Let's hear it for false fact studies from lobbyists! This one seems to have served as a declaration of war. Last week, America's Health Insurance Plans released a study claiming that healthcare reform would cause Americans' premiums to soar, and hey presto...
Suddenly, the Democrats are acting like they're actually in a fight. Nancy Pelosi has vowed to bring a plan with a robust public option to the House floor, and even Senate leader Harry Reid Twittered his intention to strip insurance companies of their protections from anti-trust laws.
Reid says that the law allows insurers to fix prices and monopolize markets in ways that are illegal and uncompetitive. Surprise surprise, some senior Democrats are starting to back him up. The President even mentioned the exemption in his weekly address.
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So are Democrats finally growing spine? Well, not so fast. Obama still won't commit to ending the exemption that allows insurance companies to do with our health what we don't let Microsoft do with computer software. And he hasn't declared a war for Medicare for all. Getting insurers to agree to cover everyone is nice -- but without a public option, it does nothing to drive down price.
With new polls showing that public support for the public option has only increased since August, it's time for Obama to take a stand. Americans didn't elect a president of insurance, they elected a president of the country. It's Obama's job to lead on this issue, to fight for the promises he made on the campaign trail: a public plan to keep insurance companies honest, no individual mandate and no taxes on employer-provided care. It's time for the Democrats to fight for measures that will actually improve care, not just sound nice on CNN. Go for it.