Progressive Voice At The Obama Health Care Summit
"A sense of urgency" prevailed at President Obama's health care summit, says Richard Kirsch, the director of Health Care for America NOW! Kirsch was at the summit to support a public health plan choice as part of a universal health care plan.
In spite of the ideological differences that surfaced during the summit, Kirsch says, there is more momentum behind health care reform today than there was when the Clinton administration attempted a similar effort in the 1990s. "There is a sense of commitment, and all hands on deck," he said.
One demonstration of that momentum was the more than 300,000 signatures of people who signed a MoveOn online petition. The signatures were brought on a set of compact discs to the summit and presented to Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore. That petition said, "Don't let the insurance lobbyists delay health care any longer. In this economic crisis, we can't afford NOT to pass quality, affordable health care for all this year."
"People have to really be engaged" to make sure that the insurance and other lobbyists don't derail health care reform this year. Health Care for America NOW! will mount a grassroots campaign during the April recess to persuade members of Congress in their districts to support universal health care with a public plan option, Kirsch says.