Campaigners who played a key role in the grassroots people’s movement which got American President Barack Obama elected are hopping mad about what they think is a planned "sell-out" of vital changes to the broken US healthcare system by his ruling Democrats.
The progressive group MoveOn.Com has sent an e-mail to its five million members saying Obama’s party has "bargained away the heart" of reform. They join the ranks of Democrat politicians Dennis Kucinich, John Conyers and influential filmmaker Michael Moore who have publicly attacked the compromises of the Democrat leadership.
MoveOn are angered at what they believe has been the partial abandonment of the public option, where government would step in to help low-income members of the public not covered by private health insurance, that is involved in the deal-making on Capitol Hill before a new law can be agreed.
This is what the campaigners have said in an e-mail:
Dear MoveOn member,
How could they?
Senate Democrats have just announced a tentative health care deal that doesn't appear to include a real public health insurance option.
Instead of pulling out all the stops, they've bargained away the heart of health care reform - allowing conservative senators like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to hold the process hostage and protect Big Insurance.
And sure enough, the insurance companies are reportedly thrilled with these terms. "We WIN," one industry insider said during the negotiations. "No government insurance competitor."
If the health care bill doesn't include a public option, it'll be a huge giveaway to the insurance companies. But the deal isn't final yet, so we need to send an immediate message to Congress and President Obama that any health care bill without a real public health insurance option is simply unacceptable.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee was more aggressive than MoveOn in its reaction. "This is outrageous," PCCC officials wrote in an e-mail that was sent to 300,000 people. "We need to fight back now."
The splits in the Democratic Party do not end at health care. The Obama's decision to send 30,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan was met with scepticism by some Democratic lawmakers and outright opposition by others. The decision frustrated anti-war groups.
"In terms of the policy, I think it is a dreadful mistake," said former Rep. Tom Andrews, a Maine Democrat who is national director of Win Without War. "The whole idea of getting out of Afghanistan by escalating is like fighting a fire by throwing gasoline on it."
Some progressives express concern that policy decisions made by the Obama administration and Democratic leaders could hurt the party in the 2010 elections.