Grass-roots group rallies support for public option health care

Friday, October 2, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 8:51 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 2, 2009

COLUMBIA — Everybody has a health care story to tell, but those might need to reach the elected representatives to make sure the public option doesn't get defeated.

That's what Grass Roots Organizing asked its supporters and community members to ensure. The group asked them to call and write to their representatives to rally support for the public option during its meeting Thursday in Columbia's Labor Temple.

"We are fired up and can't take it no more," said Fenny Dorsey, an organizer of Grass Roots Organizing. "Without public option people are in trouble."

Grass Roots Organizing is a social justice organization based in Mexico, Mo. One of its campaigns this year, "Fix our Healthcare," is working to gather support for the public option in the health care reform bill. It is working with Health Care for America Now  at the national level.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee turned down two Democratic proposals to create a government insurance plan that would compete with private insurers. The committee chairman, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., voted against both proposals.

Meeting attendees booed at the mention of Baucus' name in a short recap of events at Capitol Hill. Proponents of the public option say it will lower prices and ensure better benefits, while opponents fear the government would control most of the health care industry.

Stacy Applebee, 33, is a student at Moberly Area Community College and a part-time worker. She can't afford an insurance plan. After two years of pushing back the need to see a doctor for an ailment, she finally got medication through a women's care program. Applebee, a Mexico resident and a mother of three children, feels close to the public option debate.

"People are dying without care every day," she said. "We can't wait anymore."

Organizers proposed two ways to be an active watchdog for the public option. One way was to follow the money.

"Sen. Baucus gets $600,000 from the insurance industry by a conservative estimate," said Lily Tinker Fortel, an organizer for Grass Roots Organizing. "We pay the salaries of the representatives and senators, we hire them and fire them. We still have the vote." 

Organizers of the meeting also asked the members to be more aware of the insurance industry. "They make money by denying people care," Tinker Fortel said.

The group will organize a rally against health insurance companies as part of a national day of action. The rally does not have a set location yet but will be in Columbia on Tuesday. Cigna, WellPoint and United Health insurance companies are the focus of the rallies at the national level. According to the company, one in nine Americans receives their medical coverage through WellPoint's affiliated health plans.

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Ray Shapiro October 2, 2009 | 1:05 a.m.

GRO's worse at bridge building then I am.
Public Option doesn't stand a chance.
And in this case, the right organization is involved for the defeat of such an inappropriate governmental attempt to address those who believe that insurance is the only answer to improving the access, delivery and quality of America's health.
("Stacy Applebee, 33, is a student at Moberly Area Community College and a part-time worker. She can't afford an insurance plan. After two years of pushing back the need to see a doctor for an ailment, she finally got medication through a women's care program.")
After 2 years. And you lived? What took you so long?
Alternative "based on one's ability to pay" nonprofit agencies and special pharmaceutical company programs have existed for decades. Lo and behold, you finally realized that health care is available, outside of an insurance policy. Imagine that. Life without an insurance policy.
IMHO, we need to be bringing costs down by allowing across state purchases, pumping support into the non-profit sector, improving Medicare and Medicaid for the elderly, poor and disabled, doing a better job with Public Health Education, getting people off of substance abuse lifestyles, bringing down the costs of medical supplies and equipment manufacturing, focusing on generic prescriptions, working with medical schools to facilitate an increase in general family practitioners and other health care professionals and bringing down the costs of risk-management for the health care industry.
Government should be working with the health care professionals and the American public and guide the free market. Not over mandate it by installing a bigger bureaucracy and federal payroll under the guise of "health care for all."
America's tier approach to health care all ready supplies that. There's plenty room for improvement, but we are missing some important opportunities if we're blind sided by the progressive lefts attempt of socialized, GOVERNMENT CONTROLLED health care for every citizen, and then some.
GRO might believe that they once again have their hearts in the right place, but as usual they are wrong in their approach to undefined problems.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 2, 2009 | 4:41 a.m.

Well ray shapiro why don't you just saddle up the ponies and head on down to one of their meetings to try and explain it all to them. I am sure they are open enough to hear all sides of an issue.

Mean while you can book your flight to Washington and try to get a spot on the Floor of Congress to explain your views there or set up a small tent on the Capitol Lawn and present your views to all who will listen as they walk by.

You sound like you have great ideas and that they just might work but sitting here in little ole Columbia and posting in the middle of the night is just not some kinda Change We Can All Believe In.

Ya gotta get active out there and get those important emailing lists that you can send your messages to the ones that really make a difference outside of Columbia because it all falls as deaf ears around here as you and I both know from past experience.


(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 2, 2009 | 4:24 p.m.

If GRO reads articles about their group, my comment and the other personal and printed communications I have made do not fall on deaf ears.
It's in their ballpark now.

(Report Comment)

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