Washington (CNN) - Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner is frustrated with the course health care reform legislation in the Senate is taking, telling CNN the "bill has certainly gotten worse."
But the liberal lawmaker from New York, on CNN's American Morning Wednesday, said "I'm not prepared to say that we should throw out the whole process."
There have been increasing complaints from many on the left in recent days, as what they consider key elements of President Barack 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 government run Medicare system at age 55 – have apparently been jettisoned to win the support of conservative Democrats, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, who's part of the Democrats' 60 seat coalition in the Senate, and moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe. Some have said the bill has been so watered-down, it may be time to abandon it entirely.
"Every time conservatives or those that are concerned about costs step forward and say they have a problem, they take out something that helps reduce costs. You know, the public option was something that increased competition for private insurance companies and drove down costs; they took it out. Expanding Medicare to allow people not just 65 but 64, 55, the most expensive group to insure get covered under Medicare, now that's been dropped out," adds Weiner. "You know what's puzzling about all this is the very same people who say they're concerned about cost are the ones responsible for stripping out cost savings measures, so it really is a frustrating process to watch going on in the Senate."
Weiner hopes the bill can be improved in a House-Senate conference committee, saying, "I don't believe that you should let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and unlike some people in this town, I actually want to get health care reform passed. But when we go into a House/Senate conference, one of the things a lot of my colleagues are going to be asking are what are the things we can do to improve the choices that consumers have, make some competition for the insurance companies."
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Deans said earlier this week the Senate bill should be killed. Health care was one of the central issues of Dean's when the former Vermont governor ran for the White House in 2004.
"This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate," Dean told Vermont Public Radio on Tuesday. "Honestly, the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House."
Weiner, a six-term congressman who represents a district in New York City, says "what Governor Deans has said is not wrong.
Weiner adds that he reserves to right to join Dean "at the end of the day."
"This does have to get better," says Weiner.