By Kirk Ross
Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Dan Coleman sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan on behalf of the board and Mayor Mark Chilton asking her to support including a public option in health care reform legislation.
The letter reads:
â€œI am writing on behalf of the Mayor and Alderman of the Town of Carrboro Board to urge you to give your full backing to the public option for health insurance sought by President Obama.
â€œMunicipal governments in North Carolina are struggling with double-digit annual increases in health insurance costs while county social services are hard-pressed to meet the needs of the uninsured and under-insured. We desperately need your help to achieve needed reform.
â€œIt is our belief that the health care crisis in the United States will ultimately only be solved by a single-payer national system. We encourage you, for the sake of the citizens of North Carolina and the nation, to do all you can to achieve such a system.â€
Hagan is a member of the Senateâ€™s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee and is one of two Democrats on the committee who has not yet endorsed a public option as part the reform legislation. Groups pushing for the public option say they are worried that Haganâ€™s stance could strengthen the position of health insurance companies who are lobbying against having a lower cost, public plan as part of the options available to consumers under the new legislation.
Responding to an editorial last week in this newspaper, Haganâ€™s communications director Stephanie Allen said the senator could support a public option, but was unwilling to do so without first seeing the specifics of the plan. A Hagan aide familiar with the discussions in the HELP committee said there are several ideas being worked on but that details of a proposed public option have not been settled.