Friday, September 4, 2009

Letter from Progressive Caucus to President Obama on Healthcare Reform

The Honorable Barack Obama President of the United States of America

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C.

Dear President Obama:

Thank you for continuing to work with Members of Congress to draft a health reform bill that will provide the real health care reform this country needs. We look forward to meeting with you regarding retaining a robust public option in any final health reform bill and request that that meeting take place as soon as possible.

Public opinion polls continue to show that a majority of Americans want the choice of a robust public plan and we stand in solidarity with them. We continue to support the robust public option that was reported out of the Committees on Ways and Means and Education and Labor and will not vote for a weakened bill on the House Floor or returning from a Conference with the Senate.

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. A plan with negotiated rates would ensure higher costs for the public plan, and would do nothing to achieve the goal of providing choice and competition to keep rates down. The public plan with set rates saves $75 billion, which could be lost if rates are negotiated with providers. Further, this public option must be available immediately and must not be contingent upon any trigger.

Mr. President, the need for reform is urgent. Every day, 14,000 Americans lose their health care coverage. We must have health care reform that will effectively bring down costs and significantly expand access. A health reform bill without a robust public option will not achieve the health reform this country so desperately needs. We cannot vote for anything less.

We look forward to meeting with you to discuss the importance of your support for a robust public plan, which we encourage you to reiterate in your address to the Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday.


Co-Chairs Lynn Woolsey Raul Grijalva

Congressional Progressive Caucus 83 Strong and Growing: Open to New and Different Ideas

Vice Chairs Diane Watson Keith Ellison Sheila Jackson-Lee Mazie Hirono Dennis Kucinich Donna Edwards Alan Grayson Senate Members Bernie Sanders Tom Udall House Members Neil Abercrombie Tammy Baldwin Xavier Becerra Earl Blumenauer Robert Brady Corrine Brown Michael Capuano Andre Carson Donna Christensen Judy Chu Yvette Clarke William “Lacy” Clay Emanuel Cleaver Steve Cohen John Conyers Elijah Cummings Danny Davis Peter DeFazio Rosa DeLauro Sam Farr Chaka Fattah Bob Filner Barney Frank Marcia Fudge Luis Gutierrez John Hall Phil Hare Alcee Hastings Maurice Hinchey Michael Honda Jesse Jackson, Jr. Eddie Bernice Johnson Hank Johnson Marcy Kaptur Carolyn Kilpatrick Barbara Lee John Lewis David Loebsack Ben Ray Lujan

Carolyn Maloney Ed Markey Eric Massa Jim McDermott James McGovern George Miller Gwen Moore Jim Moran Jerrold Nadler Eleanor Holmes-Norton John Olver Frank Pallone Ed Pastor Donald Payne Chellie Pingree Jared Polis Charles Rangel Laura Richardson Lucille Roybal-Allard Bobby Rush Linda Sanchez Jan Schakowsky Jose Serrano Louise Slaughter Pete Stark Bennie Thompson John Tierney Nydia Velazquez Maxine Waters Mel Watt Henry Waxman Peter Welch

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