57 progressive House members stood up today against the Blue Dog attempt to weaken a public option in health care reform. President Obama, however, praised the agreement between the Blue Dogs and the Speaker that would undermine the president's stated goal of universal coverage.
We regard the agreement reached by Chairman Waxman and several Blue Dog members of the Committee as fundamentally unacceptable. This agreement is not a step forward toward a good health care bill, but a large step backwards. Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, for a public option with reimbursement rates based on Medicare rates—not negotiated rates—is unacceptable. It would ensure higher costs for the public plan, and would do anything to achieve the goal of “keeping insurance companies honest,” and their rates down.
To offset the increased costs incurred by adopting the provisions advocated by the Blue Dog members of the Committee, the agreement would reduce subsidies to lower-and middle income families, requiring them to pay a larger portion of their income for insurance premiums, and would impose an unfunded mandate on the states to pay for what were to have been Federal Costs.
In short, this agreement will result in the public, both as insurance purchasers and as taxpayers paying ever higher rates to insurance companies.
We simply cannot vote for such a proposal.
No bill will pass the House unless the Speaker and the White House work with progressive Democrats. As the Congressional Progressive Caucus recently told the president, a strong public option must be included for any health care reform to be meaningful.Related Link: Defeat The Blue Dogs: Protect The Public Option In Health Care Reform