Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hey, Judd Gregg! How 'bout a public health insurance option?

August 20, 2009: Over three dozen supporters took a stand for real health insurance reform outside of Judd Gregg's health care forum at the Red Hook Brewery. A lone counter-protester showed up to oppose President Obama's plan, but spent the entire time texting on his phone. Below: After our visibility we dropped by Senator Gregg's Portsmouth office to deliver our prescriptions for real health care reform.

More than three dozen volunteers and advocates gathered at the Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth on Thursday to stand up for health care reform during Senator Judd Gregg's meeting with members of the Portsmouth Rotary Club (August 20). Although he endorses President Obama's goal to bring skyrocketing health care costs under control, Senator Gregg is strongly opposed to creating a government-administered non-profit plan to provide fair competition for the private insurance industry and expand affordable options for working families and the uninsured.

Although he debunked claims that proposed legislation authorizes the creation of "death panels" to pull the plug on grandma, in the past Senator Gregg has resorted to standard-issue GOP talking points to put the scare into Granite Staters who are likely to benefit from the President's plan for health insurance reform. (In a May 28 OpEd in the Concord Monitor, Gregg stated that "the proposals that have been put forward to move to a public plan, or essentially a nationalization of health care in this country, will lead to a Washington bureaucrat being inserted between you and your doctor, long delays in delivery of care and the likelihood of rationing." Or, you know, maybe not.)

At the Rotary Club meeting, Gregg pitched a policy solution that would limit legal recourse for medical malpractice, create incentives for disease prevention, and reward healthy lifestyles - without mentioning that a bi-partisan bill he cosponsored would require employers and individuals to pay into the private health insurance system. Our uneventful visibility was covered by WMUR-TV, the Portsmouth Herald, and the Concord Monitor. Oh yeah, there was one lone anti-Obama protester there, too.

After the visibility, a small group of volunteers paid a drop-in visit to Senator Gregg's Portsmouth office to deliver a "prescription pad" of 30 supporters' personal Rx for real health care reform (see photo) and a copy of a full-page newspaper advertisement featuring the names of 180 NH small business owners who support health insurance reform that includes a public plan option. The noon-time action was organized by Change That Works and the Seacoast for Change Grassroots Network.