Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I kept an appointment we’d made through Organizing for America to see an aide to Jim Moran’s (D-VA) in order to discuss health care reform. When we walked into the Congressman’s office, one of his aides, a gentlemen by the name of Andy, was talking with another constituent, who, as it turned out, worked for Kaiser Permanente’s education and training branch. My wife and I agreed to join the discussion, and, for some time we listened to the Kaiser employee’s strong and enthusiastic pitch for the Congressman to support a meaningful public option.
When an opening developed in the conversation, we asked Andy whether the Congressman would support HR 676. Andy answered by saying that Jim had been a co-sponsor of John Conyers’ bill in previous years, but that presently Jim favored a strong public option, but intended to support whatever health care reform bill coming out of the Congress won the support of the Administration. My wife and I, along with the increasingly vocal support of the Kaiser employee, expressed our misgivings about and dissatisfaction with the bills that were being seriously considered by the Congress, as Andy grew increasingly restive. He tried to come back with a variant of “the perfect is the enemy of the good” position. But it became increasingly apparent that he did not know a great deal about the issues surrounding the legislation himself, or about any of the specifics of the bills under consideration, and that about all he did know was that Jim was firmly in back of the idea that he was going to vote for the President’s bill, whatever that turned out to be, and not develop an independent position of his own supporting a bill that might be more in line with the interests of his constituents. Whatever had motivated him earlier to co-sponsor Medicare for All, he had now put aside in favor of loyalty to the President.
Hearing this, I figured it was time to stop talking and deliver my message in another way, so I left Andy, and the Kaiser employee, with copies of three posts you can find here, here, and here, and my wife and I took our leave, after promising to attend the Congressman’s town hall meeting in Reston on August 25. My final impression was that Jim Moran will vote for anything the President agrees to, whether it is an improvement to the health insurance system or not. The way things are shaping up that probably mean a $1.5 trillion health insurance industry giveaway and probably means that I’ll be working for his defeat if there’s a primary in 2010.