For supporters of the public option in the national healthcare debate, last week was disheartening as the Right mobilized disturbances of townhall meetings and used Nazi comparisons of Democrats that support the public healthcare option.
Last night at the Loyola Fieldhouse on Sheridan and Greenleaf, the 49th Ward Democrats turned out in a huge way to support elected officials pushing for the public option in America’s quest for healthcare reform. The un-airconditioned room was packed, with people sweating and bearing the heat to hear from Dr. Anne Scheetz, William McNary, Congressman Danny Davis and Leslie Combs of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s office. Not only did people not leave the hot room, but the crowd responded very enthusiastically to the speakers calling for healthcare reform.
Dr. Scheetz gave an impassioned presentation for single payer healthcare. Her knowledge of the issue was really impressive and she received a rousing ovation from the audience.
Bill McNary, President of USAction and always a great speaker, followed Scheetz. Among the highlights he offered were to check out healthcarforamericanow.org and sign on to the following principles:
- People should have affordable coverage
- Healthcare reform needs to offer comprehensive benefits
- People need equal access to quality care
McNary really ramped up the crowd when he compared the struggle for healthcare reform to struggle for social security, medicare and civil rights in previous generations. He offered the ingredients to win the healthcare reform battle is: unity, discipline and passion.
Congressman Danny Davis spoke last, noting that he is a co-signer and longtime advocate of single payer healthcare reform. He had hoped that Congress would be on the verge of passing meaningful healthcare reform at this time. However, politics, Davis described, is “how you squeeze as much as you can get out of a process.”
Davis said he would not sign any bill that did not include a strong public option. He said that insurance executives should be ashamed to take a paycheck knowing there are those people out there with no access and no option to get healthcare. (The top guy at Cigna for example took home $12m last year.)
He talked about the opposition to a public option from the Right, calling it a contrived, organized effort meant to scare people. He concluded with the call for healthcare reform to be the legacy of this generation.
FYI, Jan Schakowsky is holding a townhall meeting coming up on August 31 at 6:30 PM at Niles West High School in Skokie. Make sure to get there early to ensure the fear mongerers do not make headlines.