As you can see we had a decent mix of people show up to the parents caucus at the Hard Rock Cafe. Thank you to those of you who made the trek!
From left to right starting in the front row, they were “bakerbaker” and her adorable son Matthew, Elisa, Daily Kos’s “sober mom,” Daily Kos’s “Blue Jersey Mom,” Kossack Bill, MOMocrats’s Stephanie, Pennsylvania State Rep. Mark Cohen — yes, we even had a state rep there! — “Stephanie’s husband” Trey and the rest of the ladies were from MOMocrats as well. They were (from left to right) Cynthia, Julie and Glennia. If you have not checked out MOMocrats, please do. They do good work over there.
I made sure to get another photo of fellow MTer Kat — aka “bakerbaker” — as she helped select the venue for the event and even drove me to and from my hotel. Many thanks, chica!
So what did we talk about? Health insurance reform, of course. After introductions, I opened up the discussion with how frustrated and helpless I feel watching and reading coverage of those town hall meetings, in which legislators are being shouted down by protesters for discussing the topic.
We covered a lot of ground, but agreed that it was not worth responding to every critic of healthcare reform on the comments section of blogs. Actually, we thought the way the president and Democrats were playing defense on this issue was bad. We need to get on the offense with five talking points. MoveOn.org, by the way, is doing a good job circulating a list of 5 talking points, which can easily be put on your twitter or Facebook page at the click of a mouse.
Nonetheless, we parsed through some of the details of the plan like the advantages people with health insurance coverage would receive. For example, I like the fact the health insurance companies would not be allowed to discriminate people with pre-existing conditions and there would actually be a cap on costs. Since private health insurance companies have a monopoly on healthy, able-bodied people, it would be nice knowing they cannot continue to charge whatever they want for basic services and then drop us when we get sick.
As for provisions that would expand on publicly-funded care for the uninsured, Julie Pippert of MOMocrats offered a lot of wonderful information about the Massachusetts’s healthcare system. (Julie lives in Massachusetts, by the way.) There was a lot I did not know about it, like it includes dental care. Personally, that is more than I have had on private health insurance. Right now I pay cash for cleanings for me and my kids. Who knew?
We ended our wonderful lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe on the note that we not only need an offensive grassroots effort to push for healthcare reform, but also more coordination from the top — the White House. If you are interested in direct action on this front, both online and offline, please do consider subscribing to MomsRising.org. The organization, which was co-founded by MoveOn.org’s founder Joan Blades, is set up just like MoveOn in that they do all the technical work and all you have to do is click to sign a petition or forward the message to your friends. You can also post at MOMocrats as Julie is part of a group that advises the White House on such issues.
At the lunch, I collected people’s e-mail addresses to see if we can continue this dialogue and even share with each other healthcare story ideas. MOMocrats, by the way, is already running regular stories on people’s personal health insurance nightmares. A lot of us had those at this lunch.
Overall, it was a positive and, I hope, helpful discussion in this ongoing and explosive debate. Hopefully, there will be some positive developments when we meet again at Netroots Nation ’10.