Dear Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel

Ad Hoc Coalition for the Public Option

October 23, 2009

Dear Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel:

We, the undersigned alliance for a robust public option, write to request that President Obama heed the will of the people and the organized progressive grassroots and take a strong leadership position in support of a robust public option. The public has spoken and the majority of members of Congress have spoken: Health care reform must include a robust public option.

A robust public health insurance option is central to reform; it saves people money, saves the government money, is popular with majority members of Congress, very popular with the public at large, and helps fulfill the promise of equality and opportunity that America strives for. We firmly believe a public option is necessary to slow cost growth, and to keep insurance companies honest. This option should be made available nationwide on day one, be publicly accountable, and possess the authority to establish rates that pay providers fairly.

Including a public option in health care reform is the fiscally responsible thing to do. A preliminary estimate from the Congressional Budget Office projects that the House health care plan (HR 3200), including a robust public option, would cost less than other plans and would reduce the deficit in the first 10 years.


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A strong public health insurance option is what a majority of Americans want and is supported by a majority of those in Congress. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 57% of all Americans favor a public option. Also, polls recently conducted nationally, in swing districts, and in Maine, suggest that Americans think a public plan is essential if they are to be required to have health insurance. Support for an individual mandate increases from around 40 percent to more than 60 percent if that mandate is coupled with the creation of a new public option. Failing to ensure that an affordable public option is available in all parts of the nation could seriously undermine support for the new system.

Including a public option in health care reform is also the morally right thing to do. Studies have shown that communities of color, low-income communities, immigrant communities, women, young people and the LGBT community all have additional barriers to comprehensive and affordable coverage. Affordability and accessibility of care is a key concern for these communities. Our country is only as strong as our most vulnerable citizen, and all Americans deserve the opportunity to access quality and affordable health care. A public option would help provide this equality and opportunity.

The House has shown leadership by moving forward health care reform that includes a robust public option. We respectfully ask that the Office of the President take a stronger stand on a robust public option in order to enact true health care reform this year. We request a meeting with you at your earliest opportunity to further discuss this matter.


African American Health Alliance

Alliance for Health Care

American Federation of Government Employees

American Medical Student Association

Campaign for America's Future

Campaign for Better Health Care, Illinois

Campus Progress

Center for Policy Analysis

Commonwealth Institute

DemocraciaUSA Action

Democracy for America

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund

Doctors Council of the District of Columbia/NUHHCE/AFSCME

Dolores Huerta Foundation

Equal Justice Society

Faith United Church of Christ

Future Majority

Generational Alliance

Ian Mackey, Democratic National Convention Delegate 2008


Matt Adler, Democratic National Convention Delegate 2008

Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign

Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO Political Action


National Black Nurses Association

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Physicians Alliance

National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees

National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees 1199J

Out of Many, One

People For the American Way's African American Ministers in Action

Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ

Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ

Power PAC

Progressive Congress Action Fund

Progressive States Network

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition

Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Roger Manno, Maryland State Delegate

Roosevelt Institute Campus Network

The Cave Institute

The Honorable Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, Maryland State Delegate

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society

Universal Health Care Action Network

US Action

Young Americans for Healthcare Reform

Young Invincibles

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