House Progressives Call Out Obama on Public Option

Democrats may be headed for intra-party battle
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 4, 2009 8:40 AM CDT
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks about health care funds in action during a visit to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless' Stout Street Clinic in Denver, Colo., Aug. 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
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(Newser) – House progressives have told President Obama that they “cannot vote for anything less” than health-care legislation with a “robust public option”—all but threatening a showdown if, as seems likely, the White House doesn’t push for a public plan, Talking Points Memo reports. The California lawmakers who head the Congressional Progressive Caucus have asked for a meeting with Obama to discuss the issue “as soon as possible.”

“Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, a public option built on the Medicare provider system and with reimbursement based on Medicare rates—not negotiated rates—is unacceptable,” wrote Lynn Woolsey and Raul Grijalva. The matter could lead to a “rift in the Democratic Party,” TPM notes. Two House committees passed legislation with public options informed by Medicare, but the Energy and Commerce Committee plan lacks it.