Skip to comments.Progressives Warn Obama Against "Weakened" Public Option In Healthcare Bill
Posted on 09/04/2009 1:36:48 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
Washington, D.C. (AHN) - The 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus late Thursday reminded President Barack Obama that it would only support a healthcare reform measure that has a "robust public option plan." Obama issues an address before a joint session of Congress next week when lawmakers return from recess.
Now without the vote of Ted Kennedy at the final phase of the healthcare debate, the White House is said to be in negotiations with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) about a government-run health insurance program that would only serve as as a backup to privately offered insurance.
In a letter, progressives reiterated their support for a strong public option plan that is "available immediately and must not be contingent upon any trigger," warning they "will not vote for a weakened bill on the House Floor or returning from a Conference with the Senate."
They again called on a public option based on the current Medicare provider network, infrastructure and rates.
"A plan with negotiated rates would ensure higher costs for the public plan, and would do nothing to achieve the goal of providing choice and competition to keep rates down," they explained. "The public plan with set rates saves $75 billion, which could be lost if rates are negotiated with providers."
Progressives make up the largest caucus in the House, and are led by co-chairmen Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). Their letter comes less than a week before Congress reconvenes after a month-long recess that saw the support of the top Republican in the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), wane amid continued angry healthcare town halls.
The Finance panel has jurisdiction over Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and other health entitlement programs, and Grassley had been -- until the final weeks before the August recess --- in private talks with Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) about a healthcare proposal that may have a non-profit cooperative run by insurance companies in place of a public option.
The Committee is the only one among five panels in Congress that has yet to complete work on a bill.
The Senate Health Committee has approved a $600 billion measure crafted by its former chairman, Ted Kennedy, and has a "strong" public plan option.
The House Energy Committee has bill that also offers a government-run health program as an alternative to for-profit insurance, but it allows doctors to negotiate payment rates and is $100 billion cheaper. The measure also exempts more small businesses from the requirement of either providing employees with coverage or paying a tax equal to 8 percent of their payroll.
Two other House proposals --- from the Committees on Education and Ways and Means -- cost $1 trillion over 10 years. They have a tax on the 1.2 percent wealthiest Americans, or those earning more than $350,000.
With pundits declaring the support of Grassley now hopelessly beyond the reach of the White House, attention has turned to Snowe, viewed as the only possible Republican vote for a bill.
Snowe, a member of the Finance Committee, is a moderate and one of only three Republicans who broke party line and voted for the administration's $787 billion economic stimulus package in February. Her healthcare proposal includes a public option that would only be triggered if private insurers in a state are unable to provide affordable coverage.
Democrats are returning to Capitol Hill with only a 59-vote majority in the Senate because of the passing of Kennedy, one vote short to overcome Republican filibusters. More significant is that the Obama administration enters the climactic period of the healthcare debate without its staunchest ally, whose masterful skill as a lawmaker hinged on negotiations with Republicans to pass crucial legislation.
President Barack Obama has refused to say if he is willing to sign a healthcare bill that has no public option plan, which has dominated the public debate.
Health Sec. Kathleen Sebelius early last month said a public option is "not the essential element" in the administration's goal of expanding coverage for the 47 million uninsured Americans in its first year in office. Her comments were met with statements from liberals such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) saying a public option is "fundamental" to "real reform."
A government-run health program has been likened to socialist systems by some critics, and Republicans have warned that such a "bureaucratic takeover of healthcare" will hurt businesses, raise taxes and increase the deficit.
Pundits have said the President needs to begin taking a hands-on approach in the legislative process, and make a bold move to assure and explain to the nation -- as well as make clear to lawmakers --- what kind of public option plan he would accept and why such a plan is crucial to overhauling America's healthcare system.
His officials seem to have given him similar advice: he addresses a joint session of Congress next Wednesday, a day after lawmakers return from recess. It will be his second address before both chambers since his February speech saying, "I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard... [but] let there be no doubt: healthcare reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year."
What a bunch a maroons.
I learn more every day. I didn’t know there was a Congressional Progressive Caucus. My opinion is that “Progressive” has no business in a United States government body - may as well say ‘Socialist, Marxist’, etc.. This caucus has way too many members in it. All democrat? I also know that not enough Americans realize what “Progressive” really means.
The link is a few months old, I think. At this site is a list of the members of this group. I know most you here are aware, but this is for those of us like me who are still learning.
From the Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List, Friday February 20, 2009:
Hon. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07)
Hon. Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)
Hon. Diane Watson (CA-33)
Hon. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18)
Hon. Mazie Hirono (HI-02)
Hon. Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)
Hon. Bernie Sanders (VT)
Hon. Neil Abercrombie (HI-01)
Hon. Tammy Baldwin (WI-02)
Hon. Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Hon. Madeleine Bordallo (GU-AL)
Hon. Robert Brady (PA-01)
Hon. Corrine Brown (FL-03)
Hon. Michael Capuano (MA-08)
Hon. André Carson (IN-07)
Hon. Donna Christensen (VI-AL)
Hon. Yvette Clarke (NY-11)
Hon. William Lacy Clay (MO-01)
Hon. Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Hon. Steve Cohen (TN-09)
Hon. John Conyers (MI-14)
Hon. Elijah Cummings (MD-07)
Hon. Danny Davis (IL-07)
Hon. Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
Hon. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
Rep. Donna F. Edwards (MD-04)
Hon. Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Hon. Sam Farr (CA-17)
Hon. Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Hon. Bob Filner (CA-51)
Hon. Barney Frank (MA-04)
Hon. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11)
Hon. Alan Grayson (FL-08)
Hon. Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
Hon. John Hall (NY-19)
Hon. Phil Hare (IL-17)
Hon. Maurice Hinchey (NY-22)
Hon. Michael Honda (CA-15)
Hon. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-02)
Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)
Hon. Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Hon. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Hon. Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI-13)
Hon. Barbara Lee (CA-09)
Hon. John Lewis (GA-05)
Hon. David Loebsack (IA-02)
Hon. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)
Hon. Ed Markey (MA-07)
Hon. Jim McDermott (WA-07)
Hon. James McGovern (MA-03)
Hon. George Miller (CA-07)
Hon. Gwen Moore (WI-04)
Hon. Jerrold Nadler (NY-08)
Hon. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (DC-AL)
Hon. John Olver (MA-01)
Hon. Ed Pastor (AZ-04)
Hon. Donald Payne (NJ-10)
Hon. Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
Hon. Charles Rangel (NY-15)
Hon. Laura Richardson (CA-37)
Hon. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)
Hon. Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Hon. Linda Sánchez (CA-47)
Hon. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
Hon. José Serrano (NY-16)
Hon. Louise Slaughter (NY-28)
Hon. Pete Stark (CA-13)
Hon. Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Hon. John Tierney (MA-06)
Hon. Nydia Velazquez (NY-12)
Hon. Maxine Waters (CA-35)
Hon. Mel Watt (NC-12)
Hon. Henry Waxman (CA-30)
Hon. Peter Welch (VT-AL)
Hon. Robert Wexler (FL-19)
Obama sold out to the progressive caucus to get the super delegates he needed to win the nomination. They’re not happy with pulling back on the public option. My prediction is that Obama takes out the option, but the commies in the house push it through. Then the Senate moves it through with 50 votes. Obama signs it as payback but blames the public option on the congress.
Traitor Snowe is going to stick it to us, again. I just know it.
As Krauthammer said last night on “Special Report”, “public option” is actually “government option”, and let’s substitute it every time.
“Progressive” is a euphemism meaning half-baked Marxist.
Progressive=Communist, never forget.
Amen! These are the worst. Every last one should go and Congress would be a better place.
Stick with us, Kid and continue to educate yourself. We’ll have you worked into a lather every day if you’ll let us, LOL!
Call them...the Parasite Caucus. But do not call any of them Honorable.