Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chairman of the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, on Tuesday blasted the government plan compromise taking shape in the Senate, saying the deal was “not even reminiscent of a public option.”
Grijalva said that the White House and Senate Democrats have “have already compromised far too much. At some point in this process, the question became not what was the best policy for the American people, but what could be done to appease a recalcitrant handful who have negotiated in bad faith. We need strong leadership so close to the finish line, not efforts to water down a bill to the breaking point in a misguided attempt to win votes that were never there.”
The broad outlines of a deal would have the government body that oversees the health plan for federal employees create a number of plans administered by private non-profit companies, while also expanding Medicaid and lowering the Medicare elgibility age to 55. Grijalva said the proposal, “does not create enough private sector competition, which we desperately need to benefit working families.”
“We need a public option, period,” Grijalva concluded. “I cannot support a system that forces Americans to buy private insurance and then allows those companies to collect government subsidies without competition. Our final health care bill should be based on policy outcomes and the needs of consumers, and the direction the Senate is taking does not give me confidence.”
Although it’s the least of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s concerns at the moment, Grijalva’s views cannot be completely discounted, because any bill that emerges from the Senate must be reconciled with the House version and pass both chambers again.
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