is, he said, it’s not possible to win at this time. But the bottom line is a public option, he said.

McDermott likened the fight for health care, like building a house. “Obama is creating a house of health. We’re going to get a bill.”

But much of all the legislative back and forth in both the House and the Senate, he said, are like the details that go inside the house, like cabinets.

“The frame goes up first,” he said. McDermott predicted the final bill will pass Congress by February.

The desire to get health care reform passed was echoed by other rally speakers. Cassie Cummings of the Washington State Labor Council said the movement can compromise, but “we haven’t stopped fighting.”

Seattle’s Mayor-elect Mike McGinn, former regional chair of Sierra Club and is described as not your usual politician, said the crisis has taken too long to address. “But now it’s within reach.”

About 300 Seattle-area residents waved their signs in the air to help warm them against the 20 degree weather. They also signed “health care” Christmas cards to send to Washington’s Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray.

Photo by Joe Mabel, wikimedia.org: At an earlier rally, Seattle residents show their support for health care for all, September 2009.