Liberals Pressing Obama On Public Option

By Nitya

Sep 3, 2009 3:30pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Leading liberal groups are ratcheting up pressure on President Obama to maintain his support for the public option — using some of Obama’s own words. Today, MoveOn.org and the Progressive Change Coalition Campaign launched petition drives to urge the White House to keep the public option as part of the health care plan it’s pushing Congress to pass. “The worst thing would be to pass a big reform bill that doesn't really change things,” MoveOn.org’s executive director, Justin Ruben, wrote his members in an e-mail. “There's only one thing that's really going to cut costs, provide real security and peace of mind to the millions of Americans who are suffering, and take on the big insurance companies who have complete control of our system. That is the public health insurance option. During his campaign, President Obama often said that he believed that change had to come from the bottom up — not from the top down.” The Progressive Change Coalition Campaign is asking former Obama campaign workers and volunteers to sign a petition urging the president to hold firm on a public option. “We'll make sure the White House gets our message. In addition to delivering the signatures and personal notes from the petition page, we're planning an ad featuring the voices of those who sign,” the group wrote in an e-mail to members. The drives are an indication of the liberal backlash the president is likely to face if — as expected — his list of demands next week does not include a public option. For MoveOn.org, the letter-writing campaign comes a day after a bizarre, violent incident at one of the group’s vigils in California, where a 65-year old opponent of Democratic reform proposals had his finger bitten off.  UPDATE: Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent is reporting that a group of House liberals today sent a letter to President Obama reiterating their commitment to vote against any health care bill that doesn’t include a public option. “Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, a public option built on the Medicare provide system and with reimbursement based on Mediare rates — not negotiated rate — is unacceptable,” reads the letter, signed by Rep. Lynn Woolsey and Rep. Raul Grijalva, the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “A health reform bill without a robust public option will not achieve the health reform this country so desperately needs. . . . We cannot vote for anything less.” 

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