Weiner: No Public Plan ‘A Surefire Way’ to Have the House Kill Health Reform
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), a longtime supporter of a single-payer health care system, has been doing much of the liberal grumbling today in the face of headlines indicating that the Obama administration would accept a health reform strategy absent a government-backed insurance option.
Weiner went on CNN this afternoon to warn whoever’s listening that “walking away from the public option seems to me a surefire way to walking away from passing something in the House.” Anything else, he says, leaves too much power in the hands of the same for-profit insurance companies that have left more than 45 million Americans uninsured.
“If we don’t have a public plan, then we’re leaving it up to the insurance companies to somehow get up one morning and say, OK, I want to make less profit,” Weiner said. “That’s not going to happen.”
Asked by Wolf Blitzer if he’d vote for a bill that lacked the public option, Weiner predicted that he wouldn’t need to make that choice because Democratic leaders “won’t even bring that to the floor.”
In the House of Representatives, without a strong public plan — even stronger than the one we reported out of committee — I think it would have a very difficult time getting 218 votes.
Unless, of course, it’s Dec. 24, lawmakers are itching to get home, and President Obama is urging Democrats to vote yes. (That’s not a prediction, but nor is it anything like an impossibility.)