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Obama Still Backs Public Option

Posted on Jul 7, 2009
Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Rahm Emanuel may think his boss is open to alternatives, but the president released a statement Tuesday reaffirming his support for government-run health care. A separate e-mail from Obama’s permanent campaign, Organizing for America, urged supporters to write their local newspapers and lobby for health care reform that includes “the choice of a robust public insurance option.”

Statement from President Obama:

“I am pleased by the progress we’re making on health care reform and still believe, as I’ve said before, that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices, and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest.  I look forward to a final product that achieves these very important goals.”


Mitch Stewart / Organizing for America:

As we speak, key committees in Congress are weighing options and making final decisions about how to tackle health care reform. This could be one of the last opportunities to shape the legislation before it’s written.

The behind-the-scenes committee negotiations aren’t front-page news, but the lobbyists trying to block reform are following every detail, and they won’t miss a day. If the final plan is to uphold President Obama’s principles of reduced costs, guaranteed choice—including the choice of a robust public insurance option—and quality care for all, your voice must be heard.


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By Sepharad, July 11, 2009 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

A “PS to Outraged: what differentiates socialized medicine from single payer in my mind is that under socialized medicine all the profit centers for delivery of healthcare become non-profits operated by the government (better, I hope, than the post office and also more innovative), and doctors work for a good salary rather than paid by piece-work. A separate dilemma is how to deal with the pharmaceutical companies, who argue truthfully that every “cash cow” breakthrough drug costs so much because it has to cover the costly R&D for dozens and dozens of drugs that wash out in the lengthy trial periods. This is true. But they still seem to be taking home more money than they should. Maybe they should be salaried too, but R&D isn’t something I’m sure I’d trust to government.

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By ThomasG, July 11, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment


AWARENESS is the answer.  Do everything that you can to encourage awareness of the masses.  When awareness of the masses reaches a critical point, action will be taken.

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By Sepharad, July 9, 2009 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG—- Couldn’t agree with you more: the Common Population should gain control of our political apparatus so they can implement policies good for us and bad for oligarchs. But do you see any sign of movement in that direction? (Check out Hedges’ video on the 2nd American Revolution.) Until that happy milennium, our best option remains pressing Obama.

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By Sepharad, July 9, 2009 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Outraged, the reason I wouldn’t be content with a single payer plan is that the one I’ve actually looked at is inadequate because it doesn’t cover more expensive drugs if the diseases in which they are needed are not sufficiently prevalent. In Oregon, for example, my friend Susan was an editor and writer, successfully holding a job despite her MS. But when the disease began attacking her eyes, she was unable to afford a drug costing $800 per month, the single payer plan did not cover it, so she is now blind, unable to do her job, and the state of Oregon is paying her more in disability than it would have paid to save her eyesight. When our son was stricken with a rare cancer, while we were scrambling to pay for treatment in California (both my husband and I are self-employed) just out of interest we looked on the list of covered drugs in Oregon and not one of the combined chemo drugs that saved our son’s life would have been available in Oregon. Re my own drug needs, I’ve been fighting aggressive rheumatoid arthritis for 22 years, and the only drug that really slowed it down is an expensive high-tech self-injected one. Not only was it not covered on Oregon’s single payer plan, but it is not covered by Medicare (presumably because it’s expensive and only 2+million Americans have the disease). My husband won’t retire because that single drug costs us $1,500 a month. We’ve purchased supplemental RX coverage from Blue Shield that costs us roughly a third of that price.

Socialized medicine is a different thing, and as it exists in Europe and Israel (though the declining financial situation overseas may eventually degrade their coverage) would indeed cover whatever treatment people need. I wasn’t objecting to or being snide re socialized medicine, as you seemed to interpret, but because mandated socialized medicine across the board is what we really need.

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By norris hall, July 9, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s my health care story

For the past 4 years my wife and I been saving up all our medical and dental problems and making the 18 hour journey Thailand where the medical care is excellent and the cost…just a fraction of what it costs the US.  For example, last November I had an Endoscopic balloon dilation for a condition known as dysphagia performed in Bangkok.  The specialist in the US said the operation would cost me $2500. (His bill for the 15 minute consultation was $250.)  I decided to wait until I got to Thailand and had it done in at Chulalongkorn public hospital…cost $100 including biopsy.  (all I needed for ID was my US passport. No questions asked!!)
7 months later I am happy to report that I am doing fine.

Why do we have to travel half way around the world for a procedure that we could have done here in America? 
My wife and I are in our 60’s and self employed.  Unlike the lucky Americans who work for an employer who foots a large portion of their medical premiums, we pay 100% of everything.  And at our age, the best policy we’ve been able to find so far is a Blue shield plan that costs $900 a month and has a $8000 deductible.

So we are basically “self insured”..that limbo state where we are too rich to get subsidized medical care but too poor to be able to afford the typical $50,000 bill for a couple of nights stay in a US hospital

America is divided into two groups.  Those who have adequate health insurance and those who don’t.  So in essence, the US has a rationed health care system where those who can afford insurance get good medical treatment..and those who cannot afford insurance go without.

That is how it is in a free market economy.

I highly recommend any American who can’t afford US medical care to look into going overseas.  Countries like Thailand, India and Singapore are gearing up to provide top notch medical care at a fraction of the cost in the US citizens like me who are either uninsured or underinsured.

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By ThomasG, July 8, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment


“But I think Folktruther’s suggestion to pressure Obama is probably a better idea.”

The better idea is that the Common Population needs to get their own constituents into the Democratic Party in sufficient numbers over a period of time, so that the Common Population can use the Democratic Party in both houses of the Congress of the United States to make and enforce law and order that is in the best interest of the Common Population, and the first law that needs to be effected by the Common Population is a Multi-Party Political System for the United States that will represent all three classes and cultures that make up the U.S. Political System that is inclusive of the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION; if the Common Population can do this, the Common Population can legislate their own health care that is in their best interest.

Without the Common Population being politically represented in the Congress of the United States the Common Population will still be trying to get health care 230 years from now, because the ruling classes and cultures that dominate in the Congress of the United States will do what is in their own best interest, rather than the best interest of the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION; this is reality that is apart from all of the equality of life, liberty, happiness, freedom and justice that is the propaganda of the American dream.

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By Outraged, July 8, 2009 at 12:46 am Link to this comment

Re: Folktruther:
Your comment: “He would no more support government health-which is another name for socialized medicine, than he would walk on water.” 

You show yourself.  “SOCIALIZED MEDICINE”??  You know that’s not true, Folktruther.  But “winger” mantra is: attack Pres. Obama, attack Pres. Obama, attack Pres. Obama…  Did you like to place “dress-up” as a child..?

Re: Shepard:
Your comment: “he does not support a socialized medical plan mandated to cover every American, and I don’t think he will because he didn’t promise a mandated public plan

You show yourself, also.  “SOCIALIZED MEDICINE”???  Gee Shepard, you mananged to work that term “MANDATED” in there too, impressive…

Go Pres. Obama!  That really rattled their cage….!  Good one.  Single Payer HR676 is NOT socialized medicine, only the wingers call it that.  Where’s my shadow, ardee…., you know Folktruthers “newfound friend”...?

GO PRESIDENT OBAMA!  I will write that letter.

Single payer:
“In a single-payer system, all hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers would bill one entity for their services. This alone reduces administrative waste greatly, and saves money, which can be used to provide care and insurance to those who currently don’t have it.”

“....The program would be federally financed and administered by a single public insurer at the state or regional level. Premiums, copayments, and deductibles would be eliminated. Employers would pay a 7.0 percent payroll tax and employees would pay 2.0 percent, essentially converting premium payments to a health care payroll tax. 90 to 95 percent of people would pay less overall for health care. Financing includes a $2 per pack cigarette tax.”

It appears the wingers ARE positive Pres. Obama would sign this…. if we get it to his desk!  C’mon America, let’s get it there.

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By GB, July 7, 2009 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If the dems don’t start ignoring the republican obstructionists and start listening to Americans they will lose big in 2010. If there is no single payer option for the majority of Americans who want it, I’ll be writing my own name in at the polls.

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By Sepharad, July 7, 2009 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

Well that’s a relief. Or would be if true. But didn’t he also say today that he’s looking at a non-public cooperative Seattle-type plan? MarthaA, saying “public option” is not even close to being a
“public plan”. If he does not support a socialized medical plan mandated to cover every American, and I don’t think he will because he didn’t promise a mandated public plan (which is why I voted for Hillary, on that single issue), Americans without the means to pay for health care are going to remain without it. On a different thread I suggested contacting every politician representing you and saying if there is not a credible socialized medical plan forthcoming, the Democratic party will never get another one of your votes. But I think Folktruther’s suggestion to pressure Obama is probably a better idea.

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By MarthaA, July 7, 2009 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

If Obama says PUBLIC OPTION, he means PUBLIC OPTION, so hopefully the needed plan with a public option will get to Obama’s desk so that all citizens of the United States will actually have health care, not just the few.  And, hopefully those of the common population with health care will actually have health care should a medical situation arise, instead of being told their condition isn’t covered.

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By Folktruther, July 7, 2009 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

I wonder how long the American people are going to continue to believe Obama’s bullshit.  His princple should be prefectly clear by now: say one thing and do the opposite.  He would no more support government health-which is another name for socialized medicine, than he would walk on water. 
what Americans need to do is to put pressure on Obama, not on their local leaders.  And that is the reason for his announcment of course, to prevent or weaken it.

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By don knutsen, July 7, 2009 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Untill we strip away the complete coverage the politicians on the hill enjoy, untill they are living with the same choices as we all are…They will never address health care in any meaningfull way. How could we ever expect otherwise ? Once they are plugged into the public trough, our worries are no longer theres. This is not something you could expect the congressmen to change obviously…it has to be a groundswell from the people, untill its finally addressed for the benefit of the people instead of big buisness.

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