“Top Line”: House Liberals Refuse to Surrender on Public Option

Sep 8, 2009 4:09pm

ABC News’ David Chalian Reports:  As President Obama prepares to head up to Capitol Hill to deliver what may prove to be a pivotal speech in his quest for health care reform, he clearly still has his work cut out for him in convincing liberal Democrats to give a little on the public option. “The anticipation on Wednesday is that the president will reaffirm that support for a public plan and begin to craft the legislation, the final legislation that includes it,” Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) told us on ABC News’ “Top Line.”  “It’s as simple as that and we continue to be committed to it, we’re not raising a white flag and surrendering on the item,” he added. Rep. Grijalva serves as co-chairman of the Progressive Caucus in the House, a collection of the Democratic Party’s most liberal members.  Last week, Rep. Grijalva penned a letter to President Obama to make clear that including a public option in the final bill is still seen as an essential component for health care reform among his colleagues. “If there’s no public option, I can’t support it,” said Grijalva. The congressman also refused to buy into the notion of a triggered public option as a suitable compromise.  “The trigger to me is a delay in tactic and effectively reins in the public option and for all intents and purposes will never let it occur and will never let it develop.  The idea of competition is that everybody starts at the same line and friction in a free market is what makes a better deal for consumers and if we don’t have that friction early and are waiting for a trigger dictated by private insurance it’s never going to happen,” he said. However, when Speaker Pelosi emerged from her White House meeting with President Obama today, she did not rule out using a trigger mechanism to launch a public option in the future.  Speaker Pelosi suggested the talk of possibly incorporating a triggered public option into the final health care reform bill as part of the legislative process that still needs to unfold.  She also said it would behoove the health insurance industry to get behind a public option from the start because a triggered public option a few years down the road will likely be tougher than one introduced into a health insurance exchange at the outset. Watch our interview with Rep. Grijalva HERE: Republican strategist Kevin Madden also joined us as he does each and every Tuesday.  Be sure to watch how Kevin set the stage for what President Obama needs to accomplish in his big speech tomorrow night. We also asked Kevin to weigh in on the controversy that surrounded President Obama’s speech to the nation’s school children today. Watch our interview with Kevin Madden HERE:

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus