Friday, November 20, 2009

How to kill the public option

"We can't afford to delay health care reform with a trigger. The Senate must pass legislation with a national public health insurance option that's available immediately."

Sign the petition
Dear MoveOn member,

The Senate is taking up health care reform tomorrow. But some conservative Democratic Senators are still trying to kill the public health insurance option.

Instead of opposing it outright, they're pushing a sneaky proposal called a "trigger" that could delay it indefinitely—by forcing us to wait for the health care crisis to get even worse before the public option becomes available.

And with critical votes starting tomorrow, these senators are ramping up their efforts to insert a trigger into the bill. We've got to send an overwhelming message right away that the trigger is unacceptable, and show the Senate that voters demand a real public option.

Can you sign the petition?

The petition reads: "We can't afford to delay health care reform with a trigger. The Senate must pass legislation with a national public health insurance option that's available immediately."

Thanks to grassroots pressure from progressives across the country, and courageous leadership from a few champions in Congress, we're closer than ever to winning reform with a public option.

Though the Senate legislation has some real problems, it does include a version of the public option. But a handful of conservative Democrats are threatening to join a Republican filibuster and block an up-or-down vote unless it's replaced with a trigger.1

So today we're launching this petition and airing a new TV ad to demonstrate that the trigger is an awful idea:

  • Our health care system is in crisis now. A trigger could unnecessarily delay a public health insurance option for years—or kill it entirely by delaying it indefinitely. Thousands of families in New York lack insurance coverage2 and they can't afford to wait for the increased competition and lower costs a public option would deliver.3
  • Insurance companies are masters at gaming the system—we've all seen how they avoid paying out claims and covering people who are sick. If they know what criteria would trigger the creation of a public option, they'll do just enough to avoid the trigger, without changing the way they do business.
  • Congress has tried to implement triggers and other "fallback" options in health care legislation before, and they've consistently failed. As one study put it, "History teaches us that trigger mechanisms are difficult to implement, too narrow in their focus, and can too easily be reversed if the political landscape changes."4
We've got to let our senators know that the trigger is unacceptable. Click here to sign the petition:

Thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Carrie, Kat, Michael, and the rest of the team


1. "Trigger Happy," Time, November 18, 2009

2. "One-Two Punch: Unemployed and Uninsured," Families USA, October 2009

3. "The House Public Plan: Yes, It's Worth It," The New Republic, November 5, 2009

4. "Trigger Unhappy: What Experience Can Teach Us About Why We Should Not Delay the Implementation of Public Plan Choice," Timothy Stoltzfus Jost

"Trigger Unhappy," The New Republic, October 22, 2009

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