December 15th, 2009
04:52 PM ET
3 months ago

Dean: Time to 'kill the Senate bill'

Howard Dean told an interviewer Tuesday it was time to scrap the Senate health care bill and head back to the House.
Howard Dean told an interviewer Tuesday it was time to scrap the Senate health care bill and head back to the House.

Washington (CNN) – As 'Code Red Rally' conservatives hit Capitol Hill today in a bid to kill the Democrats' health care reform bill, the same message came from a voice from the other end of the political spectrum: former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

There have been increasing complaints from liberals in recent days, as what they consider key elements of President Obama's health care reform plan – including a public health insurance option, and a compromise proposal that would allow individuals to buy in to the Medicare system at age 55 – have apparently been jettisoned to win the support of conservative Democrats, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, and moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe. Some have said the bill has been so watered-down, it may be time to abandon it entirely.

Dean – a doctor who has long made health care reform a signature issue – told Vermont Public Radio in an interview set to air later Tuesday afternoon that the proposal being weighed by the Senate signaled "the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate."

Dean had said earlier that he would be willing to support a bill without a public option, as long as it included a Medicare buy-in provision. If Democrats remove a Medicare buy-in measure to satisfy Lieberman, the bill isn't worth backing, said Dean – and congressional leaders should start over at square one.

"If Barack Obama's healthcare plan gets changed to exclude a public option like Medicare, then it is not healthcare reform," he said in a post on his Web site. "Legislation rises and falls on whether the American public is allowed to choose a universally available public option or not."

On Tuesday, Dean seemed to suggest the bill had already fallen. "This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate," he said. "Honestly, the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House."

VPR also said the former Vermont governor had suggested it was time to consider employing the controversial budget reconciliation procedure, which would also require a simple majority of 51 votes.

One of the central issues of Dean's presidential run in 2004 was a call for universal health care.

–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story


Filed under: Health care • Howard Dean
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. Obama Victim

    I found myself in the rather embarassing position of agreeing with Howard Dean....never the less........Kill the Bill

    December 15, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. Moderate Democrat

    By wanting to 'kill' the senate bill, they admit to wanting to 'kill' americans. Which is no surprise to those that are aware of what republicans stand for, killing americans.

    December 15, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. ib

    As usual Dean gets the facts backwords. It is the democratic plan that will kill the health care in this country. I'm glad I didn't have to use Dean as a dr. since he is pushing this nonsense.

    December 15, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. Bob in Pa

    Its time to kill both the Senate and the House bills.

    December 15, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. Obama-Mama

    There has to be something done to this sinister Lieberman. They need to get him out of there....he has his head stuck up the Republicans tail/the party of no...This will all come back to bite them.

    December 15, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Don't they sell arugula there?

    except obama is a realist, he will be the 1st pres to get a giant bill without reconciliation (a la reagan and bush tax cuts). he will then do the same on climate and so on and so forth and howard the ducks life will be tons better

    December 15, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. LIE-BERMAN

    "I didn't change my mind on the Medicare buy-in," he said Tuesday. But circumstances, he argued, had changed greatly over the past nine years. Among other things, the country now has huge deficits - as opposed to a budget surplus - and Medicare is now on verge of bankruptcy, he said.
    --
    You mean the deficits he caused by voting for war? So Lieberman has been killing Medicare for 9 years and continues to today

    December 15, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. Ben in Texas

    Amen, Brother Dean. We could have been a first world country with single-payer health insurance, like all civilized countries have had for years. We could have been as well insured as our military, the president, and congress.

    Unfortunately, our congressmen considers themselves more important than we who elected them. So, we get to pay high premiums to bloated insurance companies who are exempt from anti-trust laws and in it purely for greed. Or else, we get nothing but bankruptcy and an early grave.

    December 15, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  9. Bill or Vin from Philly

    Democrats are in control and should not bend over. This bill is just another giveaway to big buisness. if there is no real change I am done with the Democrat party..... bye bye

    December 15, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. Reggie

    Dean is merely another ultra liberal out-of-touch with what the Amrican people really want. It's a good thing he is not up for reelection. He would loose, too.

    December 15, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. MikeH

    There's money to be made with off of sick and dying Americans.

    The wealthy elite, the fat cat insurance corporations, the Wall St Banking financeers, don't care about America and Americans, just let the money roll in, no matter how, no matter who has to die. Plunder and looting of America continues. The American Middle class is going to die a sad and miserable death.

    Obama, I voted for you, I expect better from you than this. Howard Dean is right, Howard Dean is the voice of the huddled masses now, not Obama.

    December 15, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  12. Pelosi's a see-you-en-tea

    INTERUPTION: These are DEMOCRATS calling for Obamessiah's failure on this one...you can continue on with your bickering now....

    December 15, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. KBenkeser

    Dear Harry Reid,

    With friends like John Dean – who needs enemies?

    Regards,

    A Concerned Voter

    December 15, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. true

    Obama will make it passed. He just wants to pass something, so he can claim he did some historical change. He is doing everything just for his win in 2012, not for this country's benefit at all.

    December 15, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. Kim

    Finally someone with a backbone!! No public option/No Reform!!!!

    December 15, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. Four and The Door

    I agree with Howard Dean on 2 points. We need health care reform and this bill is not it. It's important enough to go back to square one. But this time, make lowering the cost one of the main objectives. Our economy is on life support and we don't need this working against it.

    December 15, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. Jane/Seattle

    I'm with Howard Dean on this one! Give us a 5 page document that does simple legislation without fancy wording. Get rid of Insurance companies and their influence. Get rid of this manditory crap that feeds money to the crooks! I won't buy it no matter what you do, Government Hacks! Lieberman and Blue Dogs: REPRESENT THE PEOPLE – NOT YOUR BOTTOM LINES! Go, Howard Dean!

    December 15, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. Jimmy James

    Good kill the bill. In it's rush to pass it, they have tossed out regard for actual reform and costs in the name of a bill. Obama needs it to pass no matter what a piece of crap it is. Shows there is no change. Republicans band together to get things done while a Majority, the Democrats, fight amongst themselves and nothing gets done. Call the republicans the party of no all you want. Apparently they get things done while Pelosi and Reid can't do anything.

    December 15, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. Kim

    What is Obama and Reid doing? We don't want Lieberman's healthcare reform, we want the public option. Please don't abandon us now!

    December 15, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. RobK

    Here are five simple things to try to rein in health care costs, before resorting to a complete takeover by the government: 1) cap medical liability lawsuits, 2) remove the tax benefit for employers providing health insurance, 3) allow interstate purchase of health insurance, 4) allow the re-importation of drugs, and 5) forbid doctors/hospitals from charging lower rates to people with insurance.

    December 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Kim

    So I guess I should be donating my money to Lieberman since he's making all the decision.

    December 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. normajean

    I have tremendous respect for Howard Dean and his straight thinking,straight talking way of dealing with this nations problems but I have to admit that when he talks this way, I become scared for the millions of people who have no medical care at all. Layoffs in every phase of our working world have left families with small children nowhere to turn. Don't say "Emergency Room at your local hospital. They are already overflowing and going broke. I don't understand how the opponents { solidly covererd with government money} can care so little about their fellow man {and women and children}. I've never been aware of such cold indifference in our society. This does not bode well for all of us and that does include YOU.

    December 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. Kim

    So I guess I should be donating my money to Lieberman since he's making all the decisions. Obama & Reid are such a disappointment!!!

    December 15, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. Palpatine must go

    Pass the bill Senator Palpatine gutted.

    Then attach a public option rider to every piece of legislation that sends American tax dollars to the middle east.

    I'm sure the very principled Senator Palpatine will know which way to vote.

    December 15, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. Dar

    I dont beleive what I just read, Dean standing up to Odumbo.................................................WOW. Kind of makes me wonder what he wants now. Hummmmmm if Dean is telling the truth, God bless him for saving our stupid butt's

    December 15, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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