December 15th, 2009
04:52 PM ET
6 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. Gene

    I say the Dems in Conn. vote Joe out. He has made trouble for the Dems over the past tow elections and has stood against everything Obama does. "Tell Joe, he must go!"

    December 15, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  2. meme

    There are 47,000,000 people without any healthcare at all. 44,000 of whom die annually. I am beginning to believe that my fellow progressives are more obsessed with toppling the health insurance industry than insuring their fellow citizens. The bill requires them to spend 90% on actual healthcare rather than the 80+ % currently allocated to healthcare! That inaddition to preventing denial for pre-existing conditions, portability, elimination of gender based premiums, elimination of lifetime caps sounds like progress to me. Perfect? No. Progress yes. We progressives must not denyour fellow citzens access to healthcare. We may not get this chance for another 60 years.

    December 15, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  3. aware

    Right Doc – kill the bill! :)

    December 15, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    I think its time to kill the bill! Let's not follow the UK and othe European countries. I guess wants its killed 0bama can give him self

    December 15, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  5. Stefan

    Each one of the Republican Senators, Representatives, and Joe Lieberman, who scream "No Socialist Healthcare" are all so happy to use their own Healthcare. By definition their Healthcare is nothing but pure, 100% Socialism (Government funded by transfer of other's money). They want to deny all Americans the great solution that they themselves enjoy. Healthcare ONLY works if it is Socialised (see the rest of the Developed world), and that is the reason why they themselves use it. Hypocrites!

    December 15, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I think its time to kill the bill! Let's not follow the UK and othe European countries. I guess wants its killed 0bama can give himself a A- instead of a B+. That's what happens when we elect a sweet talker who didn't accomplish anything in his life!

    December 15, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  7. Mary

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

    You would know what they do if you ever got off your butt to serve the country like Obama did.

    December 15, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  8. Old Farmboy

    I don't think Medicare should be lowered. 8% of they USA is in the age group of 55 – 64. Medicare funds are already tapped. The only way it will work is an overall tax increase in the Social Security Tax we already pay. Is this what you want? We are 1.4 Trillion Dollars... That's $1,400,000,000,000.00 in debt. Our total public debt is.... are you ready for this... $12,071,280,871,918.40... That's 12 trillion... 71 billion... 280 million... 871 thousand... 918 dollars... and don't forget the 40 cents. That turns into about $30,000.00 for every man, woman, and child in the USA right now. This bill needs to go away.. We, as a nation can't afford it... Most of us don't want it... And, in the long run I think this will do more harm than good.

    December 15, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
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