RedCrossNurseLevee-lovin’, tree-huggin’ as ever

As our regular readers will have noticed, we’ve lately been focusing most of our energies on helping the campaign for health care reform. This is part of our mission: since Katrina we’ve been pushing Congress and the White House for more generous funding for social services such as medicine, housing, and education for the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and particularly the renovation and reopening of Charity Hospital in New Orleans. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten the fragile wetlands that want care and feeding, or the chronic need for robust storm protection and flood prevention infrastructure. But the burning issue of the day is health care reform. The same forces arrayed against expansion of health coverage are those voting against infrastructure spending (remember the Stimulus fight?) and, generally, those most resistant to winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (See former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski talking about Afghanistan with Rachel Maddow.)

As noted in our recent post “Does Believing in Social Contract Make Us Socialists?”,

Sometimes we worry that we are working on too many fronts to be effective; at other times we feel we’re developing a sort of unified field theory of public works, social services, environmental protection, and peace-mongering. . . . This whole venture—this thing we call Levees Not War—grew out of a “Social Contract” project, an argument for a repair of the social safety net and a more equitable distribution of wealth. . . . These ideas, these values, are at the core of our mission.

Rest assured, our levee-lovin’, tree-huggin’, peace-mongering ways continue undiminished. Meanwhile we’re closely reading to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s Affordable Health Choices Act and urging its committee members to blow Max Baucus off the tube and speak up for their own committee’s superior reform bill. They should be proud of their work. Senator Kennedy sure was.

work-208x300It only takes a minute to call.

Please, join us in phoning senators and urging them to call press conferences and change the focus to the HELP Committee’s Affordable Health Choices Act, which does include a strong public option, expands coverage to about 97 percent of Americans, prohibits discrimination based on health status (don’t worry about “pre-existing conditions”), and is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost less than $615 billion over 10 years (or about $1.3 trillion including subsidies to the poor). See Paul Krugman’s column “HELP Is on the Way,” and his critique of the Baucus plan here.

The Democrats on the HELP committee are chairman Tom Harkin, Jeff Bingaman, Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, Chris Dodd, Al Franken, Kay Hagan, Jeff Merkley, Barbara Mikulski, Patty Murray, Jack Reed, and Bernard Sanders (Independent).