My email to Sen. Feinstein on healthcare public option

My email to Senator Feinstein, asking her to support a public option for healthcare. (Links added for this post.)

Senator Feinstein,

I was dismayed to hear your name being lumped together with Republicans and a handful of Democrats who are trying to scuttle any health care bill that includes a viable public option. As you are no doubt aware, the recent high price tags cited by the CBO do not take into account any price savings that a public option would generate by negotiating lower drug prices, doctor fees, and hospital costs, and forcing private insurers to be more competitive. As former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich recently put it, “projecting the future costs of universal health care without including the public option is like predicting the number of people who will get sunburns this summer if nobody is allowed to buy sun lotion.” I also believe, as do many experts, that a strong public option, unhampered by restrictions inserted at the behest of the insurance industry, is the surest way to bring down the spiraling costs that are eating up the budget of every family, every business and every state in The Union.

I understand how comments can be misinterpreted, and how often nuanced positions can be blown into a for-or-against bullet point, and so I hope you can set the record straight on your position by answering a simple question: Do you support immediate implementation of a public health-care option, undiluted by being broken into co-operatives and unfettered by restrictions as to its ability to negotiate for lower prices from drug companies and health-care providers? If not, what are your reasons for withholding your support?

Thank you, and I look forward to your response.

Dr. Bradley Rhodes
Alameda, CA 94501

Update: TPM just received a clarification from Feinstein’s office on her position.