September 22, 2009

I'm happy to see that despite what must be enormous pressure, the House progressive caucus is standing firm on the public option. Not only that, they're pushing Nancy Pelosi to dump the Blue Dogs. Via The PlumLine:

The latest: The two top House progressives have just fired off a letter to Pelosi that, in effect, urges her to stick with them and to ditch the Blue Dogs when the public option rubber hits the road. Progressives have reiterated not just their support for a robust public option, but their opposition to the Blue Dog's weakened version of it passed out of Energy and Commerce.

The letter, which was sent over by a source, makes this point by noting that the version of the public option in the House health care proposal negotiated by Blue Dogs — the version that emerged from Henry Waxman’s Energy and Commerce committee — pales beside the ones created by two other key House committees, which have a more robust public option.

The two progressives — Dem Reps. Lynn Woolsey and Raul Grijalva — ask Pelosi for a meeting to discuss these pertinent facts. They write flat out that the version negotiated by Blue Dogs is “unacceptable” to them, because it results in far less savings than the two other versions.

You should read the letter yourself. But suffice it to say that it’s another sign that when it comes to the public option, House liberals are preparing for a showdown with Blue Dogs — and showing no intention to budge.

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi


U.S. House of Representatives

H-232, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Madam Speaker:

We write to see how we can best work with you to ensure that a robust public plan with Medicare rates plus 5% is included in the final health reform bill.

In July, 60 Members signed a letter saying they could not support an agreement made in the Committee on Energy and Commerce that would require the public plan to use negotiated rates rather than Medicare plus 5% rates, which could delay the start of the public plan, reduce its savings, and reduce its ability to drive down costs. As you stated last week, the Congressional Budget Office scored the Committees on Education and Labor and Ways and Means bill with the Medicare plus 5% rates at $110 billion in savings compared to the Committee on Energy and Commerce at $25 billion in savings. The loss in savings the Committee on Energy and Commerce brought by this change was offset by reducing subsidies to low-and middle-income families, requiring them to pay a larger portion of their income for insurance premiums, is something we find unacceptable.

As we’re sure you agree, these numbers demonstrate the importance of a robust public plan tied to Medicare. We look forward to meeting with you to discuss how we can work together to include a robust public plan that will increase competition, bring down costs, and provide the necessary savings to ensure robust subsidies to those who need help paying for health insurance.


Lynn Woolsey

Raul Grijalva

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