Healthcare Bypasses Conference: Call your Rep
Congress has decided to bypass conference committee to assemble the final bill - two versions, one of which (the house version) constitutes real reform - and the other, (senate version) most decidedly does not.
This is zero hour. In less than a week, there will be a final bill sent to the president to sign. If it contains real reform, it is a huge upgrade for our country. And if it does not, it sets the tone for half-measures, appeasement, lobbyist influence and unabated corporate control over American institutions for the next century to come.
Word on the street is that the House is planning to stand strong on real reform, so tell your rep. you want a national health service. And the Senate, which is a more divided chamber, is where your voice will be most effective - they will need to review and accept the changes. Call your senator and let him know that whatever happens in the final healthcare bill, you want a national health service. Tell him the so-called public option is a misnomer. There's nothing optional about it. Ask for him to support the house version of the bill, on this point.
This is a live-fire exercise. Even if the bill will be assembled from a game of ping pong it may very well be that it will all be behind closed doors. Cspan has issued a request to televise the proceedings... in concert with Pres. Obama's pledges of open government. Here is the letter the Pres. of CSPAN sent to congress.
Although it would be interesting to see how Congress is going to respond to that letter, requesting transparency of proceedings - the GOP has stated outright - voting to the last man to block the bill - that they will do everything in their power to stop the bill. Last year they said this issue would be Obama's 'Waterloo'. So, in some ways lack of a conference committee may be a good thing.
What happens now, is that it makes pressure more difficult to apply from the new, open source government that we are building - we work best when we can see the effect of our petitions. Please call your rep. This week is the week we need to make sure the bills are reconciled properly and sent to Obama for signature. We will probably only know what bill is going to be signed, after it is signed.
Truth is stranger than fiction.