Health Care for America Now is the largest reform campaign in the country. It's also the group that set the parameters for the public option that have defined the debate over the provision for months. Today, HCAN campaign director Richard Kirsch sees Pelosi's push for a "robust" public option as a validation of both the politics and policy of the popular measure.
"We're glad to see, as the Speaker points out, strong support [for the robust public option] over 200 members," Kirsch says.
"This is not just an ideological battle," he adds. "At the heart this is a battle about quality of care...it's also about saving money, for making health care more affordable. A strong public option will save $110 billion."
In other words, he's pleased. Pelosi, he says, is announcing to fence-sitting Democrats: "Here's a plan that saves money for taxpayers, saves money for families, saves money for small businesses... let's do it."
Included under HCAN's umbrella are hard-line progressive groups as well as groups working the inside game for reform. As such, HCAN has straddled the temperamental divide between the two factions--eschewing for the most part the harshest rhetoric of the left flank of the reform community, but at the same time unafraid to call the Baucus bill--which does not include a public option--a "failure."