Stuff like this is really pissing me off.
From The Huffington Post yesterday:
Leaderless: Senate Pushes For Public Option Without Obama's Support
HuffPost | 10-24-09
President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan "triggered" into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks.
The administration retreat runs counter to the letter and the spirit of Obama's presidential campaign. The man who ran on the "Audacity of Hope" has now taken a more conservative stand than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), leaving progressives with a mix of confusion and outrage. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have battled conservatives in their own party in an effort to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Now tantalizingly close, they are calling for Obama to step up.
On Thursday evening, after taking the temperature of his caucus, Reid told Obama at a White House meeting that he was pushing a national public option with an opt-out provision. Obama, several sources briefed on the exchange, reacted coolly.
"He certainly didn't embrace it and he seemed to indicate a preference for continuing to work on a strategy that involved Senator Snowe and a trigger," said one aide briefed on the meeting. Several other sources, along with independent media reports, confirmed the exchange.
It is not philosophical, one White House aide explained, but is a matter of political practicality. If the votes were there to pass a robust public option through the Senate, the president would be leading the charge, the aide said. But after six months of concern that it would be filibustered, the bet among Obama's aides is that Reid is now simply being too optimistic in his whip count. The trigger proposal, said Democratic aides, has long been associated with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Advocates of a public option largely consider a "trigger" the equivalent of no public option at all . . . . "The current state of our health system should be trigger enough for anyone who's paying attention," said a congressional aide in the middle of the health care battle. "The American people pulled the 'trigger' in November."
If Obama is going to renege on promises he made in his campaign, what exactly is the "change" he advocated? Change of party, yes, but no substantial change of policies as of yet.
He's the president, fer krissakes! Should he not be the one making the decisions and not his chief of staff?!? Listening to rahm emanuel and "Queen Olympia" is not what the USian voters wanted when they elected the man president. A strong public option in health care legislation should be the minimum he demands his party's Congress do. It's the least he can do since he took the only real reform of Single Payer off the table as soon as he got the office.
If you still vote in the US you might want to contact the White House with your thoughts. Apparently, people in the administration are becoming as much or more a barrier to reform than is Congress. You can email them here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
It may be time to change the slogan from "Hope and Change" to "Despair and M.O.T.S.*" . . . .
* More of the Same
(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)