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Updated: 8 years 34 weeks ago

Governor Dean Speaks for Me

December 17, 2009 - 12:33pm

Yesterday, the media was filled with reports that Washington insiders called Governor Dean "irrational," he's throwing a "tantrum," and he's "irrelevant to the entire healthcare debate." D.C. insiders want to frame the fight for real healthcare reform as Howard Dean vs. the White House. But this isn't about Dr. Dean and it isn't about the White House.

It's about Americans vs. Insurance Companies and Governor Dean is working to make sure Americans win.

While none of these insider Democrats are willing to take on Joe Lieberman and demand real reform, Washington politicians are working hard to throw Dr. Dean under the bus.

What they don't seem to understand is that Governor Dean speaks for you and me.

CONTRIBUTE $30 TO GET HOWARD'S BACK AND FUEL OUR CAMPAIGN FOR REAL REFORM

If there is any question where the Governor stands, I've included the full text of his statement to the Washington Post below:

Health-care bill needs major improvement to be worth passing
By Governor Howard Dean, M.D. for the Washington Post - December 17, 2009

If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health-care bill. Any measure that expands private insurers' monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform. Real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these.

Real health-care reform is supposed to eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But the legislation allows insurance companies to charge older Americans up to three times as much as younger Americans, pricing them out of coverage. The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in. Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries -- in the range of $20 million a year -- and on return on equity for the company's shareholders. Few Americans will see any benefit until 2014, by which time premiums are likely to have doubled. In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG.

From the very beginning of this debate, progressives have argued that a public option or a Medicare buy-in would restore competition and hold the private health insurance industry accountable. Progressives understood that a public plan would give Americans real choices about what kind of system they wanted to be in and how they wanted to spend their money. Yet Washington has decided, once again, that the American people cannot be trusted to choose for themselves. Your money goes to insurers, whether or not you want it to.

To be clear, I'm not giving up on health-care reform. The legislation does have some good points, such as expanding Medicaid and permanently increasing the federal government's contribution to it. It invests critical dollars in public health, wellness and prevention programs; extends the life of the Medicare trust fund; and allows young Americans to stay on their parents' health-care plans until they turn 27. Small businesses struggling with rising health-care costs will receive a tax credit, and primary-care physicians will see increases in their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates.

Improvements can still be made in the Senate, and I hope that Senate Democrats will work on this bill as it moves to conference. If lawmakers are interested in ensuring that government affordability credits are spent on health-care benefits rather than insurers' salaries, they need to require state-based exchanges, which act as prudent purchasers and select only the most efficient insurers. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) offered this amendment during the Finance Committee markup, and Democrats should include it in the final legislation. A stripped-down version of the current bill that included these provisions would be worth passing.

In Washington, when major bills near final passage, an inside-the-Beltway mentality takes hold. Any bill becomes a victory. Clear thinking is thrown out the window for political calculus. In the heat of battle, decisions are being made that set an irreversible course for how future health reform is done. The result is legislation that has been crafted to get votes, not to reform health care.

I have worked for health-care reform all my political life. In my home state of Vermont we have accomplished universal health care for children under 18 and real insurance reform -- which not only bans discrimination against preexisting conditions but also prevents insurers from charging outrageous sums for policies as a way of keeping out high-risk people.

I know health reform when I see it, and there isn't much left in the Senate bill. I reluctantly conclude that, as it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of America.

Insiders attack Governor Dean because they are afraid of him and the power we represent. Now is the time to remind them why and back him up with the resources to lead the fight for real reform.

GOVERNOR DEAN SPEAKS FOR ME -- CONTRIBUTE TO GET HOWARD'S BACK RIGHT NOW

Thank you for everything you do,

-Charles

Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
Democracy for America

Categories: Progressive News

No Option? No Mandate!

December 16, 2009 - 12:24pm

I'll get straight to the point.

If Democrats remove the choice of a public option, they can't force Americans to buy health insurance.

Here's the deal, Senate leaders are all over Washington claiming they finally have a healthcare reform bill they can pass, as long as they remove the public option. After all, they say, even without a public option, the bill still "covers 30 million more Americans." The problem is that's not really true.

What they are actually talking about is something called the "individual mandate." That's a section of the law that requires every single American buy health insurance or break the law and face penalties and fines. So, the bill doesn't actually "cover" 30 million more Americans -- instead it makes them criminals if they don't buy insurance from the same companies that got us into this mess.

A public option would have provided the competition needed to drive down costs and improve coverage. It would have kept insurance companies honest by providing an affordable alternative Americans can trust. That's why, without a public option, this bill is almost a trillion dollar taxpayer giveaway to insurance companies.

We must act fast. Both Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic Senators need to hear from you. Please stop whatever else you are doing and make the calls right now.

Senator Harry Reid
DC: (202) 224-3542

Carson City: (775) 882-7343
Las Vegas: (702) 388-5020
Reno: (775) 686-5750

Call your Democratic Senator too -- Senate Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 

REPORT YOUR CALL AND TELL US HOW IT WENT


Without the choice of a public option, forcing Americans to buy health insurance isn't just bad policy, it's political disaster for Democrats -- a ticking time-bomb for years to come.

Does anyone think Republicans won't use this against Democrats in 2010?

What about in 2014 after the mandate goes into effect and the press reports all the horror stories of Americans forced to choose between paying their monthly health insurance bill to Aetna or paying rent?

The mandate is toxic and Democrats will own it. By the 2016 presidential election, is there any wonder how this will play out for Democrats?

CALL SENATOR HARRY REID NOW AT (202) 224-3542 THEN REPORT YOUR CALL HERE

The message is simple: No public option? No Mandate!

Thank you for everything you do,

-Jim

Jim Dean, Chair
Democracy for America

Categories: Progressive News

The Perfect Gift for Someone You Know

December 14, 2009 - 2:00pm

I bet you know someone who wants to work on a campaign next year. Maybe they are already a super volunteer or they want to get a job as paid staff? Maybe even this person is you?

If so, I've got the perfect gift.

We have dozens of overstock training manuals from our 2009 training season. We need to clear them out to make room for next year's manuals for our 2010 schedule. These 180-page books are full of everything you need to know to run a winning grassroots campaign. That's why, every attendee of a DFA Campaign Academy weekend gets their own to keep to use again and again.

This holiday season, we're making our overstock training manuals available to everyone for a special discount.


Click here to order one today for a special contribution rate of $25


Our training manual will show the activist in your family:

  • How to determine exactly how many votes a campaign will need to win
  • Tips about making successful fundraising or volunteer asks
  • How to build and grow an effective organization from scratch
  • Best practices for writing emails and organizing online
  • Tactics for holding your elected officials accountable on progressive issues

And that's just the first few chapters!

We'll ship your manual free of charge as soon as you make your order to ensure it arrives in time for the holidays.

We only have a limited number of these books available so order yours now

And of course don't forget, we have dozens of our online Night School trainings available on DVD. You can browse our extensive selection covering everything from in-depth field planning to fundraising to leveraging online media and beyond.

Night School on DVD is the perfect gift for any activist -- get it in time for the holidays!

Have a happy and healthy holidays!

Thank you for everything you do,

-Matt

Matt Blizek, Training Director
Democracy for America

P.S. We're still planning out our 2010 Campaign Academy schedule -- you can put in an application to help host one in your town here.

Categories: Progressive News

Annise Parker for Houston

December 8, 2009 - 4:04pm
There are only a few days left before Election Day in Houston. This is your last chance to get involved and make a difference in a campaign that will affect all of Texas.

The choice was clear from the beginning. One candidate stood out in the mayoral race and proved to be a strong progressive and a grassroots leader.

That's why I'm proud to announce Democracy for America's endorsement of Annise Parker for Mayor.


Annise knows Houston is facing tough times, but she has the experience to tackle these problems head-on and lead the city through the challenging times ahead. She's saved taxpayers millions of dollars as City Controller -- rooting out waste and fraud and reinvesting in after-school programs, public safety and new jobs.



VOLUNTEER, CONTRIBUTE AND HELP GET OUT THE VOTE

Looking forward, no one has a plan for Houston like Annise. She knows the best way to lead Houston out of the recession is to build a new energy economy for the city. And her work to "Hire Houston First" will make sure that new jobs go to local families first.

And no one's run a grassroots campaign like hers, either. A neighborhood activist herself, her campaign puts people first and has built a coalition of progressives across the city.

Annise's experience and vision made it an easy choice for endorsement, but it's still going to take hard work to get across the finish line this week. That why we need to help Annise Parker any way we can in these final days.

HELP ELECT ANNISE PARKER THE NEXT MAYOR OF HOUSTON

Working together for this final push, we'll put Annise over the top this weekend.



Thank you for everything you do.

-Jim

Jim Dean, Chair
Democracy for America
Categories: Progressive News

Get It Right

December 7, 2009 - 2:55pm

President Obama gave Senate Democrats a healthcare "pep talk" at the Capitol this weekend. He also gave them a clear message: Get it done.

But Americans have something to add to the President's message: Get it right.

Real healthcare reform must include the choice of a public option. But Insurance Industry Democrats are working on a new "compromise" to destroy the public option.

We're done negotiating. The public option in the current Senate bill is our final compromise. It's time Senate Democrats stop negotiating with defeat and reject all amendments that weaken the public option.

Call your Senators right now and make sure they get the message: No triggers. No co-ops. No amendments that weaken the public option.

Senate switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Click here to report your call: DemocracyForAmerica.com/GetItRight

It doesn't matter if you've called before or if your Senators are Republicans or Insurance Industry Democrats. Even big insurance sell-outs need to get our message. Whether it takes just one call or all of us working together, when they get calls supporting a public option it weakens their commitment to speak out or stand up against us.

And even if your Senators are public option champions, you need to call today. Healthcare Heroes like Senators Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown need to know we're depending on them to not back down.

Call your Senators today and tell them where you stand:

  • America stands with Healthcare Heroes who fight for a public option, not Insurance Industry Senators who care more about the insurance interests who fund their campaigns than providing every American real healthcare reform.
  • We're done negotiating. Enough is enough. The public option in the current Senate bill is our final compromise.

TELL US HOW YOUR CALL WENT

Don't let a handful of Insurance Industry Democrats screw this up. Call your Senators today.

Thank you for everything you do,

-Charles

Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
Democracy for America

P.S. If you haven't already, be sure to sign our petition demanding Senate Democrats reject any further amendments that weaken the public option: DemocracyForAmerica.com/EnoughIsEnough

Categories: Progressive News

Stop Negotiating with Defeat

December 7, 2009 - 2:42pm

Reports from The Hill in Washington D.C. are that Democratic Senators are preparing to offer a "compromise" amendment to the healthcare bill as soon as next week that would destroy the public option.

It's likely to include every one of the insurance industry's greatest hits -- a trigger, state-based co-ops, and could even replace the already bad Opt-Out clause with an even worse one that would require states that want a public option to Opt-In instead.

And what should come as no surprise to anyone, they're likely to still call this new sell-out to the insurance industry a "public option."

No matter what they call it, enough is enough. It's time to stop negotiating with defeat and reject all amendments which weaken the public option.

CALL ON SENATORS TO SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND REJECT ALL AMENDMENTS WHICH WEAKEN THE PUBLIC OPTION

Some Healthcare Heroes have already decided whose side they're on. Speaking for the American people, here's what Senator Sherrod Brown said about these last-minute attempts to kill real reform:

"We've compromised the public option three times -- maybe four depending on how you define it -- and this bill's not going to continue to become more pro-insurance-company. End of story."

Senators Bernie Sanders and Roland Burris have made similar statements, but these three Senators can't stand alone. They need us to back them up. Every member of the Democratic Caucus needs to know where we stand.

America stands with Healthcare Heroes who fight for a public option, not Insurance Industry Senators who care more about the insurance interests who fund their campaigns than providing every American real healthcare reform.

We're done negotiating. Enough is enough. The public option in the current Senate bill is our final compromise.

ADD YOUR NAME RIGHT NOW

Don't sit these final weeks out no matter how frustrated you are with Democrats in Congress.

We've worked too hard -- invested too much -- to let them screw this up.

Make sure your voice gets heard. Please add your name right now.

Thank you for everything you do,

-Charles


Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
Democracy for America

Categories: Progressive News

Will Democrats Vote in 2010?

December 1, 2009 - 5:14pm

Listening to the pundits these days, one might think that 2010 is going to be tough for Democrats.  The truth is that we are poised for victory all across the country next year, but it's going to take hard work and skilled organizers to make sure Democrats get out and vote.

That's why DFA is gearing up to launch our biggest year of campaign trainings ever.  Our 2-day Campaign Academies are designed to super-charge a local progressive community by giving hundreds of activists the skills to beat any Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin wannabes who try to run in their town.

Apply to host a DFA Campaign Academy!
http://www.democracyforamerica.com/trainingrequest

Do you want to bring one of these events to your community?  We are currently scheduling dozens of Campaign Academies for 2010 and are recruiting dedicated teams of volunteers to help us organize these events.

A DFA Campaign Academy brings some of the best political talent in the country to your community.  11,141 progressives have been empowered by DFA training over the last five years.  We've organized 109 trainings in cities large and small across the country.

Is yours next? Apply today:
http://www.democracyforamerica.com/trainingrequest

Hosting a DFA training is a perfect project for your local DFA group or Democratic organization.  We'll be announcing our first round of campaign trainings in January so stay tuned to hear about a training in your area. 

Categories: Progressive News

1 Turncoat Senator vs. 410,649 Americans

November 19, 2009 - 3:06pm

First, the good news: Senator Harry Reid has finally presented the text of the merged Senate bill and started procedures to pass the first set of votes as soon as this weekend. The public option is in the bill as promised and, even better, it has not been further weakened—instead it's almost the exact same as the version passed by the late Senator Ted Kennedy's H.E.L.P. Committee earlier this year. 


The bad news is that it only takes one Senator from the Democratic Caucus to support a Republican filibuster and kill the whole bill. To make it worse, Republicans are expected to filibuster the bill at every step in the processes so there will be many chances for betrayal by a turncoat in the Democratic Caucus.



Today's the day we need to deliver our message loud and clear.

If ANY member of the Democratic Caucus joins a Republican filibuster of healthcare reform with a public option, the Caucus must immediately strip that Senator of all Committee Chairmanships.

Since we launched this campaign just three weeks ago, MoveOn members have joined us in demanding accountability. Now, we're merging our campaign with signatures gathered by our friends at CREDO Action and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee too and together we're ready to deliver signatures for 410,649 Americans today. 


SIGN UP TO DELIVER PETITIONS TO YOUR SENATOR

It was only three months ago when the public option was declared dead and we were all told to accept defeat.

Now, we're only weeks away from finishing what we started on March 25, when my brother Howard and I launched the Stand with Dr. Dean campaign. We stood up to draw a line in the sand, demanding inclusion of a public option in any healthcare bill passed this year and you stood with us.

You got the public option this far; now we need to bring it home to win.

We can't let one turncoat Senator kill the bill. Take the time out of your day—over your lunch break—on your way home from work—tomorrow on your way to work—as soon as you can—and deliver the signatures to your Senators.

SIGN UP TO DELIVER NOW

I'm counting on you. Because, when we work together, we're unstoppable.

Jim Dean, Chair

Democracy for America

Categories: Progressive News

Send a message they can't miss

November 17, 2009 - 12:00pm

Passing healthcare reform in the House of Representatives a week ago came at a high price to women. While the overall bill is the largest expansion of women's access to healthcare services in history, there is one area in which the bill took a giant leap backwards: reproductive rights. 



That's because right before the House voted on the entire bill, they first passed an amendment that dramatically expanded the ban on federal funding of abortion services. The amendment bans even private for-profit insurers from covering abortion as a part of women's reproductive healthcare for all plans in the insurance exchange created by the healthcare bill. 



Millions of women will be affected if it remains in the final bill that goes to the President's desk. 



And to make it worse -- 20 of the 64 Democrats who joined with Republicans to pass this amendment were previously pro-choice. All 20 are men who ran on and have a record of casting pro-choice votes in the past. These Democrats were elected by voters who never expected their representative would take America back to an era of coat hangers and back alley abortions. 



We're joining with CREDO Action to send them a message: reconsider your vote and demand Congressional leadership strip the ban from the final bill before it comes back to the House for the final vote. 



To make sure this is one message these men won't miss, we're not stopping there. CREDO Action will send these Reps a coat hanger for every person who signs the petition.


SIGN THE PETITION -- AND SEND A COAT HANGER NOW

We're not being subtle and we're not mincing words. If the ban isn't stripped out in merging negotiations between the House and Senate bills during the conference process, then the final bill would take reproductive rights back to the dark ages.

Whether you're pro-choice or not, it's legal. So, it's up to all us to make sure it's safe. Join CREDO Action's campaign today and make sure these formerly pro-choice Democrats get the message.

Categories: Progressive News