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This is big!  As reported by Montana Maven on firedoglake, Montana Maven: Rancor Among the Ranks in Montana Democratic Central Committees, under pressure from Montana Democrats, Sen. Baucus told them in a call last week that he supports the public option.

From the Coalition of the United Montana Democratic Central Committees:

FOLLOWING RANCOR AMONG THE RANKS, BAUCUS ASSURES MONTANA CONSTITUENTS:

"I WANT A PUBLIC OPTION TOO"

Last Monday night (8/17), in an unprecedented conference call to Montana Democratic central committee chairs, the powerful leader of the Senate Finance Committee told his strongest supporters that he supported a public option.

While discussing the obstacles to getting a public option through the Senate, he assured his forty listeners, "I want a public option too!"

The conference call was groundbreaking in that none of the recipients could ever remember this kind of call ever happening before. The teleconference was set up seemingly in reaction to rising discontent among the local Democratic leaders with the Senator's failure to take a clear position on the issue.

From the press release:

The discussion, which became contentious and rancorous at times, also touched upon the wisdom of creating insurance cooperatives as an alternative to a public option.

When several of the county chairs objected, commenting that they did not trust the health insurance companies to police themselves and limit their outrageous corporate profits, Baucus commented, "Neither do I."

In the aftermath of the teleconference, a coalition of eighteen Montana counties in the Senator's home state decided to move forward with their plan to issue a Unified Statement accompanied by a joint press release. The statement sends a loud and clear message to their Senator: Any health care reform package coming out of his Senate Finance Committee must contain, at a minimum, a provision for a strong public option.

The action is a show of unity not previously seen in Montana political history. The statement asserts, "Here in Montana, the need for real health care reform could not be greater. Families, small business, and small ranches and farms are suffering and being crushed by the rising cost of health care. Thousands of Montanans are uninsured, and many more are losing their homes, businesses and ranches due to
exorbitant medical bills."

snip

Calling themselves the Coalition of the United Montana Democratic Central Committees, the group's statement announces it has "established a position in support of a strong public option as an essential element in health care reform." In specifying the necessary components needed for such a public option, they list:

• National Coverage
• Availability to all Americans
• Portability, which includes maintaining coverage even if one loses his or her job
• No exclusions for preexisting conditions, denial of coverage if one gets ill, or develops catastrophic costs
• Publicly run and administered with full transparency and accountability to congress
• No trigger

Grass roots Democrats are putting on the pressure everywhere!  Thank you Coalition of the United Montana Democratic Central Committees.

Update I: Don't forget to give what you can to Standing Up For The Public Option

Right now, it's up to 6,488 Supporters and $389,739

Democratic members of Congress need to understand that a healthcare reform bill with a Public Option is simply not an option-- it's a requirement. The congressmembers on this list have said in no uncertain terms that they will not vote for a bill without a public option all the way through Conference. That takes courage, and we need to show them how much we appreciate them for doing so. Please make a contribution-- and thanks for everything else you're doing for the public option.

Standing Up For The Public Option

And a thank you to Montana Maven and her fellow Montana Democrats for putting pressure on Sen. Baucus.

Originally posted to TomP on Sun Aug 23, 2009 at 05:48 PM PDT.

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