Dem Sen. Conrad: Chasing Public Option ‘Rabbit’ a ‘Wasted Effort’

August 17, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Blue Dog Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) is one of the key lawmakers on the Finance Committee, negotiating the provisions of the health care reform bill, on behalf of President Obama’s push to fix the broken health care system in this country. But Sen. Conrad said on Sunday that the public option was dead and it’s a “wasted effort.”

President Obama and many Democrats have long said that real and meaningful health care reform, should cover the 50 million uninsured Americans, while lowering costs, which would not be possible without a public health insurance option.

Appearing on Fox News’ with Chris Wallace, Conrad said there were not enough votes to pass a health reform bill that included a public option, declaring the public option dead in the water, in his opinion.

“The fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option, there never have been, so to continue to chase that rabbit is just a wasted effort,” said Conrad.

Conrad instead, has been pushing for health care cooperatives, which would be privately run, but pumped up with public funds. When noted by Wallace that co-ops would still require public funds, Conrad parsed his words carefully. “It’s not a public plan at all in the sense that government runs it. Government has nothing to do with it. Once it’s established, it is run by the members,” Conrad said.

Conrad’s personal efforts to torpedo the public health option come in the wake of increasing efforts by Republicans to paint it, as “socialized medicine,” and referring to the House health reform bill, as a plan that would mandate health rationing, which would cause the death of seniors.

Kathleen Sebelius appeared on CNN Sunday, saying a public health option was “not the essential element.” And President Obama said over the weekend that a public option was “just a sliver” of the overall plan, trying to push back against the Republican’s fear-mongering, calling the health reform proposal a form of socialized medicine.

Fearing the public health option may be lost, former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean spoke on Monday, calling on President Obama to hold fast and stand by his previous vigorous support of a public health option, as the only way to offer true health care reform.

“You can’t really do health reform without it,” said Dean, calling a public option “the entirety of health care reform.”

In an emailed White House statment made available Sunday, by Linda Douglass communications director, the message seemed to be that nothing has changed with Obama’s stand on the public option.

“The president has always said that what is essential is that health insurance reform must lower costs, ensure that there are affordable options for all Americans and it must increase choice and competition in the health insurance market. He believes the public option is the best way to achieve those goals,” wrote Douglass.

Before Conrad declared on Sunday that the public option was dead, he previously said he would vote against any plan that contained a public option. He also said he would vote against a bill that provides funds for abortion, or care for illegal immigrants.

It’s uncertain now, if the public health option can survive, when even Blue Dog Democrats tasked with writing the bill are opposing it. As the saying goes, with [Democrats] like Conrad, who needs enemies?

Watch the Video of Sen. Conrad on Fox News:


2 Responses to “Dem Sen. Conrad: Chasing Public Option ‘Rabbit’ a ‘Wasted Effort’”

  1. Old Man Dotes on August 17th, 2009 1:37 pm

    Short version: The “Blue Dog” fake-Democrats don’t give a ratr’s ass what the voters think or what they want or need. The only thing that matters to them is where the next bribe, er, I mean, corporate campaign contribution is coming from.

  2. John Smith on August 18th, 2009 2:27 pm

    Senator Conrad’s largest campaign contributor over the last five years is the Davita Corporation, a nationwide health care service provider. You don’t suppose all his rhetoric about co-ops is really just about kissing up to Davita’s lobby and securing his campaign contributions for the next election? I’m sure Davita would prefer to compete with a feeble co-op system rather than a substantial public adversary.

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