We’ve worked together since the beginning of the healthcare debate to draw a line in the sand — the choice of a public option must be included in any reform bill passed this year. And every time Republicans have tried to kill it or the insurance industry has claimed it’s already dead, we’ve stood up and proven them wrong.
The new line from opponents of reform is that Congress doesn’t have the votes to pass a public option.
Once again, thanks to you, we’ve proven them wrong.
We’ve asked everyone in Congress where they stand. At least 218 House and 51 Senate Democrats have said they would vote for the final healthcare bill if it included the choice of a public option rather than vote against the bill and kill reform. That means Congress has the majority votes needed to pass a public option — TODAY.
Now is the season for action. The majority of Americans want it. Majority votes in Congress will pass it. Join President Obama in calling on Congress to get the job done this year.
Some have said it takes 60 votes to pass any bill in the U.S. Senate. It’s a myth.
It’s a myth because while any Senator can attempt to block most Senate bills with a procedural tactic called the filibuster, there are exceptions. Senate rules don’t allow filibusters of certain bills that affect the budget. That’s right; the healthcare reform plan including the choice of a public option can be passed in a budget bill by a majority vote in the U.S. Senate.
Don’t take my word for it. Numerous budget scholars and experts on Senate procedure have staked their reputations on it. Stan Collender, a contributing editor at the National Journal, contributing writer for Roll Call, and author of “The Guide to the Federal Budget” is an expert on the subject. Here’s how he explains it:
Over 25 times in history the Senate has passed major reforms this way, including the Bush tax cuts and funding for the Iraq War. Whether the Senate passes reform through a budget bill or in a different bill that has overcome a filibuster, the truth of the matter is it only takes a majority vote to get the job done.
Even after months of right-wing fear mongering and misinformation, the majority of Americans still want the choice of a public option. Just last Saturday, CBS News released a poll that showed support for a public option has increased since the President’s speech to Congress in which he explained what it would provide as a part of his healthcare plan.
President Obama can sign healthcare reform including a public option into law this year if we make sure Congress passes real reform.
When we work together, we’re unstoppable. Thank you for everything you do.
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
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