by Max Brantley
Last night I called citizens in Cabot, asking them to pressure Sen. Blanche Lincoln to support the public option. I'm not surprised she won't; it seems her constituents don't want it.
Unfortunately, their reasons were uninformed, based on myths like "Our government can't afford it" (We're actually paying more under the current system), "It would get rid of Medicare" (false) and: "In a country as great as ours, government has no business getting involved in health care." (Ours is among the worst of life expectancy and infant mortality rates in the West, and government is mandated by our constitution to--well, govern.)
Perhaps most heartbreaking was a 70-year-old woman in nearby Austin, who told me her Medicare was being denied. I don't know the reasons for this, but I heard her sadness when she told me, "Everyone deserves to see a doctor." And yet she declared herself against the public option.
Blanche Lincoln, if your constituents don't support the public option, it's because no one bothered to tell them the truth: they're the people it's for. We aren't taking from Middle America, the farmers, the workers, the Americans who like their values served straight-up and honest. We're giving to them, because "Everyone deserves to see a doctor." Big Insurance companies and Pharmaceuticals both rank in the Top 10 of your campaign donors, and right now that’s who you’re representing.
It’s time to start empowering people with the truth, not exploiting them. That’s what real leaders do.
Jennifer L. Coates
Kansas City, Mo.