Progressive Groups to Spend $82 mln to Push Gov't-Run Health Care Plan - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Progressive Groups to Spend $82 mln to Push Gov’t-Run Health Care Plan

A collection of a liberal activist groups and Howard Dean, on Monday announced plans to spend more than $82 million in an effort to support President Obama’s health care push and press for legislation that includes a new government-run plan modeled after Medicare to be offered on a national insurance exchange.

The effort is being announced in a press conference right now as part of the annual progressive conference, “America’s Future Now” (previously named the “Take Back America” conference during the Bush era).

“We’ve put together enough resources to win this fight,” Richard Kirsch, the campaign director of Health Care for America Now, a coalition of 1,030 national and local progressive groups. He said that the coalition, which includes the major unions AFL-CIO and SEIU and and, would organize events nationwide and take out ads to promote their brand of health care reform, which they expect to pass by the fall. “This will be the crowning achivement of a new era of progressive politics.”

Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, which organized the conference, said that the United States was in the midst of the “greatest era of progressive reform since the 1960’s.” He said conservatives were splintered and isolated, and the movement “lost its verve,” while progressives were better organized than ever. 

Along with other speakers, Borosage argued that America is now a left-of-center nation.

“The election of Barack Obama was the beginning,” Dean said. “It was not the end.” It was now up to progressives to make sure that Washington doesn’t prevent Obama from achieving liberal goals.

Celinda Lake, a progressive pollster, presented her research demonstrating that Americans have rejected Reaganomics and now want government to be part of the solution of their problems.

UPDATE: During the question and answer session, I asked Dean about his comment that the inclusion of a government-run plan is a line in the sand for progressives, and whether he would not support legislation if it did not include such an option. “I think that everybody up here agrees that a public option is essential,” he said, and said such an option should resemble Medicare.

In response to another question, Dean said it was more important to have a bill with a government-run plan than to have Republican support. “What’s the point of having a crummy piece of legislation that’s bipartisan?” he asked rhetorically. “Bipartisanship isn’t an end by itself.”

He said while it would be wonderful to work with Republicans on health care reform in theory, “If they’re in there just to shill for insurance companies, then I think we should pass it with 51 votes.”

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