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Today's report by Robert Pear in the New York Times, about about one of the 4,200 house parties on health care reform being convened across America on health care reform for the President-elect, is encouraging. It amplifies the anger Americans are feeling at the insurance industry and puts those sentiments and patient stories front and center in the fight for universal health care reform in Washington, DC.

Given the bleak times, there's a real ray of hope for genuine universal health care if Obama continues this people-first, bottom-up politics once he takes office. It was top down, back door politics that, in large part, killed the Clinton health care plan. Pear covered that debate, every twist and turn. I got to know him during the HMO patients' rights movement in the 1990s. His reporting on Obama-care is going to be key in how opinion leaders and DC lawmakers see health care reform and the power of the populist force that can propel it.