Rep. Frank: Health Care Could Still Fail; ‘Nothing Preordained’

Mar 19, 2010 1:23pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Democratic leaders are expressing confidence heading into the climactic weekend on health care reform. But there’s still a chance that they fail to muster the votes in the House, Rep. Barney Frank said today. On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Frank, D-Mass., told us that he senses momentum in favor of passing the bill. But that doesn’t mean the bill will definitely pass, he said. “Sure, there’s always a chance of things happening,” said Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. “I will say I have experienced a move more towards support on the part of a lot of people. Look, I represent a state where health care is important, not simply as a service for people, but it’s one of our main economic industries. And I have not had anybody who’s in the business of providing health care or receiving it, obviously, tell me this is bad for us.” “So I think there’s obviously clearly a move in its favor. But no, nothing is or ought to be preordained in a democracy,” he added.

One of Frank’s colleagues from Massachusetts, Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., surprised Democratic leaders by announcing yesterday that he’ll oppose the bill, after voting for the House health care bill in the fall. Asked whether this could be a Scott Brown effect — Brown, R-Mass., carried seven of the Bay State’s 10 congressional districts, including Frank’s — Frank depicted Lynch’s decision as based on individual convictions. “Nine of us are voting for the bill, and [Democratic Sen.] John Kerry is voting for the bill, so no,” Frank said. “I understand that Steve Lynch is opposed to it. Steve has always been, of the 10 of us, the one strong supporter of restricting abortion, and that’s obviously a factor here, and then there are some other factors. But no, there’s been no great movement in Massachusetts. Of the 11 Democrats who represent parts of [or] all of Massachusetts, 10 of us are strongly for the bill.” (Frank appears to be assuming the support of Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., who remains publicly undecided.) Asked whether the current legislation bars federal funding of abortions, Frank said: “No — although to some extent it depends on how you define ‘federal funds.’ There will be federal funds creating an exchange, and I guess one of the arguments is, ‘Well maybe somebody would buy a policy there,’ but no. No — I believe, as do many of the people in the House who are strong supporters of not allowing federal funding, that the Senate bill does not allow that.”

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