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bill

77% of Americans want a public option? yeah right, maybe according to the latest Pelosi Media poll. Kyl is tops as far as I'm concerned.

I love how you deceivingly construct your letter -- agree with the public option or be an obstructionist. Well, seems like Kyl has a bunch of ideas that are getting shot down along party lines. Let's not forget that the Democrats have a 13-10 majority in the Finance Committee. When they flatly refuse to support Republican amendments, who's obstructing whom? With 60 votes, you'd think the Public Option would be a sure thing.

It isn't a sure thing because a fair amount of Democrats don't even support it. Yet, you seem to blame the principled Republicans in the Senate, like Jon Kyl, who don't support a public option or a co-op. Why not turn your focus on the moderate Democrats who don't support it -- or is them not supporting a public option being bi-partisan? Well, it'd be obstruction to you.

The only thing bi-partisan we have right now is opposition to the public option. Why not embrace that and work from there? The whole crux of your letter is,

"I'm on the far left, come all the way into my camp and then you're bi-partisan."

Seems like you're in for a disappointment.

Jeff Mariotte

Actually, I don't refer to things like the non-existent Pelosi Media poll because I prefer to make my arguments based on the facts.

Jon Kyl, however, doesn't, as in the second paragraph of the response I got:

"The U.S. health care system is the best in the world, spurring advancements in new medical treatments and technologies.  Such innovation helps physicians treat and prevent diseases better than ever before, eradicates once fatal epidemics, and helps Americans lead longer, healthier lives."

Our doctors may be the best in the world, but our health care system demonstrably is not, Sen. Kyl.

And here, Bill, is a recent ABC News/WAshington Post poll that directly asks about the public option (http://pollingreport.com/health.htm):

"Would you support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans?" If oppose/unsure: "What if this government-sponsored plan was available only to people who cannot get health insurance from a private insurer? In that case, would you support or oppose it?"
Combined responses to both questions:

      Support
at First
55%

Support if
Only for Those
Who Cannot
Get Private
Insurance
21%

Oppose  24%       
9/10-12/09

That appears to me to come out to 76% in favor of a public option, depending on circumstance, with only 24% flatly opposed.  And here's another, from CBS News:

"Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans?"

      Favor Oppose Unsure         % % %      
ALL

68 27 5      
Speech watchers

70 25 5     

That 77% figure might have been from an older poll, but these numbers are still in that ballpark--a vast majority support a public option, a very slim minority oppose it.  It's not a far-left idea, it's as mainstream as they get.  So Bill, if you want to come back and argue against a public option--tell us why it hurts people instead of helping them--that's great, glad to have you.  But you've got to use some facts in your argument, not just name-calling. And, by the way--Kyl and his friends are being obstructionist, because they are trying to prevent reform that Americans need.  And the reason I wrote to Kyl, and not to a Democrat, is that I live in Arizona.  Simple enough?

Jeff Mariotte

A new NYT/CBS News poll just out.

Question #57 asks: "Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans?"

Favor, 65%, Oppose 26%, Don't Know/NA 9%.  Looks like the public option remains pretty popular across the board.  And its support is up since the end of August.

http://documents.nytimes.com/new-york-times-cbs-news-poll-confusion-over-health-care-tepid-support-for-war#p=15

Jeff Mariotte

Interestingly, in the details of the above poll, people were asked about party affiliation in connection with their opinion of a public option. Even Republicans support it by a plurality, if not a majority. The stats among Dems are 81% for/12% opposed, among independents 61%/30%, and among Reps 47%/42%.

So how is this a far-left proposal, again?

Shiai

For anyone interested in writing to members of Congress (or the President), I'd recommend that you save yourself the cost of a stamp and don't bother with snail mail. Ever since the anthrax attack of 2001, all mail to Federal officials is now routed to a facility in Toledo, Ohio, where it is thoroughly examined. This procedure takes up to three months, so anything you send now might not reach the intended party until Christmastime.

Also, although Email is obviously far more convenient, you also have no guarantee that your letter will be read in full, rather than just quickly scanned by some office intern, who may or may not pass it along to the Congressman. Often, they'll just note on which side of an issue you stand, and they'll lump you in to an informal For/Against poll.

For something such as this (and for any issue you feel strongly about, really), the best way to transmit your letter is often via fax. As comedian/activist Hal Sparks says, the trees have to take a hit on this one. As members of Congress really receive so few actual relevant physical letters these days, there's a greater chance that your fax will be placed on their desk than if you send an Email.

If their website doesn't list a fax number, call their office and ask for it.

Jeff Mariotte

Excellent advice, Shiai. Thanks!

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