Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Progressive Groups Score Win Against Corporate Democrat Ben Nelson (D-HMO)!

Just got this in my inbox:

This week, Change Congress scored a major victory against U.S. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) after he fell victim to what I call "Good Souls Corruption" -- good people trapped in a broken campaign-finance system they refuse to fix.

Ben Nelson probably hates us right now -- or at least me. But that's OK, it was worth it. Here's what happened.

Nelson has received over $2 million from health and insurance interests who oppose President Obama's public health insurance option. Those companies fear competition. 71% of rural voters support it.

Who did Nelson side with? You guessed it -- in May, he sided with the insurance interests against the citizens of Nebraska, calling the public option a "deal breaker."

So Change Congress launched $10,000 of online ads, letting Nebraska voters know about Nelson's special-interest money. We also sent 3,000 direct-mail pieces to Democratic donors throughout the state. This generated state and national news stories for over a week (and apparently freaked Nelson out).

After an intense 11-day battle with Nelson, he's now publicly "open" to the public option -- and yesterday, he made more news by saying he won't join a filibuster of Obama's plan. One of our local supporters even got a personal phone call from the Senator yesterday, during which Nelson tried to explain away his special-interest contributions!

Where's the "Don't challenge red-state Democrats they're as liberal as they can be!" crowd now?

The fact of the matter is this doesn't have to do with liberal or conservative. Most Americans want to be able to join a Medicare-style public plan instead of dealing with greedy and wasteful private insurance companies -- whether they identify as Democrat, Republican, or independent. This issue of healthcare crosses party lines.

And though I think we need a single-payer plan -- it would do the most to control costs, in that it would bring everyone into a public plan -- I think at least by having the option of a public plan open, we have a chance to eventually get to single-payer. So while it's a step down, it's still a step in the right direction. Doing any kind of healthcare bill without a strong and robust public option available to people, however, is a complete failure.