NYCEve Call To Action: Join Us in DC For Health Care Bill Markup
NYCEve gave a stirring speech on the Hill on Wednesday (here’s Part II and Part III). She told the stories of American people who are suffering because of the gross inadequacies of our healthcare system to the Hill. She has always been an incredible spokesperson for victims of insurance company practices, and many will remember the incredible work she did helping Nataline Sarkysian, the teenager who was denied a liver transplant that could have saved her life by CIGNA. Nataline died, but NYCEve is still fighting passionately for health care reform.
Next week the House will be marking up the health care bill in three committes: Energy and Commerce (Henry Waxman), Ways and Means (Charles Rangel), and Education & Labor (Chairman George Miller). We won’t know exact dates until the bill drops, but it will probably start Wednesday or Thursday. And when it does, we’ll be there.
It was explained to me, in very general terms, what really happens during this process, and it’s rather ugly. Basically the bill is reviewed in its entirety. Amendments are added, language is changed. Changing one word, say the word, "shall" to "will", for example, can have huge consequences.
Lobbyists attempt to take every seat in the room. As the bill is debated, they blackberry Congressional staffers with their objections (the objections of the industry they represent), which the staffers then relay to the Congresspeople (doing the people’s business). So this is where the pedal meets the metal. This is the place where the special interests get in their last licks.
How do lobbyists get all the seats in the room? They pay people (naturally), to wait on line starting very early in the morning, to assure them of a seat.
We would like to organize people who live in or near Washington to come to the markups and stand in line ahead of the lobbyists and the people they pay to stand there for them.
If we can get enough people in line before the placeholders get there, we can take up all the seats and keep the lobbyists out of the hearing rooms. Or at least take pictures of the ones that get in, and put them up online. So please come to DC next week and join us. Let our representatives know when they’re working on the health care bill that they are supposed to be working on behalf of the people, not the health insurance industry. Make it harder for the lobbyists to write the changes they want by sitting in place of people like Nataline Sarkysian who can’t be there.
I’m gonna be there. Because NYCEve told me to, and I always do what she says.