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Tuesday, Jun 9, 2009, 9:16 am

We Are the Healthcare Reform Pressure

By Jeremy Gantz

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Chris Bowers over at Open Left makes a very simple and good point:

Here is a message that progressive organizations and media outlets need to start sending to all Democratic party committees and members of Congress:

We are done attacking Republicans until you pass a public option for health care.

Yes, nearly every single Senate Republican opposes a public option, but the two courses (attack Republicans vs. pressure hesitant Democrats) are still essentially mutually exclusive because GOP support for real healthcare reform is less likely than pigs flying. While perhaps good fun, attacking Republicans is needless and distracting and counterproductive, as Bowers writes:

Stop telling me how bad Republicans are--we don't need a single one to pass the public option. In fact, not only do we not need any Republicans, but a public option can become a reality even if nine Senate Democrats, and 39 House Democrats, defect. This should be a slam dunk.

We should be naming names, flying to their home states to hold large rallies, and lining up primary challengers against public-option averse Democrats. Instead, our leaders are holding fundraisers for them, pressuring their primary opponents, and hosting dinners in their honor. Kind of makes you wonder how serious even those Democrats in favor of the public option are about change.

So here is the deal we should make: progressive media outlets and organizations will only start attacking Republicans again Democrats pass a public health care option that is open to all Americans who are not currently eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or S-CHIP. Until that happens, we are not allies. Instead, they are the obstacle, and we are the pressure.

Jeremy Gantz is a contributing editor at the magazine. He is the editor of The Age of Inequality: Corporate America's War on Working People (2017, Verso), and was the Web/Associate Editor of In These Times from 2008 to 2012. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, he worked as a reporter for The Cambodia Daily in 2007. After graduating from Carleton College in 2004, he lived in Sri Lanka on a Fulbright scholarship, studying the intersection of ethnic politics and public education. His articles have also appeared in Chicago-area newspapers, Alternet and the Onion’s A.V. Club.

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