With various health care reform bills floating around both the House and the Senate, President Barack Obama is pulling out all the stops to get the votes that the bill needs, which is good news for the public option.
President Obama recently called for backup in order to push the congressional bills that support his vision for health care reform, reports Salon.com. One hundred-fifty units of backup, to be exact. Doctors from all across the nation crowded the Rose Garden yesterday morning in support of a new insurance system.
"The reason these doctors are here is because they have seen firsthand what’s broken about our healthcare system," the president said with physicians from tough states at his side. "Every one of you here today took an oath when you entered the medical profession. It was not an oath that you would spend a lot of time on the phone with insurance companies. It was not an oath that you would have to turn away patients who you know could use your help. You did not devote your lives to be bean counters or paper pushers. You took an oath so that you could heal people."
Coming from Maine, Nebraska, Florida and Arkansas, the doctors (a surgeon, an OB-GYN, an allergist and an oncologist respectively) represented the states of senators whose votes will be key when the bills reach the Senate in the coming month.
Political insiders say now that the bills are done, an intricate dance of private negotiations and initial votes has begun. Senators from the above states (three Democrats and one Republican) will be courted, while the rest of the Senate will be subject to more pep rallies and discussions in the hopes that the bill can score at least 60 votes.
All of this is good news for the public option, which is a government-funded public insurance plan that many Democrats want to be included in the health care reform. Harry Reid, who leads the Democrats in the Senate, and health committee chair Tom Harkin are both confident that there will be a public option of some sort. Other health care reformers are also fighting hard for the public option.
"President Obama has said all along that the public health insurance option is his first choice" for making health insurance affordable, said Jacki Schechner, a spokeswoman for Health Care for America Now, a union-backed coalition that supports reform. "We want to make sure he gets his first choice."