Democrats face re-election disaster if Congress passes watered-down health care reform legislation.
That was the theme of House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Michigan) at a July 30 gathering of progressives in Washington, DC. Conyers spoke at the fifth-year “birthday party” for Progressive Democrats of America after joining 56 other members of Congress in vowing earlier Thursday to oppose any legislation that does not include a strong public option enabling competition with insurance companies.
“There is no one more disappointed than I am in Barack Obama,” said Conyers. “I’ve told him that to his face.”
The reason? “Buddy, you are wrong on healthcare, and it’s going to cost you big time,” Conyers said. “We’ve got to tell Obama now, or he’ll be a one-term president.”
Conyers alleged that the centrist “Blue Dog” Democrats and Republicans “don’t want anything.” He predicted that the 57 congressional progressives who so far have signed the public option vow would join Republicans and some Blue Dogs in blocking what he called “crap” alternative legislation. He predicted an even worse outcome for Obama and other Democrats if a bill somehow passes without a strong public option, thereby antagonizing the public with higher-costs and worsening coverage.
“Guess what?” said Conyers. “It’s going to fail. Heads he loses, tails he loses.”
Conyers also is leading the fight in Congress to enact the “Medicare for All” bill H.R. 676, whose Senate counterpart is S. 703. The Conyers bill goes farther than a public option in seeking a complete revamp of the nation’s health care system to provide for a “single-payer” solution with lower costs, like that in most Western democracies.
Indeed, even the current U.S. system is heavily reliant on government, as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote July 31 in “Health Care Realities.”
“This is a serious mistake, Barack,” Conyers warned the president regarding compromise proposals. “And all of us who are going to fight like the dickens for another term have to tell him that.”