ABC News’ Teddy Davis reports: Eli Pariser, the executive director of the liberal group MoveOn.org, sent an email to his members Tuesday afternoon, urging them to oppose Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredsen (D) as a possible secretary of Health and Human Services. Although Bredesen is a Democratic governor, MoveOn’s email criticizes him for having "gutted" Tennessee’s public health insurance program, TennCare, "causing more than 320,000 people to lose their health insurance." Bredesen defended his record in a recent interview with Politico’s Jonathan Martin.
"When I come in as governor, I inherited a completed disaster," said Bredesen. "TennCare was on the brink of collapse and was eating up every dime of all new revenue coming into the state. It had a completely open-ended benefit structure." MoveOn’s email asks its members to sign a petition to make sure President Barack Obama puts a "progressive champion" in charge of his health care reform effort. MoveOn and other liberal groups are pushing Obama not only to subsidize private insurance but also to go against the wishes of the insurance industry and create a Medicare-like government insurance option that would compete with private insurance companies. Obama included this kind of public option in the plan he outlined during the campaign. Now that Obama is in the Oval Office, MoveOn wants to make sure that a public insurance option becomes part of the legislation he pushes for in Congress.