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Kristen Daum, Published October 09 2009

MoveOn.org volunteers push public option in report to Conrad

FARGO — Local members of a liberal advocacy group submitted a report today to Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., pushing the benefits of a public option to health care reform.

The report sponsored by MoveOn.org states that North Dakotans would benefit from the public option by extending coverage to 78 percent of uninsured residents and saving the state’s hospitals more than $37 million a year.

“The facts clearly demonstrate that the public option is the key to lowering the skyrocketing health care costs and expanding access to affordable quality care,” said Kyle Meerkins, one of three volunteers with MoveOn.org in Fargo-Moorhead who submitted the report to Conrad’s Fargo field office.

Last week, Conrad drew fire from MoveOn.org after voting twice against public option proposals presented in the Senate Finance Committee. As an alternative, Conrad has been supportive of regional health care cooperatives.

Conrad spokesman Christopher Gaddie said early Friday the senator would have a response to the report sometime today.

Meerkins said MoveOn.org wants Conrad to change his direction and support the public option.

“We’re here today to challenge Sen. Conrad for his votes against real health care reform, to call on him to change direction and make it clear that MoveOn members right here in North Dakota will continue to be disappointed in Sen. Conrad as long as he continues to side with big insurance and opposes real health care reform,” Meerkins said.

Read Saturday's Forum for more on this story.