60-plus House members won’t support health bill without public plan

by Stuart Elliott

“Sixty plus” House members will not support a health care bill that does not include a strong public option Representative Keith Ellison, Congressional Progressive Caucus vice co-chair, said  during a media call today.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. (Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair) and Rep. Keith Ellison, DFL-Minn. joined  health care expert Jacob Hacker and Campaign for America’s Future co-director Roger Hickey on a conference call on Thursday to discuss a new report that details the reasons why growing blocs of House members refuse to support a health care bill without a public insurance option.

The report details how a strong public health insurance plan is critical to successfully achieving the goals of national health reform—lower costs, higher quality and guaranteed health security for all Americans. The paper evaluates the different proposals for health reform advancing through Congress for their potential to satisfy the president’s goals for health reform.

Representatives Grijalva and Ellison discussed efforts to secure a strong public health insurance plan.

Sixty members of the Progressive Caucus have sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stating they won’t support a bill without a strong public option.  Rep. Grijalva told the media that there are House members who not members of Progressive  caucus who have said they won’t vote for bill without a public option.  Ellison said health care is a “historic debate,”  and that because the “stakes are so high, there is going to be a fight.”    In this dynamic situation, he continued, “this is no time for progressives to get cynical about President Obama.”

Hacker discussed his new report, which details key elements of a strong public plan in the House and Senate bills and why an alternative proposal, insurance cooperative, are destined to fail. Hacker said that the false and malicious distortions of proposed legislation amounted to a “swfitboating” of health care reform.  Hacker said that the public option is not an ideological litmus  test, but an essential component of a serious plan to control health care costs.  In reality, the right has a litmus test, Hacker declared,  “Anything that challenge the prerogatives of private insurers is bad.”  This is shown by how quickly and strongly the right rejected Senator Conrad’s  “co-op” plan.   Hacker said that health co-ops are very different from a public plan and are unlikely to achieve what a public plan can do.

Hacker’s report, which lays out the good, the not so good, and the bad in health care proposals before the Congress, is a key resource for those desiring to understand the health care debate.

The Campaign for America’s Future has an informative summary of the media call here.

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5 Responses

  1. it was a valuable news for most of the people

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  3. […] 60-plus House members won't support health bill without public …60-plus House members won’t support health bill without public plan. Posted on August 20, 2009 by dsalaborblogmoderator. by Stuart Elliott. “Sixty plus” House members will not support a health care bill that does not include a strong …Read more […]

  4. […] emphasizes House won’t budge on public option. Coverage from NYT, Star Tribune, AFL-CIO Blog, Talking Union, Tapped, Change.Org’s Tim Foley and […]

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