04 September, 2009

Progressive Caucus Fires Shots Across the Bow

It's not all gloom-and-doom on the health care reform front. Obama and the Blue Dogs may be ready to "bargain" all meaningful reform away, but Progressives have other ideas. Very much so.

Reps. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) would like a word with the President:

"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," they wrote in a letter to Obama today. "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 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.

We look forward to meeting with you to discuss the importance of your support for a robust public plan, which we encourage you to reiterate in your address to the Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday.

You can read the entire letter here.

No mealy-mouthed weasel words here, my darlings. I see two lovely Smack-o-Matic 3000s clutched in those hands, and they aren't afraid to use them. And Lynn Woolsey's interview with Marc Ambinder's even more definite. If Obama thinks he can placate everyone with a trigger, he'd best think again:
If it ends up being between a trigger and nothing, would you say nothing?

Rep. Woolsey: Yes, I would. I'm for health care reform, I'm not for tweaking around the edges.
So much for triggers.

As for noises from the White House about giving away the public option entirely, Sen. Sherrod Brown would like the President to remember Congress, not him, is writing the bill, thank you so very much. Additionally, "We're not going through this to write some namby pamby bill so we can check a box and say we did health care reform." We can translate this roughly as, "Put up or shut up, Mr. President."

Rep. Jerry Nadler would like to know, "What is the point of passing a bill that mandates people to buy insurance that is going to be unaffordable?" And he warns of a split in the Democratic Party if a piece-of-shit bill is presented, which tells me Progressives aren't prepared to fall quietly into line.

Lest there is any doubt, the Speaker of the House would like the President to understand that "A bill without a strong public option will not pass the House."

It looks like the Blue Dogs aren't the only ones with teeth. And it may surprise all involved to realize that Progressives have finished observing the barking and whining and general ruckus, and decided that now is the moment to do this:

You can find two petitions here where you can show Obama you've got the Progressives' backs.

*edited to add Lynn Woolsey's interview, which is worth reading in its entirety.

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