Liberal Dems Say No to Deal on Health Care Reform

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This could be a big deal. Fifty-seven liberal House Democrats sent a letter on Thursday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Henry Waxman, the chair of the House energy and commerce committee, saying they cannot vote for the deal Waxman cut with the Blue Dog Dems, citing the compromise’s weak public option provision. It’s a short note, but a possible big monkey wrench. Without these votes, the Democrats are far short of a majority.

The letter:

We write to voice our opposition to the negotiated health care reform agreement under consideration in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

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 nothing 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 low-and middle-income families, requiring them to pay a larger portion oftheir 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.

Back to you, Waxman.

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