By Shavon Arline, NAACP Health Care Programs Director
January has been a rough month for those of us who care about meaningful health care reform. Some cynics and beltway insiders have said that we have missed our window of opportunity; that Congress will now shift its focus on to other priorities. But this sort of attitude is not only wrong-headed, it is downright undemocratic. The pundits and beltway analysts don't decide what is on the agenda-we the people decide!!!
The NAACP will continue to push ahead for comprehensive health care for all Americans, even as these nay-sayers work to prevent it from happening this year. But we cannot do it alone. Congress needs to hear from you.
This week we need all NAACP members and supporters to make their voices heard. We have set up a toll free number for you to directly call your Member of Congress. Here's what you can do:
Call 1-866-783-2462 and ask to be connected to your Member of Congress.
Tell your Member of Congress to finish the job this year. We expect a health care reform bill that mirrors the language passed by the House of Representatives, a bill that provides for:
1. Quality, affordable health care, in reach of low- and middle-income families;
2. Accountability for insurance companies, with strong regulations and consumer protections; and
3. The competition provided by a public option.
Health care reform is not only possible this year, it is crucial. Unless we pass a strong health care reform bill, the color of your skin, your ethnic background, and where you live will continue to influence your access to health care, as well as the quality and cost of your care. These are facts that cannot be simply "tabled" for political expediency.