Thursday, July 30, 2009

(VIDEO) Congresswoman Donna Edwards Speaks Out at Progressive Caucus Press Conference

A special thanks goes out to shevas01 for giving us the heads up about this press conference.

On Thursday, July 30th, the Progressive Caucus held a press conference to draw a line in the sand when it comes to the inclusion of a strong public option in the health care bill.

Just before talking to reporters, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD, 4th District) handed us this letter that the Congressional Progressive Caucus has sent to the Democratic leadership in Congress:

July 30, 2009

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Henry Waxman
House of Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Charles Rangel
House Committee on Ways and Means
1102 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable George Miller
House Committee on Education and Labor
2181 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Madame Speaker, Chairman Waxman, Chairman Rangel, and Chairman Miller:

We write to voice our opposition to the negotiated health care reform agreement under consideration in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

We regard the agreement reached by Chairman Waxman and several Blue Dog members of the Committee as fundamentally unacceptable. This agreement is not a step forward toward a good health care bill, but a large step backwards. Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, for a public option with reimbursement rates based on Medicare rates—not negotiated rates—is unacceptable. It would ensure higher costs for the public plan, and would do nothing to achieve the goal of “keeping insurance companies honest,” and their rates down.

To offset the increased costs incurred by adopting the provisions advocated by the Blue Dog members of the Committee, the agreement would reduce subsidies to low- and middle-income families, requiring them to pay a larger portion of their income for insurance premiums, and would impose an unfunded mandate on the states to pay for what were to have been Federal costs.

In short, this agreement will result in the public, both as insurance purchasers and as taxpayers, paying even higher rates to insurance companies.

We simply cannot vote for such a proposal.
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