With Chris Bowers at Open Left and Democracy for America, Health Care for America now has been posing four specific questions to Senators, asking them where they stand on the public health insurance option:

1. Do you support a public healthcare option as part of reform?

2. Do you support a public healthcare option that is ready on day one?

3. Do you support a public healthcare option that is national, available everywhere, and accountable to our government?

4. Do you support a public healthcare option that has the clout to establish rates with providers and big drug companies?

These questions, of course, are designed in a specific way to get Senators on the record about not just whether they support a public health insurance option, but what kind they support. A Senator answering yes to all four questions supports a strong public health insurance option with no trigger that is available in all corners of this country (ie. is not a regional co-op).

Over the last few weeks, tens of thousands of constituents have emailed their Senators asking these four questions. And lo and behold, the Senators have started answering. Chris Bowers has been collating the answers and keeping the chart up to date. As you can see, he’s gotten a ton of answers back from Senators, but a lot of those answers are emails that don’t really answer the question:

Unfortunately, as the chart in the extended entry also shows, most Senators are still dodging on those type of specific questions on what sort of public option they support. Based on responses you have sent in, DFA, HCAN and Open Left have compiled all of the "dodge" statements that these Senators have given on the public option, which you can read here.

Let your Senators know that vague, open-ended answers may be good enough for most political news media, but it isn’t good enough for their constituents. If you are from a state with a Senator or Senator who is still dodging specific on the public option, send an email telling them to clarify their position now. We are winning this fight.

We are going to win this fight. Send an email to your Senators now, and let’s bring this one over the finish line.

He’s right. These questions are clearly worded, and the tens of thousands who’ve emailed in deserve answers to them. Take a moment to email your Senators so we can get even more answers.

And check out the full chart below of where your Senators (at least those likely to support a public option) stand on the public option:

STATE/SENATOR Public Option? Available Day One? Nationally Available? Can Bargain for Rates?
AK – Begich (D) Unknown      
AR – Lincoln (D) Maybe Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
AR – Pryor (D) Maybe Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
CA – Boxer (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
CA – Feinstein (D) Yes Yes Maybe Dodges (via email)
CO – Bennet (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Maybe Dodges (via email)
CO – Udall (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Maybe Dodges (via email)
CT- Dodd (D) Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill)
CT – Lieberman (I) No Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
DE – Carper (D) Maybe      
DE – Kaufman (D) Yes      
FL – Bill Nelson (D) Maybe (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
GA – Isakson (R) Maybe Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
HI – Akaka (D) Yes      
HI – Inouye (D) Yes      
IA – Harkin (D) Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill)
IL – Burris (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
IL – Durbin (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
IN – Bayh (D) Maybe Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
LA – Landrieu (D) Maybe No No No
MA – Kerry (D) Yes Yes Yes Yes
MA – Kennedy (D) Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill)
MD – Cardin (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
MD – Mikulski (D) Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill)
ME – Collins (R) No Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
ME – Snowe (R) Maybe      
MI – Levin (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
MI – Stabenow (D) Yes      
MN – Franken (D) Unknown      
MN – Klobuchar (D) Unknown      
MO – McCaskill (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
MT – Baucus (D) Maybe      
MT – Tester (D) Maybe Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
NC – Hagan (D) Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill)
ND – Conrad (D) Maybe Yes No Yes
ND – Dorgan (D) Yes Maybe Yes Yes
NE – Ben Nelson (D) Maybe      
NH – Shaheen (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
NJ – Lautenberg (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
NJ – Menendez (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
NM – Bingaman (D) Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill)
NM – Udall (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
NV – Reid (D) Yes      
NY – Gillibrand (D) Yes Yes Yes Dodges (via email)
NY – Schumer (D) Yes Yes Yes  
OH – Brown (D) Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill)
OR – Merkley (D) Yes Yes (via email) Yes (via email) Yes (via email)
OR – Wyden (D) Maybe Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
PA – Casey (D) Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill)
PA – Specter (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
RI – Reed (D) Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill)
RI – Whitehouse (D) Yes      
SD – Johnson (D) Unknown      
VA – Warner (D) Maybe Dodges (via email) No Dodges (via email)
VA – Webb (D) Yes      
VT – Leahy (D) Yes      
VT – Sanders (I) Yes Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill)
WA – Cantwell (D) Yes Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
WA – Murray (D) Yes Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill) Yes (supporting HELP bill))
WI – Feingold (D) Yes Yes Yes Yes
WI – Kohl (D) Maybe (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email) Dodges (via email)
WV – Byrd (D) Unknown      
WV – Rockefeller (D) Yes   Yes  

(also posted at the NOW! blog)

Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

Writer, musician, activist. Currently consulting for Bill Halter for U.S. Senate and a fellow at the New Organizing Institute.

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