03 Sep

House Progressives to Obama: No Public Option, No Support

We cannot vote for anything less.


Greg Sargent has a letter just sent to President Obama from the co-chairs of the House Progressive Caucus stating that they will not back down on their pledge to support reform with a strong public option, or nothing, and demanding a meeting.

From the letter:

We look forward to meeting with you regarding retaining a robust public option in any final health reform bill and request that that meeting take place as soon as possible.

Public opinion polls continue to show that a majority of Americans want the choice ofa robust public plan and we stand in solidarity with them. We continue to support the robust public option that was reported out of the Committees on Ways and Means and Education and Labor and will not vote for a weakened bill on the House Floor or returning from a Conference with the Senate.

Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, a public option built on the Medicare provider system and with reimbursement based on Medicare rates–not negotiated rates–is unacceptable. A plan with negotiated rates would ensure higher costs for the public plan, and would do nothing to achieve the goal ofproviding choice and competition to keep rates down. The public plan with set rates saves $75 billion, which could be lost ifrates are negotiated with providers. Further, this public option must be available immediately and must not be contingent upon any trigger.

Mr. President, the need for reform is urgent. Every day, 14,000 Americans lose their health care coverage. We must have health care reform that will effectively bring down costs and significantly expand access. A health reform bill without a robust public option will not achieve the health reform this country so desperately needs. We cannot vote for anything less.

This reiterates the claim the Progressive Block made first in their letter to Speaker Pelosi back in July and again in a letter to HHS Sec. Sebelius a few weeks ago.

The Progressive Block has staked a lot on this fight, and there’s a great deal at stake for all progressives in this. If Democrats, and particularly Obama, get rolled on this one, there’s little hope for any key policy initiative by this White House making it through unscathed. How Obama responds to the Progressive Block, and how the Progressive Block reacts, could determine the fate of every other major effort this administration attempts.

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