December 15th, 2009
04:52 PM ET
7 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. a

    i dont believe in politics... this country is runed my corporate america.. people weak up!!1 Obama has no control his just a picture.

    December 15, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. Mike

    Eliminate the federal health plan for senators and congressman, let them fend for themselves as we do in the morass that is our health care system, and you will see health care reform in the blink of an eye.

    December 15, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. MR RIGHT

    This bill was decided in backroom deals in typical washington style, Obama promised transparency and that all debate would be on CSPAN.
    LISTEN the people DO NOT WANT THIS either on the left, right, or in the middle. Lets start this over with a clear view of what is needed and work our way to a workable no cost solution.
    Why is this so over the top and complicated.

    December 15, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  4. T'SAH from Virginia

    TIME to KILL Dean's MOUTH!!!

    If you start all over – it will allow the REPUBLI-CAN'Ts more time to spread LIES!!

    December 15, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. Ken

    The bill doesn't need to be killed. Progressives need to calm down. If the bill contains ONE major bit of language, it would be increasing the medical ratio to 85 to 90%. That would, in essence, cap the profits of the insurance companies and bring down costs.

    Now, assuming Lieberman actually votes 'yes' (which I highly doubt, regardless of what the bill says), all Harry Reid needs to do is have a robust "Commissioners" amendment in the bill. The commissioners amendment will have provisions in it that would need to be addressed in conference (assuming the House votes 'yes' on the bill when it gets to them).

    Once the bill has been passed by both houses, the conference committee would get together to discuss the commissioners amendment. At that point, I believe a simple majority vote is all that's necessary.

    The key is TO GET A BILL PASSED, NOT killed.

    December 15, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  6. Cindy

    Don't kill the bill. It needs to pass to move on to the next step.

    December 15, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. gypsydaveywithablowtorch

    Unfortunately he's right. Time to pass real reform with a simple majority or move on to other issues.

    December 15, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  8. call me crazy

    Howard may be right. Kill the senate bill and fall back to the house bill. That would take away lieberman's ability to hold the country hostage by making them put in what the insurance companies that he represents want.

    December 15, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. PaulC

    If you want a bill that is approved by these turkeys you will be sorely disappointed. I strongly urge that any health care bill passed by these hacks include them. They should the same health care benefits that covers the rest of us. After all .. they are "public servants" and should enjoy our liberal benefits.

    December 15, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  10. GlenInPhx

    For the sake of argument, let's just say that we completely rolled over and allowed the Democrats to institute not only public option, but we went completely over to the dark side: single-payer.

    Can anybody with a straight face name a country with a population greater than 50 million people that has instituted single-payer in the last 40 years that isn't also experiencing spiralling, out of control health care costs? Please, somebody name ONE country that has done this successfully.

    December 15, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. Politcal Junkie

    This is pragmatism at work. Pragmatism will never succeed at making everyone happy. This proves majority of democrats are anything but liberal. Poor progressives thrown under the bus by Obama. This is why you should never embrace authoritarianism, be it Left wing or Right wing.

    Joe Lieberman is not a man of principle but a man of opportunity. like every politician before him and sadly every politician after. What opportunity do you see Howard Dean?

    December 15, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  12. NC

    Vote for the Republicans in 2010 and 2012. Vote the socialist / liberal democrats OUT....NO obamacare, No cap and trade, No more pork bills. Lets get the economy and JOBS for the American People first.

    December 15, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. Joe IsanAss

    He is right. It is too watered down. Kill the bill.

    December 15, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  14. Ohio Huh?

    Republicans have ONE goal, destroy HC reform, at any cost, and preserve the insurance companies and the status quo. They nearly destroyed our country for eight years are so single mindedly focused on winning the next election that they will NEVER do what is right for the country if they have to work with the President. They can't compliment him, approve of a single decision, agree with a single point; they must oppose EVERYTHING, AT ALL TIMES, TO ALL PEOPLE. That is the sorry state we now find ourselves in; asking Washington to work together for the common good when we know they NEVER WILL, in fact they CAN'T.

    December 15, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. A.B.

    I like Governor Dean, I read his book and found his points clear and cogent and I have met and spoken to him on the issue of healthcare reform. However, I think that he is misguided and wrong in advising senate Democrats to kill H.R. 3200 the healthcare bill. Despite the fact that this bill is flawed, it conveys a small step in the right direction towards real healthcare reform and that is better than no movement at all in that direction. Thre is alot at stake for all Democratic politicians including President Obama. There is also a lot at stake for all Americans, including me. Governor Dean is no longer an elected official who has the unenviable task of explaining to his constituents the reason for failing to pass healthcare reform legislation. He has the luxury of saying that the bill should be killed. President Obama and Democratic lawmakers have no such luxury and are tasked with burden of being accountable to their constituents. Failure to pass healthcare reform is not an option that any one can afford.

    December 15, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  16. jumbo

    gutless,,,,,,,your right gov dean .... the democrats are gutless ,,,get rid of all those so called democrats there just useless ,,, pitiful....

    December 15, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  17. Bugl3t in CA.

    I agree. This bill is a big Christmas present for the for-profit insurance companies and CEOs.

    It's time for single-payer. Remove the profit from health insurance and finally kick those blood-sucking insurance leeches to the curb.

    I don't understand why 57% of Americans is enough to elect a President but 57 senators isn't enough to get a job done. Enough, already.

    Let's put a clear choice before the people:

    1) Single payer, not for profit, like Medicare
    2) Public buy-in and subsidies for poverty level citizens into Congress's health plan
    3) business as usual

    I bet single-payer wins by 57%, minimum.

    December 15, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  18. trueblue

    I'm with Howard Dean; he should have been our President but our citizens are too stupid and are led by the MSM to reject anyone with common sense–there was no "scream" in Iowa in 2004.

    December 15, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  19. Ancient Texan

    I have no respect for Howard Dean, But Kill this debacle to save America. It will ruin health care and break the nation.

    December 15, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  20. Vic of New York

    I don't think it's time to kill the Healthcare Bill.

    I DO think it's time for voters to ban in front of Joe Lieberman's home and driveway and let everyone who enters know that they are entering the home of a Pariah and self-absorbed Snake.

    I DO think if voters travel to Washington and get in Lieberman's face and his wife's face and confronts him at every turn – Lieberman will begin feel the fear of betraying the people of Connecticut and the people of this country!

    December 15, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  21. X-Man

    Unfortunately, it now seems that the Democrats in the Senate plan to give in to the likes of Joe Lieberman and get rid of any type of public option in the health care reform bill including the Medicare expansion option so they can say they’ve passed a healthcare reform bill this year. After many decades and various attempts to pass healthcare reform is this the best we can do? Definitely not. We need to demand that our elected officials keep the public option in the bill. It’s not right to rush this through for political expediency. We’ve suffered and waited long enough for this momentous opportunity, and we refuse to waste it. A few more weeks to get it right is worth it. The “something is better than nothing” philosophy is not change I can believe in. As it stands, this is not compromise, it’s acquiescence.

    December 15, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  22. Mr. Dean should be the next president

    what a smart man

    December 15, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  23. Reggie

    Good-bye Dean. NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU SAY ANYMORE>

    December 15, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  24. GI Joe

    Cut aid to Israel and put the money toward health and jobs for Americans. It's our tax money.

    December 15, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  25. Joan

    Howard Dean is saying that if the health care lacks a public option or extended medicare then it is not really going to help the people who need and it might as well be scrapped. However, that is EXACTLY what the Republicans want. Remember when they said this would be Pres. Obama's Waterloo. They don't care at all about what is best for the people, they just want President Obama's plan to fail. That is very sad and greedy. Sen. Lieberman is just acting like their lap dog now and doing their dirty work. Don't forget who he campaigned for in the last election- John McCain. How is it right that one man can derail a plan that hundreds of other politicians support and millions of people want? The Democrats should just ignore the few spoilers and go the reconciliation route.

    December 15, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
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