• Kelly O
Remember when people like Molly Moon were furious at Maria Cantwell for not coming out swinging for the public option?

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Well, now we have a raft of proposed Cantwell amendments to the Baucus Bill for health insurance reform, including an amendment Cantwell has cosponsored with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) to swap out Baucus's "co-op compromise" for the strong public option proposed by the Senate HELP Committee. (PDF of amendment here—just search for "Schumer-Cantwell.")

In July, frustration from Moon and other local small business owners led to this public expression of unhappiness with Cantwell:

"It's unfortunate that a woman coming out of the business world isn't really representing a lot of us progressive, female business owners on this issue," [Moon] said. In late May, Washington's other senator, Patty Murray, came to Moon's store on Capitol Hill to hold a press event and express support for the public option. Cantwell, on the other hand, "seems to not really be taking the lead," Moon said.

Today, in a press release put out by health insurance reform advocates here in Washington State, Moon seems to be a Cantwell backer again, offering this extended quote:

Senator Cantwell is showing real leadership and loyalty to her constituents by working to amend the Baucus Bill to provide small businesses and families the choice of purchasing a quality public health insurance plan. For small businesses to grow and build our economy, we have to fix health care this year, and it starts by providing more affordable choices. Increasing our choices with the addition of a public health insurance option competing with private insurers is essential to make health care affordable and keep the insurance industry honest.

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Bottom line: the Baucus bill must be fixed. Until it is amended to strengthen affordability and provide the choice of a public health insurance plan, the bill is simply a gift to the insurance industry. We applaud Senator Cantwell for standing up for Washington families and small businesses by working to fix the Baucus bill and pass real health care reform this year.

And the bottom line for those, like Moon, who were raising a ruckus over Cantwell's apparent wavering on the public option: the pressure worked.