December 15th, 2009
04:52 PM ET
9 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. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Connecticut can run the Anti-Christ against Lieberman and I would make donations to it's campaign!

    But I agree, be done with health reform and just kick down the road, again.

    Why lose mid-terms over this current watered down mess.

    December 15, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. Cris

    It is not the governments responsibility to provide health care for you. It is your responsibility. It is your responsibility to take care of your family's health care. If you can't, don't have a family. I shouldn't have to work and pay taxes to pay for you that are too stupid, lazy and whiny to take care of your self. Maybe if you can't afford health care you should cut out the cable or satallite TV, the cell phones, computers , the internet and 52" TV's. If you can't afford insurance and you're on-line I have no sympathy for you. I'm a paramedic and I see these kinds of things everyday. People that complain about how poor they are but have more than I do. Now the dems want to take more of my tax money and give it away. This country was founded on self reliance but now it's all about what can the government do for me. If you want free health care, wealth redistribution and a nanny state, MOVE TO EUROPE!! People who work hard and pay taxes in this country are sick of you and your kind.

    December 15, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. Ripped off voter

    I cannot believe that I am agreeing with Howie! When the American People voted for Obama, we voted for change NOT more of the same. Obama ran on a platform of universal access to health care. I am sick and tired of the insurance companies & big business running things in this country. The Democrats should develop some spine & tell Joe Lieberman, the traitor that he is, to go to hell! We expected some form of a public option. If there is no public option, then I would rather see the bill go down in defeat. The president has put this artificial Christmas deadline on the bill. I totally disagree with him on that deadline. If it takes until the new year for a better bill to be created, then so be it! No bill is better than a bad one! If the Feds can't do it, then let's do it on the state level.

    December 15, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  4. Sahar

    Senator Joe Lieberman is a menstral cramp. I heard he walked three miles to vote, but I bet he got a ride home. Talk about trying to create a Lincoln moment! Does he often like to say "no," just because everyone else is saying "yes?" Or perhaps time and again he finds he's the ONLY one in a group holding a particular point of view. Does he thinks this makes him a free thinker? He's a Bush/Cheney butt kisser.

    December 15, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. Ilona Proud Canadian

    It is time to cut the UMBILICAL CORD between Lie berman
    and the Democrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Joe Lie berman is only looking out for Joe Lie berman and
    his wife whose pocket is being filled with $millions from
    many many private health care providers!

    December 15, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. W l Jones

    Something fuzzy about this story it began at the finish line and end there. Doctors without border we need Doctor within our border who will stand up for the American people

    December 15, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  7. Chanel

    I hate to agree with Dean, but... kill the bill. Get a public option or medicare buy in and use reconciliation. Without those, this bill makes it mandatory to have health insurance, but leaves us at the mercy of the insurance companies to raise prices or drop us at will. I don't like this at all.

    December 15, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Dillon

    If you ever work for a Doctor, you'd find out that insurance companies likewise know nothing about medicine.

    December 15, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  9. Michael, Gallatin, TN

    I agree with Dean. Let the bill die and make sure every uninsured person in the country knows it was the GOP that killed health care reform. Drum that into the heads of every voting American every hour on the hour from now until the mid-term elections.

    December 15, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. unemployed by Obama

    kill the bill is right, but a 51 vote majority will corrupt America more and will never lead to a consensus it will lead to what the Democrates are trying to get now, the Obama Dictatorship. Americans dont want a dictatorship nor do we want the traitor Obama as our leader.

    December 15, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. Enough

    Kill this lousy bill and start over................with real reform.

    December 15, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. Mark

    Nobody wants the left wing liberals in charge either..

    December 15, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. terry,va

    Dean has more sense than I have given him credit. He knows, as does most Americans, that this is a terrible bill. The problem with this, and all future give away bills, is that only 50% of us pay taxes. What are you free loaders going to do when the tax payers become less and less?

    December 15, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  14. Jim

    I think Democrats should pass this bill and put the public option in a rider to a defense bill. It only costs $3 Billion over 10 years and it can be added later.

    December 15, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. IKHAN

    without the Public Option or 55 yrs age for buying into Medicare the Health Care Bill would be meaningless for the millions of uninsured Americans.
    It seems that those who work for big business & their own welfare have managed to deprive American people of their right – 'universal health care'.
    Sen. Joe Lieberman & Co have succeeded in killing the bill as it was meant to be. God help us.

    December 15, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Dean is half right, it is time to kill the Senate bill. But he's half wrong too–resurrecting the House bill is about as imbecilic an idea as the bill itself is.

    Only about 40% of American voters want what Congress is trying to saddle us with, and more than a majority actively don't want it.

    December 15, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Eleanor, Port Orchard, WA

    The American public desperately needs health care reform, health cost reform, insurance reform, and tort reform. But as long as we are represented by a bunch of crooks, frauds, and self-interested scoundrels like LIEberman, and the rest of the GOP clowns on the one side, and weak kneed, weak willed, and lilly livered liberals on the other side, we will continue get screwed. When will the people of this country STOP voting against their own best interests, by electing these buffoons and hoodlums?

    December 15, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. Judith

    Lieberman is an absolute Judas and backstabber. He once supported single payer universal care and now he's become an agent of the vile obstructionist Republicans.

    December 15, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  19. Obama-Mama

    Dean should stick to practicing medicine.....

    December 15, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. Keith in Austin

    I'm thoroughly disgusted with incumbant beaurocrats! GOP and Dems alike!

    Vote them ALL out! We The People need to take our Country back! Taxation without representation is clearly evident when the majority of Americans are completely opposed to Obummercare. Left,Right and Moderats! Yet, they will pass it only for political gain and capital. Those benefitting the most are Politicians that have clearly exempted themselves entirely. Pitiful pitiful pitiful!!!!!!

    December 15, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  21. Gerry NH

    This bill if passed will kill americans. More people will be covered and there is no health care. Get it right or don't let it pass.

    December 15, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. Jeff

    I understand Dean's perspective, however, at this juncture the focus should be to pass the best possible health care legislation, tackle other very important legislation, and work hard to gain a wider margin majority victory in the next election. Then once this is gained, reintroduce and pass real health care reform that the Goofy Obstructionists Party, traitor Lieberman, gutless "conservative Democrats", and insurance and big pharma lobbyists cannot interfere with.

    December 15, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  23. mjm

    "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? "

    What's with the dramatics? Every lib has the insurance companies and the republicans killing people.

    Insurance companies like BCBS and UHC cover over 100 million people and pay millions of dollars in med bills per year. They save lives by flipping the bill. They are not perfect, but they do more good than harm. This country needs them to not only pay the bills but they provide thousands of jobs. So knock it off already.

    December 15, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. Tina

    Obama and obamacare are both now failures.

    Hillary was right !!

    December 15, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  25. David

    This is simple all right: letting businesses do their business and receive profits, or letting the government decide that people have a right to a material commodity, that must be produced by human effort, and ensuring that they receive it through some sort of socialistic program, however watered down.

    To paraphrase Ayn Rand, health care does not occur in nature. Someone must provide it. If people have a RIGHT to it, that means that health care and insurance providers must be enslaved.

    There is NO RIGHT TO HEALTH CARE.

    December 15, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6