by Jim Nintzel
Congressman Raul Grijalva keeps fighting for the public option. The latest from the Congressional Progressive Caucus:
Washington, D.C. — Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Lynn Woolsey, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement on the president’s health care summit:
“Today’s summit was an important opportunity for the American people to learn about each party’s health care proposals. It was good for Americans to hear a detailed, uninterrupted discussion of the facts instead of misleading statements designed to scare those who would benefit the most from comprehensive health care reform.
It was disappointing, however, that the summit lacked
diversity among participants. Missing from the 35 Congressional attendees were official leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. These groups reflect the significant diversity of the United States, and their participation is crucial as we debate the best way to improve our health care system.
Even without an invitation, the CPC was determined to make sure that the public option was on the table today by providing information to the summit participants outlining how the public option is the best and most effective proposal to reform our country’s broken health care system.
Polls continue to show that the public option is the part of health care reform that the public is consistently behind; indeed, the public option is more popular than the Senate Health Care bill as a whole.
The CPC welcomed Speaker Pelosi’s and Majority Leader Hoyer’s comments today highlighting the benefits of the public option, including saving taxpayers more than $100 billion, keeping insurance companies honest and increasing competition.
We believe that the public option is appropriate for a reconciliation package because it saves money and reduces the deficit. The money saved by implementing a public option could be used to eliminate unfair excise taxes and provide people with more assistance in paying for their coverage.
New momentum in support of the public option is growing in Congress. It is included in the House bill, and the number of senators expressing their support for inclusion of the public option in a reconciliation package is growing daily.
Moving forward, we are determined to work with our colleagues in the House and Senate to deliver on our promise to pass health reform legislation that will provide affordable, accessible health care for every American.”