Overwhelming support for health-care reform at Rep. Pete Stark’s town hall meeting

My wife and I tried attending Rep. Pete Stark’s town hall meeting on health care, but the room had filled to capacity long before we arrived. The crowd was *overwhelmingly* in favor of health care reform and our representative’s support for it. Of the well several hundred people that couldn’t get in, I saw exactly two signs opposing reform (far fewer than were pushing for more reform, e.g. promoting a single-payer plan). The mood was friendly and non-confrontational, and I had lots of good conversations and discussions with my fellow citizens out on the lawn in spite of not getting into the meeting itself.

Here are some of my photos from the event, and the rally was also diary’d over at the Daily Kos.

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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.

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Gitmo shutdown

What with all the apoplexy about keeping Gitmo detainees in prison on US soil, I have to wonder… which sounds like a more secure place to house suspected terrorists?

  1. A US supermax prison
  2. A prison in, say, France or Jordan, outside of our jurisdiction or control
  3. Ninety miles off the Florida coast, in a country with whom we have no formal diplomatic relations, which as recently as 1980 emptied their jails of thousands of criminals and encouraged them to smuggle themselves into the US

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