Related video: Ross holds town hall, gets standing ovation
“At the end of the day, there’s going to have to be some common ground here,” Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas said on CNN’s State of the Union, when asked about viability of a public insurance option in any reform legislation.
“The reality is that it takes sixty percent to get this done in the Senate. It’s probably going to have to be bipartisan in the Senate – which I think it should be,” Ross said.
“I know that a lot of members of my party in the House don’t want to hear this,” said Ross, but “my guess is about 90 percent [of the final bill presented to the White House] will be reflected from what’s in the Senate Finance Committee bill.”
Ross also took the opportunity to lay down his guiding principles for health care reform.
Related: Ross responds to RNC in radio ad
“I will not support a health care reform bill that is not deficit-neutral. Period,” Ross told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
“I will not force government-run health care on anyone; if there ever is government-run health care, the first ones to sign up should be the president and every member of Congress, including myself; You should be able to keep the insurance you’ve got today if you like it and always choose your own doctor; no federal funding for illegal immigrants or for abortion; and no rationing of health care."
In an apparent reference to a controversial - and sometimes misinterpreted –provision providing Medicare reimbursement for end-of-life counseling in a House version of health care reform legislation, Ross also said, “I will never vote for a bill to kill old people. Period.”
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Ross, and a few other Blue Dogs, used their positions on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to extract concessions from fellow Democrats that lowered the total price tag of the committee’s bill while providing some protection for the reimbursements received by rural hospitals in some Blue Dogs’ districts. The concessions agreed to by the House Democratic leadership triggered concern by more liberal members of the party, including the Congressional Black Caucus, over whether the committee’s version of the bill went far enough to provide enough coverage for those who currently don’t have health insurance.
Related: Health care in America