Get to your member of Congress’ town hall meetings

I am going to be heading out shortly to attend Rep. Keith Ellison’s town hall on health care reform.

Now I know Keith’s position, especially after he signed this letter (pdf) from 57 member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Dear Madam Speaker, Chairman Waxman, Chairman Rangel, and Chairman Miller:

We write to voice our opposition to the negotiated health care reform agreement under consideration in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

We regard the agreement reached by Chairman Waxman and several Blue Dog members ofthe Committee as fundamentally unacceptable. This agreement is not a step forward toward a good health care bill, but a large step backwards. Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, for a public option with reimbursement rates based on Medicare rates -not negotiated rates -is unacceptable. 

It would ensure higher costs for the public plan, and would do nothing to achieve the goal of”keeping insurance companies honest,” and their rates down. 
To offset the increased costs incurred by adopting the provisions advocated by the Blue Dog members of the Committee, the agreement would reduce subsidies tolow-and middle-income families, requiring them to pay a larger portion oftheir income for insurance premiums, and would impose an unfunded mandate on the states to pay for what were to have been Federal costs.

In short, this agreement will result in the public, both as insurance purchasers and as taxpayers, paying ever higher rates to insurance companies.

We simply cannot vote for such a proposal.

Knowing that we are on the same side, why should I spend my Saturday morning at this Town Hall?  Well there are two reasons, the first is my fundamental belief in democracy, which really requires more than voting, but civic engagement.  The other reason is a worry that those who don’t support at a minimum a public option my try to pack the town hall.  Those of us who support a public option and prefer single payer, need to make our voices heard.  We cannot allow corporate media drown out our voices for real change. 

I realize that even if it was overrun with folks wanting the status quo, that Rep. Ellison wouldn’t change his position on this.  But not all members of Congress are as committed to real reform as he is, so if you have town hall coming up on this topic with your member of Congress.  Get to it and make your voice heard.



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