By Grace Kelly
Congressman Keith Ellison holds a public hearing on health care and decides he is going to support a “robust public option”.
I saw Representative Keith Ellison do a masterful performance of rallying people to be informed, to be active and to advocate. A summary of the forum is on a video below the fold. The huge forum was overfilled with people filling every seat, lining the walls and spilling into hallways. The first hour was filled with a number of short presentations that were well known to the audience. Then Representative Keith Ellison led the discussion:
- Keith Ellison did excellent speech that you can see at the beginning tape where he set the expectations that this would a long process like the civil rights movement and that we would not get all we want the first time.
- By allowing short one minute speeches (later half minute speeches) Keith Ellison is allowing people to take that first crucial step towards activism, speaking out. People spoke out and felt good about it.
- The discussion evolved to how to campaign best for single payer health care, or the second option, a robust public option. Best facts, best persuasions, best words and best methods were shared. Some of that is captured on the tape.
- Above all, at every step, Representative Ellison was encouraging, confirming and urging people on to more action. Several times, Representative Ellison made a mini-speech about the importance of writing and contacting the people who represent us. At the end, he asked for a commitment to write by raising hands. A storm of hands went up, captured in the video.
While comments on the tape spread out on all topics, here is a brief summary of what the audience had to say.
- Health care is a moral right. Jesus healed people for no cost and asked that we all care for each other.
- The current health care system is broken. Copays prevent people from going for care because they can’t afford it. The on and off Medicaid means that people lose transplants and cost more in the long run, as well as suffering more. We are charged way too much for medical drugs. People were facing bankruptcy with health care costs, sometimes even with insurance.
- The quality of health care in other countries is misrepresented, it is much better than our health care. Business has been misled by the Chamber of Commerce. Single payer health care is the lowest cost health care, until we can get that then we need a robust public option. A “robust” public option pays for health care and does not give money to the health insurance industry. If public option gives insurance industry subsidies, then we are losing money that could be going for health care and feeding the beast. Insurance companies should not be allowed to disallow pre-existing conditions or cherry picking the profit making healthy people, leaving the public option to pick up the cost of sick.
- Be active in speaking out and writing out. Distinguish carefully between health care and health care insurance. All health care dollars should be actually spent on health care.
- A Mayo clinic style of best physician practices would bring down costs. Teaching everyone to be proactive in nutrition and in good self care will bring down costs. Allowing people access to alternative medicines will bring down costs. Allowing midwives will improve care and bring down the cost of care. Allowing the government to negotiate and regulate will bring down health care costs.
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