Just so we’ve got the facts direct from the Prez before they get filtered or distorted by mainstream media. From WhiteHouse.gov:

The President has long said he is open to any good ideas for reforming our health care system, and he looks forward to discussing ideas for further improvements from Republicans and Democrats at an open, bipartisan meeting on Thursday.

The proposal will make health care more affordable, make health insurers more accountable, expand health coverage to all Americans, and make the health system sustainable, stabilizing family budgets, the Federal budget, and the economy:

  • It makes insurance more affordable by providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing premium costs for tens of millions of families and small business owners who are priced out of coverage today.  This helps over 31 million Americans afford health care who do not get it today – and makes coverage more affordable for many more.
  • It sets up a new competitive health insurance market giving tens of millions of Americans the exact same insurance choices that members of Congress will have.
  • It brings greater accountability to health care by laying out commonsense rules of the road to keep premiums down and prevent insurance industry abuses and denial of care.
  • It will end discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  • It puts our budget and economy on a more stable path by reducing the deficit by $100 billion over the next ten years – and about $1 trillion over the second decade – by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse.

Sounds good, right? But…

There’s no public option in the Prez’s proposal which is a shame since polls show that the majority of Americans want a public option (such a dumb phrase), as good as say… Medicare or VA health benefits or even the government-sponsored program in which Sarah Palin’s son Tripp is hypocritically enrolled. The audacity of that woman — what’s good enough for her son is evidently not good enough for other Americans, it would seem.

AND new polling shows that Americans are willing to vote hard for Dems willing to go hard for a public option:

QUESTION: What would make you more likely to vote for Democrats in the 2010 elections: If they pass health care reform that includes a public health insurance option but gets zero Republicans votes OR if they pass health care reform without a public option but with some Republican votes?

* Nevada: 53% public option, 40% bipartisanship
* Illinois: 61% public option, 30% bipartisanship
* Iowa: 58% public option, 29% bipartisanship
* Washington: 61% public option, 25% bipartisanship
* Missouri: 49% public option, 36% bipartisanship
* Virginia: 55% public option, 33% bipartisanship
* Minnesota: 62% public option, 39% bipartisanship
* Colorado: 58% public option, 43% bipartisanship

It’s nice that Obama is signaling a willingness to hear from Republicans, use some of their ideas and get them on board. It’s in their electoral interest to cooperate with healthcare reform since only the hard right is against common sense changes that protect consumers. Still, I say, if the GOP won’t get on the bus, then let’s get it done without them. Progressives will reap the rewards later in the 2010 and 2012 elections…

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