Readers of the Mercury can count on this reporter never to trade access to your politicians for straightforward reporting on their positions and ideas. Meanwhile, you may have seen scant criticism of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden's health insurance reforms in other local newspapers of late. His plan is "too radical," according to the lede in one paper, while another gave Wyden a full page interview with a photo this morning featuring questions along the hard-hitting lines of "tell us, Ron, why is your health insurance reform plan SO awesome?"
Not here. As far as this reporter can tell, Wyden only has the interests of the health insurance companies at heart. His plans for health reform are less far-reaching than those being proposed by President Barack Obama, because Obama wants a national public health insurance option, while Wyden doesn't. I can say this, because Wyden isn't going to grant me an interview in the near future (I did ask).
You can read more about the ideological conflict between Wyden and Obama here, and about small business owners from Portland lobbying for Obama's plan here.
I'm disappointed that no Oregon democrats have spoken out against Wyden's misguided health reform plans, and it's sad to see our press sucking up to the man who could potentially scupper the most sweeping health care reform in a generation, just for the sake of a self-promoting quote from the horse's mouth.
On a more positive note, meanwhile, more than 80 people plan a rally tomorrow at Senator Wyden's office, to urge him to support Obama's plan. The rally, which is being organized by MoveOn.org, begins at 12 noon at the Federal Building, 1220 SW 3rd:
At the end of the rally, the group will deliver 250 pages of petitions from 7,000 MoveOn members statewide asking Senator Wyden to support a strong public health insurance option. The petition text — a quote from President Obama - reads: “I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.”
If you've got time tomorrow, why not swing by, and bolster the numbers?