We spent most of 2009 fighting for single-payer Medicare for All or, as a compromise, a robust public option. But Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson blocked both, and now demand our surrender. Will we surrender to LieberCare?
I believe we can fight, but with one caveat: for once, the broad progressive movement must work a bit harder to unite. We can only win this relatively brief fight if we’re all working together every day.
I believe the policy that would unite the broadest coalition is a “Medicare Option” – a “public option” that specifically lets Americans under 65 buy into Medicare if they want that choice.
Why “Medicare Option”? For two simple reasons:
- An overwhelming 64%-30% majority of Americans support the Medicare Option.
- Joe Lieberman himself supported the Medicare Option until he discovered how popular it was.
Of course many progressives have other “bottom lines” we should also fight for as a unified coalition:
- Tax the rich, not healthcare – a key issue for unions
- Mandate employers, not people – another key issue for unions and civil libertarians
- No new restrictions on abortion coverage – a key issue for feminists
- Prescription drug importation and negotiated prices – a key issue for patients
To succeed, we must unite as much of the progressive movement as possible:
- Across the organizational spectrum – blogs, c3’s, c4’s, unions, PACs, 527’s, for-profits
- Across the ideological spectrum, from single-payer to public option to universal coverage
- Across the tactical spectrum, from DC insiders to street protesters
- Across the technological spectrum – bloggers, emailers, Facebookers, Tweeters, texters
As a coalition, we should fight with all the weapons we have:
- Persuasive blogging and press outreach
- Direct lobbying of Members by DC insiders
- Email and phone lobbying by activists across the country
- Hard-hitting video ads for Youtube and broadcast
- Protests at district offices
- Google ads targeting Members
That’s my proposal in a nutshell – I welcome your thoughts here.