Never fear, help arrives promptly from an unexpected source: Enter the Insurance Companies!
During this week several major health care insurance providers announced double digit rate hikes. Among them are Anthem Blue Cross (California's largest for-profit health care insurance provider) raises its rates by up to 39% in the state of California. Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield raises their premiums by 22%. Anthem of Maine requests a 23% increase.
The private sector's health care is not working. it forces individuals and families to drop health care altogether as it becomes less and less affordable. Crisis grows, number of uninsured grows. And while Republicans ignore the crisis altogether, there are some key democrats who are fighting to revive the public option in Congress.
To recap, February 16th a group of 4 key Democrats in US Senate signed a letter to Sen. Harry Reid to hold a vote on a government-run public insurance option:
Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio signed a letter urging Reid, D-Nevada, to hold a vote on the proposal under a rule known as a reconciliation, which would allow the measure to pass with only 51 votes -- a simple majority.
Over the last two days that group grew in size. Now, 17 Democratic Senators are supporting the letter.
Among the new additions are Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Al Franken (D-MN), Pat Leahy (D-VT), John Kerry (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
If anything, these private sector health care providers' rate hikes brought more urgency into healthcare reform, and re-energized the public option.