Supporting Obama's Push For a Public Health Option is AlterNet's Top Campaign of the Week
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I -- A Public Health Care Option Is Within Reach! It’s Time For Americans to Step Up
On May 28, President Barack Obama told volunteers from Organizing For America that a public health care option needed to happen sooner than later. If the necessary legislation isn’t pushed through this summer, he warned, it will not happen at all during his presidency.
"We need health care reform legislation that works, that preserves what works about health care, that fixes the things that are broken," Obama said. "And I think the status quo is unacceptable."
Creating a viable public option is more than a political necessity, the president added. It is a symbolic gesture to Americans who voted for change in November.
"This is our big chance to prove that the movement that started during the campaign isn't over, we are just getting started," Obama said. "The election in November -- that didn't bring about change, that just gave us the opportunity for change. So now we are really going to have to remobilize. We had a chance to catch our breath after the election. We got a lot of things done in the first four months. But health care, that's a big push."
Continuing to make good on his campaign promise, Obama stood strong Monday in his address to the American Medical Association. In a speech directed toward members of the nation’s largest community of physicians, he targeted the tangled bureaucracy that prevents millions of Americans from gaining access to reasonably priced health care. He also attempted to quell concerns about forceful government involvement and cuts in doctors' pay.
"I understand that you are concerned that today's Medicare rates will be applied broadly in a way that means our cost savings are coming off your backs," Obama said. "These are legitimate concerns, but ones, I believe, that can be overcome."
He added, "What we seek is more stability and a health care system on a sound financial footing. And these reforms need to take place regardless of what happens with a public option."
Obama’s comments are an indication that a remedy to our broken health care system is within reach. But it’s also up to us to make sure the issue gets all of the attention it deserves. That’s why MoveOn.org's efforts to support a public health insurance option is our top Take Action campaign of the week. Tell your senators and representatives that a public health option is absolutely necessary. You can do it here.
Below are the rest of our Take Action campaigns for this week.
II -- Free Imprisoned Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee
Laura Ling and Euna Lee, two American journalists reporting from the China/North Korea border, have been sentenced to 12 years in a labor prison for what North Korean authorities called a "grave crime they committed against the Korean nation."
The legal process surrounding the women’s sentencing was a flagrant violation of due process, Amnesty International has said: "No access to lawyers, no due process, no transparency: the North Korean judicial and penal systems are more instruments of suppression than of justice," said Roseann Rife, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific deputy director.
In addition to accomplished journalists, Ling and Lee are sisters, friends, mothers and daughters to many. Their sentence is outrageous and should not be tolerated. Join thousands of others who have signed a petition urging North Korea to release them.
III -- Save California's State Parks
On July 1, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is planning to slice the state parks budget in half. Then, in 12 months, he's looking to eliminate funding for state parks altogether. This means that 220 state parks will shut down -- 80 percent of California's entire system.