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. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    If this can help 33 million people without insurance, we should at least have the discussion.

    December 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Conan the Libertarian

    You mean to say Screamin' Howie Dean is still in politics?

    December 15, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. RTB

    I agree with Dean. This is not a Health care reform bill for the people. It's a big time win for the insurance industry.

    When will the Democrats be true Democrats and do the will of the people?

    Weed out the cross dressing republicans who are posing as democrats.
    Get rid of the Scumbags like Lieberman and others who are wasting everybody's time.

    December 15, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. W Spivey

    Joe, Adolf is looking for you.

    December 15, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. victim of the false prophet OBAMA

    Does anyone even listen to this clown anymore ???

    December 15, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  6. Rickster

    Howie, Howie, Howie.....you just don't get it. That loser Obama will do ANYTHING just to get this passed. He has been such a dismal failure at everything that he has tried to do so far that he just needs to get something passed, even if it doesn't look anything like what he initially wanted so that he can claim a victory at something.

    Three more years and Obama can get back to organizing playground soccer games or whatever it is that community organizers do.

    December 15, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Average guy in Red-State Kansas

    Counting the members of Congress, the President and the U.S. Supreme court, there are 545 people who control virtually every facet of our lives. And then there is Joe Lieberman. How can this guy wrangle the other members of the Senate so effectively?

    The fact that we don't have a clean, workable, effective and inexpensive national health care plan is entirely their fault. They cannot lay the blame at the feet of "the economy", "insurance company lobbyists" or "regulations".

    So, my question is this: Why in the hell don't the remaining 300,000,000 of us throw these bums out and find courageous people who'll do the right thing?

    It's a simple reality that the collective vision of the President and Congress extend only as far as the next election!

    December 15, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. WIlly Brown

    Vote health care in 2009 and will vote your duffs out in 2010.

    December 15, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. mms55

    i agree with him,and then they need to strip joe liberman of his commities.

    December 15, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. WIlly Brown

    Vote health care in 2009 and will vote your rumps out in 2010.

    December 15, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. mike

    It's a sad day for American's that the health care reform bill has been sabotaged singlehandedly by Lieberman. The Republicans are voting "No" because they don't want the Democrats to get credit for reforming Health Care. They want to take back control of the Senate. Lieberman, on the other hand, is vindictive and trying to take down the democrats because Connecticut ousted him from the Democratic Party. The old saying, Keep your Friend close but your enemy closer. Lieberman is trying to stay in the loop posing as a sheep with the democrats but truly is a wolf. He stabs the democrats in the back every chance he gets. It's time for him to be stripped of his chairmanship. And it's time for Reid to push thru the Senate bill with the public option. There is other ways to make this happen! If the democrats do not pass this bill their days as the majority are numbered.

    December 15, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. JBS

    I agree with Howard Dean 120%.

    Sinister Lieberman must go!!!

    December 15, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. mms55

    in the state of illinois i cant get help from medicade unless i'm disabled or have kids under 18,all my unemploment goes to rent and thats it.ican't even buy my meds.so this bill doesn't help me at all.

    December 15, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. B

    If this goes down again , it will be a NATIONAL DISGRACE..

    The Republicans are still destroying this country as they have for the last eight years !

    December 15, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  15. S M R

    Time to go Reconciliation and jam it down their "Corporate Driven throats.

    December 15, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. phoenix86

    The Dean Scream against rationale debate before the government expropriates 15% of the US economy. Typical leftist hysteria.

    December 15, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. Tony T

    Can't believe I actually agree with this loon. KILL THE BILL. It was horrible to start with, and the more they play with it its just getting worse. I pray they go the nuclear option way!!! The Republicans will have a field day, objecting to everything in it that is not budgetary. Meaning it would look like swiss cheese when they were done with it. Then the loons in the house wouldn't vote for it, since it wouldn't have the public option. After going nuclear, Reid would seal the fates of all Dems next Nov, even more then they are sealed now. Love it, the American working people, win one for a change.

    December 15, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. George Bush - Worst President Ever

    "Code Red Rally" Republicans. "Tea Baggers". We found something that the G NO Pers can do. Come up with slogans. Now if they would only do something, anything, that would improve the lives of the Americans that they are supposed to represent, that would be something. Saying No, No, No, No, and supporting the status quo doesn't get it done.

    December 15, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. Susan

    Calling the President of the United States of America dumb names is so very unpatriotic and extremely rude. Some of you disgust me!

    Perhaps Howard Dean is right, but it's a sad, sad day for America if that's true!

    December 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. OldUncleTom

    2 choices:

    Pass what we can, and amend it when it proves inadequate to the goals of reform;

    Kill the bill, and wait another 15-20 years, with the costs and unnecessary deaths that will follow, until we have another Congress willing to take the political risks involved in solving the problem.

    I hate to say it, but I prefer the first option to the second.

    December 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. Tony T

    The two biggest pieces of reform required, big pharma and trial lawyers just happen to be the special buds of the Dums. No wonder tort reform and pharma control is missing from this, the Dums are sickening and I am glad they are getting embarrassed by this. NOV 2010, the end.

    December 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. JMikey54

    I want a public option to be included in the health reform legislation that is being discussed in the Senate as do all Americans who care about their fellow citizens. But I am resigned to see a bill that does not include a public option in order to get the other good measures passed into law. Maybe in the next congress conditions will be better for passing a public option than they are now. I am convinced that we need it if not a single payer system.

    December 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  23. Keith in Austin

    Obozocare has now morphed into nothing more than a Big Government spending bill without a public option, major cuts in Medicare, reduced patient freedom, no tort reform, no availablity to purchase insurance across State lines, etc. etc.

    No GOP input was allowed inside Reid's closed doors and regretably 60 Democrat votes now appear to be bought off via Barry's Chicago strong arming yesterday including Lieberman who caved like a house of cards.

    The only true benefactors of Obama's Healthcare reform are liberal beaurocrats that hunger for political power and European-style Socialism.

    The good news is that this historic vote will ultimately lead to their demise!

    Americans are FED UP with tax and spend politics forced down their throats. THE PEOPLE will be heard and our supposed "Democrat Leaders" will rue the day. This is an absolute truth my friends!

    December 15, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  24. John E Lexington KY

    It's a simple matter – which is more important, covering the health of the American people or protecting the profits of huge corporations who hold death over the heads of the population?

    Talk about national security. It's embarrassing to be a citizen of a nation that places no value on our well-being. We're just suckers to be used by anyone with enough money to choke the Senate with lobbying.

    Strip the Senate of any health coverage at all and let them forage for themselves. Strip them of salaries too until they do the nation's business.

    December 15, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. lila

    Joe really stuck it to the liberals. It's personal.. not principle.. the Medicare extension was his idea. Joe will not vote for anything liberals like. Period. And if the democrats think that Joe will support them in the climate bill.. they need to remember they also thought he would support his own health care idea. Until the liberals liked it.

    December 15, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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