Feingold Jabs Obama on Public Option

Dec 21, 2009 6:53am

ABC News' Teddy Davis reports: Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., announced Sunday that he would be supporting the watered down Senate health care bill, saying that the cost of inaction would simply be too high. But instead of simply coming out in favor of the legislation, Feingold used the opportunity to jab the Obama administration for not fighting harder for a government insurance option. “I’ve been fighting all year for a strong public option to compete with the insurance industry and bring health care spending down.  I continued that fight during recent negotiations, and I refused to sign onto a deal to drop the public option from the Senate bill.  Unfortunately, the lack of support from the administration made keeping the public option in the bill an uphill struggle," said Feingold in a written statement released by his office. "Removing the public option from the Senate bill is the wrong move, and eliminates $25 billion in savings.  I will be urging members of the House and Senate who draft the final bill to make sure this essential provision is included." Feingold's stement goes on to explain that while the loss of the public option is "a bitter pill to swallow," on balance, the bill "still delivers meaningful reform, and the cost of inaction is simply too high." "This bill significantly expands coverage and helps protect Wisconsinites from high costs and insurance company abuses, such as denying or restricting coverage based on pre-existing conditions," the statement continues. "The bill also improves a flawed Medicare formula that denies Wisconsin fair reimbursement rates, encourages the kind of low-cost, high-value care practiced in our state, increases access to home and community-based long-term care, and reduces federal budget deficits by $132 billion over the next decade.” Feingold's health care statement is not the first time that he has rapped the Obama administration for falling short of progressive ideals. The Wisconsin Democrat, who weighed a 2008 White House run before ultimately deciding to pass on the race, has also taken issue with the president on his initial handling of state secrets, giving Obama a "D" at the 100 Day mark, and his lack of a clear timetable for removing all US troops from Afghanistan.

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