Progressive group pledges withholding contributions to Dems until healthcare initiative with 'robust public option' signed into law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/24/2009, 11:30am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Coinciding with an internal Senate Democratic Caucus debate over health care reform that Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) described as only “slightly less raucous than the town hall meetings,” the non-affiliated progressive activist group Democrats.com has launched a petition campaign aimed at curtailing donations to official Democratic fundraising organizations [emphasis in original] until "the Democratic Congress passes --- and President Obama signs --- healthcare reform with a robust public option."

That "robust public option" is defined in the petition as being "based on Medicare rates, not negotiated rates," available "nation-wide, with no state opt-outs," "administered by Medicare, not a for-profit insurance company." and "available immediately."

The idea that the public option would be managed by a private insurance company has recently emerged in reports of Congressional negotiations aimed at merging various versions of the legislation passed by separate committees in the House and Senate, as noted by RAW STORY's John Byrne today.

The progressive activists campaign calls for signatories to respond to requests for donations from the three major Democratic campaign/fundraising organizations --- the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) --- with a http://www.democrats.com...rike-for-public-option\">link to the petition, instead of funds, until such legislation has been passed and signed by the President.

"Until then," the petition states, "I will only support individual Democrats who support single-payer Medicare for All (the 88 sponsors of HR 676)."

"We elected solid Democratic majorities in Congress and a Democratic President to fulfill Democratic promises of progressive change," the statement continues, "We did not elect Republican Senator Olympia Snowe to break those promises."

The complete short petition follows in full below...

I write to inform you that I am joining the Democratic Donor Strike against the DNC, DSCC and DCCC, which will last until the Democratic Congress passes - and President Obama signs - healthcare reform with a robust public option:

• based on Medicare rates, not negotiated rates
• nation-wide, with no state opt-outs
• administered by Medicare, not a for-profit insurance company
• available immediately

Until then, I will only support individual Democrats who support single-payer Medicare for All (the 88 sponsors of HR 676), or (at a minimum) pledge to vote against a bill without a strong public option. I will also support challengers who support Healthcare Not Warfare.

We elected solid Democratic majorities in Congress and a Democratic President to fulfill Democratic promises of progressive change. We did not elect Republican Senator Olympia Snowe to break those promises.

And if a small number of corporate-funded Democrats in the Senate and House stand in the way, it is the job of our leaders - Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama - to persuade those Democrats to stand with the party that elected them. Even 'fiscally conservative' Democrats have absolutely no excuse for voting against a robust public option, because CBO says it will save $110 billion.

So if I receive a fundraising email from the DNC, DSCC or DCCC, I will reply with a link to this petition. If I receive a fundraising call, I will tell the caller about this petition. If I receive a fundraising letter, I will return the envelope with a link to this petition:

http://www.democrats.com...strike-for-public-option

We desperately need real health reform, starting with a robust public option. Until you deliver on your promises of change, I will reserve my contributions for individual Democrats who will truly fight for what we all believe.

UPDATE 10/29/09:On 10/28/2009 Democrats.com announced that 21,651 donors had joined the strike for a robust public option.

Not a very impressive statistic, but then I suspect most Americans are unaware of the donor strike.