July 17th, 2009
02:15 PM ET
5 years ago

Senators urge slowdown in health care reform push

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Six key senators – three Democrats, one independent and two moderate Republicans – sent a letter to Senate leaders calling for a slowdown in the push for a health care overhaul, in light of the Congressional Budget Office's assessment that the Democratic plan currently being considered would not cut medical costs

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"We believe taking additional time to achieve a bipartisan result is critical for legislation that affects 17 percent of our economy and every individual in the U.S.," read the letter, signed by Democrats Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu and Ron Wyden. independent Joe Lieberman and Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who also said they were "firmly committed to enactment of comprehensive reform this year."

The letter echoes concerns raised by many conservative Democrats on the House side.

Full text of the letter after the jump.

Dear Senators Reid and McConnell:

In the current debate about our health care system, we are firmly committed to enactment of comprehensive reform this year. That reform must reduce premiums and administrative costs, expand choices, and increase coverage for all Americans. We are eager to work constructively with Senate leadership and agree that this is an historic opportunity which makes it imperative to proceed thoughtfully and responsibly. Our efforts will affect virtually every American.

The American people expect us to adopt comprehensive health reform that addresses the priorities we have outlined without detrimentally affecting those who have health insurance or increasing the national debt. This week, Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf testified that the currently introduced health reform bills will not reduce costs. We are faced with the dual challenges of pressing ahead to pass legislation by the end of the year and to produce the reform the American people need.

We appreciate the work that has been done by Senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Finance committees, but in view of the Budget Director's statement, there is much heavy lifting ahead. We support the efforts of Finance Committee members to produce a bipartisan bill, despite calls from both sides of the aisle to rush forward or delay indefinitely. While we are committed to providing relief for American families as quickly as possible, we believe taking additional time to achieve a bipartisan result is critical for legislation that affects 17 percent of our economy and every individual in the U.S.

We look forward to working with you to develop legislation that is vital to the well-being of the American people and urge you to resist timelines which prevent us from achieving the best result. This opportunity is rare and the impact will last for generations.

Sincerely,

Ben Nelson
United States Senator

Olympia J. Snowe
United States Senator

Joseph I. Lieberman
United States Senator

Susan M. Collins
United States Senator

Mary L. Landrieu
United States Senator

Ron Wyden
United States Senator


Filed under: Ben Nelson • Health care • Joe Lieberman • Mary Landrieu • Olympia Snowe • Susan Collins
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. dg

    this is trying to be raced through.. another bad choice for america. so when this dosnt work. is it going to be another misreading. the liberals excuse for another screwup on thier part

    July 17, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. Mississippi Mike

    Good idea. Let everyone actually read the bill, get come cost estimates, measure public support and then vote. Isn't that how a Democracy is supposed to work?

    July 17, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Steve (the real one)

    Sanity at last!

    July 17, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Simon/Orlando

    I think that we need to push this thing through ASAP before anyboy realizes what the costs are going to be. After it's done we can just start taxing the crap out of the wealthy to pay for the cost over runs.

    July 17, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. Tee NC

    wow something out of DC that makes sense.

    July 17, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    Take your time folks.

    In fact, take the whole month of August. There's nothing else on your schedule for that time. Give full-time to the issue. Earn what you are paid. Too many vacation days throughout the year. Earn your pay.

    July 17, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Predicta

    Looks like HC reform won't be done this year, that's for sure. Looks like too many Dems are worried about their jobs if they screw this up or pass it without reading it first.

    July 17, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. Good Job Obama

    I'm sure the "Democrats" want a slowdown because they need to find a way to protect the rip-off artists we call a healthcare system. These private companies have expensive, purposly inaccurate records that leave most of us in paper-trail hell for months clearing up their mistakes in billing. Let private healthcare go under. They are no better than the giant banks and they are bleeding most of us dry. We need small business to create new jobs and new industry but it's suppressed by big insurance. Wake up people! Dems and Repubs alike are joined at the hip to these billionaires profiting from out sickness. It's disgusting.

    July 17, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Toby Kent

    Let's make it easy on everyone...just put every American on the same insurance policy that members of Congress have. I understand it's quite remarkable, as is their retirement package.

    July 17, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Senators Ben Nelson, Olympia J. Snowe, Joseph I. Lieberman, Susan M. Collins, Mary L. Landrieu, Ron Wyden

    The President gave you a deadline when he wants this bill on his desk. Find a solution. Everything needs to be on the table. Co-op, public option, tax the wealthy, etc. Please pass this legislation this year!!!

    July 17, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. AndrewCPA

    I am glad there are some Senators who are thinking and not just voting to pass it because President Obama wants it a done deal before Aug. I hope Congress will take notice and take their time to review this and look at some of root casues of why healthcare is out of control. They keep forgeting Tort reform. Also, if this passes then Congress and the President should be required to be on the same great plan.

    July 17, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. Well Oh Well

    I have to agree with the letter. I do not want something hastily put together that will not help. I did vote for change, but not debt. We want reform of the health care system not massive debt. I do not understand how paying more for what I already have is reform...

    July 17, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Julia Byrd- Hayden Idaho

    Slow down, our health care system is a total mess. It should be a crime to get rich off the sick and dying. Disgraceful. Also, we have are not the best in the world, we ran 37 th in the world, go to the World Health organization and look it up. We need a one payor plan like other countries that put their citizens first, not the almight dollar, and I didn' appreicate watching your stupid CNN reporter this morning, I think his name is John Roberts, making fun of President Obama's plan. He is totally insensitive to the feelings of people that are sich and have no insurance. You know John, what goes around, comes around.

    1 France
    2 Italy
    3 San Marino
    4 Andorra
    5 Malta
    6 Singapore
    7 Spain
    8 Oman
    9 Austria
    10 Japan
    11 Norway
    12 Portugal
    13 Monaco
    14 Greece
    15 Iceland
    16 Luxembourg
    17 Netherlands
    18 United Kingdom
    19 Ireland
    20 Switzerland
    21 Belgium
    22 Colombia
    23 Sweden
    24 Cyprus
    25 Germany
    26 Saudi Arabia
    27 United Arab Emirates
    28 Israel
    29 Morocco
    30 Canada
    31 Finland
    32 Australia
    33 Chile
    34 Denmark
    35 Dominica
    36 Costa Rica
    37 United States of America
    38 Slovenia

    July 17, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Julia Byrd- Hayden Idaho

    Slow down?, our health care system is a total mess. It should be a crime to get rich off the sick and dying. Disgraceful. Also, we have are not the best in the world, we ran 37 th in the world, go to the World Health organization and look it up. We need a one payor plan like other countries that put their citizens first, not the almight dollar, and I didn' appreicate watching your stupid CNN reporter this morning, I think his name is John Roberts, making fun of President Obama's plan. He is totally insensitive to the feelings of people that are sich and have no insurance. You know John, what goes around, comes around.

    1 France
    2 Italy
    3 San Marino
    4 Andorra
    5 Malta
    6 Singapore
    7 Spain
    8 Oman
    9 Austria
    10 Japan
    11 Norway
    12 Portugal
    13 Monaco
    14 Greece
    15 Iceland
    16 Luxembourg
    17 Netherlands
    18 United Kingdom
    19 Ireland
    20 Switzerland
    21 Belgium
    22 Colombia
    23 Sweden
    24 Cyprus
    25 Germany
    26 Saudi Arabia
    27 United Arab Emirates
    28 Israel
    29 Morocco
    30 Canada
    31 Finland
    32 Australia
    33 Chile
    34 Denmark
    35 Dominica
    36 Costa Rica
    37 United States of America
    38 Slovenia

    July 17, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Matt from Richmond VA

    Translation, we don't want to do anything!
    If it doesn't get done now it never will and these Senators know that. They simply want to put it off again for the sake of their own re-elections. They care more for their own careers than they do the American People.
    These Senators are cowards in my opinion.

    July 17, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Julia Byrd- Hayden Idaho

    corrected version.

    Slow down? Our health care system is a total mess. It should be a crime to get rich off the sick and dying. Disgraceful. Also, we are not the best in the world, we rank 37 th in the world, go to the World Health organization and look it up. We need a one payor plan like other countries that put their citizens first, not the almight dollar, and I didn' appreicate watching your stupid CNN reporter this morning, I think his name is John Roberts, making fun of President Obama's plan. He is totally insensitive to the feelings of people that are sick and have no insurance. You know John, what goes around, comes around.

    1 France
    2 Italy
    3 San Marino
    4 Andorra
    5 Malta
    6 Singapore
    7 Spain
    8 Oman
    9 Austria
    10 Japan
    11 Norway
    12 Portugal
    13 Monaco
    14 Greece
    15 Iceland
    16 Luxembourg
    17 Netherlands
    18 United Kingdom
    19 Ireland
    20 Switzerland
    21 Belgium
    22 Colombia
    23 Sweden
    24 Cyprus
    25 Germany
    26 Saudi Arabia
    27 United Arab Emirates
    28 Israel
    29 Morocco
    30 Canada
    31 Finland
    32 Australia
    33 Chile
    34 Denmark
    35 Dominica
    36 Costa Rica
    37 United States of America
    38 Slovenia

    July 17, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Zero.

    This dont look healthy for Obama. Kill the drama. Sack Obama.

    July 17, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. Welcome to The BoBo Show

    We cant do that then you may actually have time to read it and see what a scam it is like Cap & Trade and the Porkulous package.
    Where is the transperency and posting of all the bills????

    It appears the liberals are the ones with the bad home loans because they didnt Read what they were getting into. I think BoBo was a Mortagage Broker prior to his scam run. "Oh trust me just sign it I am here for you" Nice work sheep

    July 17, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. Julia Byrd- Hayden Idaho

    Power to the People, if everyone would register to vote, that's all you people without health insurance, and everyone that has a family member without health insurance, or knows someone without health insurance, we could vote this bunch of greedy losers our of office. See the list above. I put Liberman at the top of the list.

    July 17, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. no

    Let us remember we already pay for the uninsured to get medical coverage so....

    If this bill is supposed to save all of us money by providing insurance to the uninsured why is it necessary to raise taxes to pay for the reform?

    Did we really need the CBO's assessment to tell us we are not going to "save" any money with the new health plan?

    July 17, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. Gator

    These senators need to be commended for having the sense to slow down this madness.obama,pelosi and reid surely don't. They don't have a clue about running this country. They could not collectively run a hot dog wagon and turn a profit. They have already been told by their own people that this reform will break the country, yet they just keep on grandstanding.Maybe financial ruin of the U.S. is their motive after all.All of them should be replaced as soon as possible

    July 17, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. Kelby In Houston, TX

    "We believe taking additional time to achieve a bipartisan result is critical for legislation that affects 17 percent of our economy and every individual in the U.S.,"

    We tried that with the stimulus bill, we made several changes and watered it down to appease the irrelevent republicans, and what did that get us?
    We know that the healthcare industry has a powerful lobby and strong relations with our Congress. We know about the large sums of money that health insurance companies have given to members of congress. We know that the money affects your decision. We know that health insurance companies don't want us to have universal healthcare. That would get in the way of them fleecing the people and taking all of our money in exchange for health.

    KNOW THIS! We want universal healthcare. WE WILL GET IT! If these Democratic Senators are standing in the way of this progress. The people WILL vote you out and install someone who will get us universal healthcare. If you don't believe, wait till 2010 and see what your opponents will be saying in their commercials and during debate.

    Universal Healthcare is the will of the majority of the American People

    July 17, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Bingo

    Whether it is passed quickly or slowly, whatever health care program is put in place MUST apply to all members of Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary and all members of their staffs. There must NOT be an exemption or waiver for the government members or employees. Those in charge must follow the same rules and policies as the rest of the American citizens/

    July 17, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. NS0710

    We need to get rid of Nelson, Lieberman, Landrieu (who I pushed for when she struggled for re-election) and Wyden. Plain and simple. So called "blue dogs" might be the death of ANY reform.

    July 17, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. judesuper

    SLOW DOWN? What is wrong with you senators? Are you truly asking the American people to continue to wait for health care reform?

    We want health care reform that includes the public option NOW. So it comes down to; you not voting for us, we definately won't be voting for you.

    2010 will be the election where we kick all of you that haven't backed what we want to the curb, regardless of party affiliation!

    July 17, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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