July 17th, 2009
02:15 PM ET
13 years ago

Senators urge slowdown in health care reform push

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Six key senators – three Democrats, one independent and two moderate Republicans – sent a letter to Senate leaders calling for a slowdown in the push for a health care overhaul, in light of the Congressional Budget Office's assessment that the Democratic plan currently being considered would not cut medical costs

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"We believe taking additional time to achieve a bipartisan result is critical for legislation that affects 17 percent of our economy and every individual in the U.S.," read the letter, signed by Democrats Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu and Ron Wyden. independent Joe Lieberman and Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who also said they were "firmly committed to enactment of comprehensive reform this year."

The letter echoes concerns raised by many conservative Democrats on the House side.

Full text of the letter after the jump.

Dear Senators Reid and McConnell:

In the current debate about our health care system, we are firmly committed to enactment of comprehensive reform this year. That reform must reduce premiums and administrative costs, expand choices, and increase coverage for all Americans. We are eager to work constructively with Senate leadership and agree that this is an historic opportunity which makes it imperative to proceed thoughtfully and responsibly. Our efforts will affect virtually every American.

The American people expect us to adopt comprehensive health reform that addresses the priorities we have outlined without detrimentally affecting those who have health insurance or increasing the national debt. This week, Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf testified that the currently introduced health reform bills will not reduce costs. We are faced with the dual challenges of pressing ahead to pass legislation by the end of the year and to produce the reform the American people need.

We appreciate the work that has been done by Senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Finance committees, but in view of the Budget Director's statement, there is much heavy lifting ahead. We support the efforts of Finance Committee members to produce a bipartisan bill, despite calls from both sides of the aisle to rush forward or delay indefinitely. While we are committed to providing relief for American families as quickly as possible, we believe taking additional time to achieve a bipartisan result is critical for legislation that affects 17 percent of our economy and every individual in the U.S.

We look forward to working with you to develop legislation that is vital to the well-being of the American people and urge you to resist timelines which prevent us from achieving the best result. This opportunity is rare and the impact will last for generations.


Ben Nelson
United States Senator

Olympia J. Snowe
United States Senator

Joseph I. Lieberman
United States Senator

Susan M. Collins
United States Senator

Mary L. Landrieu
United States Senator

Ron Wyden
United States Senator

Filed under: Ben Nelson • Health care • Joe Lieberman • Mary Landrieu • Olympia Snowe • Susan Collins
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Bob

    This is Obama's thing. He said that the Republicans were guilty of fear-mongering. Obama is the worst I have ever seen. He first said that with the stimulus package, that we had to do it NOW or that we would be worse off. He shoved a 1000 page document of a stimulus worth 800 billion down Congress's throat and it passed without even debating it. Now he is saying the same thing with health care that this has to get passed, even though EVERYBODY is saying it will fail. Obama says we will be in trouble if we don't do it. Obama is trying to correct 70 years of health care in 200 days! The funniest thing is that Obama isn't even doing it, he is counting on Pelosi's aides just like in the stimulus to draw up this health care bill, and Obama isn't even putting his own twist on it. He is just trusting them to do it right. Don't give me all this talk of how the stimulus has SAVED jobs (nice way of him to politically say he hasn't created any) and that this will take 2 years. Obama initially promised us that the stimulus would help immediately. How laughable this guys is. And I don't want to hear that Bush created all of this. Yes, Bush was not a good President, but that doesn't give everyone the right to just say Obama isn't screwing up the country even worse. It is unbelievable how so many can be brain washed by speeches and the media. Truly remarkable.

    July 17, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Marchant

    I like to see the healthcare debate should continue without any holds and finish before August dead line. It is a moral and ethical responsibility of each and every elected member of senate – congress- and executive branch to cooperate well to accomplish this goal. Hope the senate will honour American citizens wishes as they are elected by the people...Don't take any money from lobbyists to get elect again...if you do a good job, we will elect you again.

    July 17, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Another Obama failure......

    first he fails on the economy, unemployment and home foreclosures...

    then he fails with N. Korea and Iran......

    now he fails with this socialist health care nonsense....

    what's left?????

    July 17, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA


    You knew this day was coming. Now that it's here, you guys are playing drag ass. The American people as well as the President WE voted for want this bill passed this year! Roll your sleeves up and find some savings. 46 million people may seem like alot of people to insure. It is. I've worked a full-time job for the last 9 years and can't afford my employer's health insurance. All I want to be able to do is see a MD at least once a year for a checkup. The least a goverment option plan is have money set aside for emergencies, Rx's, etc. So I know there is more money that the government can save. Get on it!

    July 17, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. FL

    When you are dealing with something as complicated as fixing health care and adding more gov't spending to take care of more people, you have to figure out how to pay for it, BEFORE implementing it. I understand there are people who need health insurance, but pushing through legislation that is going to create more problems than it fixes is NOT the answer. Just look at Obama's mortgage rescue plan that was supposed to slow down foreclosures. It is a complete mess because they didn't have the implementation plan figured out before they passed it. You can't just expect trained employees to appear like magic to run a new system. Obama can urge and chastise the mortgage industry all he wants, it won't speed up the process.

    July 17, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. tlh

    Finally, some common sense. Stop letting Obama ram all this garbage down the taxpayers throats.

    He is trying to kill off ANOTHER industry and have the government snatch it up; is this the US or the USSR? Oh sorry, they are no more.

    July 17, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. Kat

    It seems some posters here would accept bad health care reform just for the sake of having health care reform. Not real smart!!!!

    July 17, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Kat

    It seems that all the people that hate the health insurance companies really really really want health insurance.

    July 17, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. Jim

    The last thing we need is another piece of legislation rushed through the process that nobody gets to read. I applaud these Senators for looking out for the welfare of our country. They aren't saying no, they are saying let's get it right.

    July 17, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Julia Byrd- Hayden Idaho

    Okay, so no health care reform, everybody that doesn't have insurance, just show up at the emergency room, be sure it's a hospital that has received government funds, i.e. Hill-Burton, also they can't refuse care, they have to stabilize you. Trust me if we all did this every day, health care cost would rise, and guess who will pay the bill, all you greedy people that have insurance and don't want the rest of the poor people to have health care. Trust me on this one, the insurance companies would not raise the payment for your services, the hospitals and doctors will pass the cost on to you, and the cost will get higher, higher and higher, then hospitals will go out of business and a few greedy doctors, and then, only the rich will have health care, is that what you want. Go for it suckers.

    July 17, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. Sue Ohio

    We have been debating heath care reform and energy policy for 30 plus years. It's time for the 60 and over crowd to step aside and let the rest of get a plan in place. This older generation prefers name calling and arguing. It's easier.Well the rest of us are ready to ACT. Put the plan in place. My premiums have raised 168% over the past 6 years and I can't even meet my deductibles if god forbid a member of my family has a catastrophic illness.

    Stop fighting and create a business plan. If you have no idea how to create a plan, get out of the way and let the others get the work done.

    July 17, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    OK - Take your time folks.

    In fact, take the whole month of August. There's nothing else on your schedule for that time. Give full-time to the issue. Earn what you are paid. Too many vacation days throughout the year. Earn your pay.

    July 17, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. kyle from ohio

    Ray Lawson from Danville, VA July 17th, 2009 4:18 pm ET

    I get very tired of hearing the media say that Obama wants a health care bill passed now. I really don't care what Obama wants.

    For the Last 50 years or so this has been an issue or concern. had either the Repub or DEM's done something about this in years past we would not be in this position of run away health cost. Both groups saw this coming but just kept getting paid by the Large Ins. Co. that just want to get paid at your expense not your health. Again this is more about cost-cutting a conservative thing by nature, Not of reform.

    July 17, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Audrey in Georgia

    Get off your slow behinds and get the job done for health care reform. I am so sick and tired of you people saying the President needs to slow down.
    If you people can not keep up then this is not the job for you. Now
    get to work and get health care reformed with or without bipartisanship!
    The Democrats are in the majority. Make it happen! If the republicans and the other scared lazy people are still complaining about reading the bills, apparently they can not read
    or they do not want to read the bills. Do your homework and stop
    playing around. Do your job and speed the heck up! The American
    people are anxiously waiting on real action for health care reform.

    July 17, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Julie

    Actually, to get this done right, all healthcare benefits should be suspended for our elected officials until all us get the same wonderful, comprehensive coverage they now enjoy at our expense. It's easy to complain about big government but our "government employees" have much better coverage using our dime than we can ever hope to have paying for our own insurance. I also recently read where the average cost of health insurance for a family of 4 is close to $12,000 per year. Afford that on 2 minimum wage jobs and still be able to have shelter and food. Get busy Congress or we'll cut you off.

    July 17, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. yuri

    Include as many nay-sayers as possible, get their feedbacks, and then hammer out a decision.

    July 17, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. not even surprised

    why are so many of you standing up for the insurance companies? they're robbing the consumers blind just like the wall street meltdown. stand up for yourselves. you deserve public healthcare just like your representatives who work FOR you. the song and dance is to protect campaign donors...please, wake up.

    why does the gop and some of the democrats hate average americans who work hard for this country? doesn't anyone care that big insurance jacks up your rates with no explanation? come on!

    July 17, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. tlh

    So if America attains Universal Health care, what happens when illegal aliens boldly arrive in the ERs and OB units?

    When we had to go to a hospital in Canada and did not have a Canada Medical card they asked for a credit card. Which credit card are the illegals going to use?

    July 17, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. Chris

    Good news! Now, how about let's investigate how a specific group of people in these United States of America can raise generation after generation of kin with government money, feed them with government money, and treat their ills with government money....all with no end in sight. Let's let the US government do this for all of us and then we'll all be equal.

    July 17, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. M

    Dear Julia Byrd,

    My parents live in Greece 9 months out of the year, and according to my mother she won't take her DOG to the hospitals there. What's disgraceful is that YOU and all the brain washed liberals agree with BO's health plan, and you post these lists with out any facts to back it up.We do need to do something about health care....maybe we should begin with all the illegal immigrants that come into the US, and receive health care on the tax payers dime. That would be a great start. Oh yeah and maybe reading a bill that would drastically change our counrty for the worse if not done right would be highly appreciated as well.

    July 17, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. David form WI


    This should be above politics and it is quite literally life and death.
    To do such an important thing fast is in itself an irresponsible act.

    And if this isn't a true bipartisan fix than it will be a political foot ball that will not be stable but will politicize an already damaged health care system.

    Sure.... that will be better and make things less crappy... sure right.


    Can politicians make a bad situation worse?
    They have 'NEVER' done that before correct?

    July 17, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  22. Tatianna

    All of Obamas domestic policies – education, health care, welfare, global warming, liberal activism, voter-base expansion is tied to his moral system. And his moral system is one of social, redistributive justice. It requires big govt for its big programs and big ambitions. But if Obama had expressed his moral vision directly, he wouldnt have been elected. And currently, through big govt is the money train of his moral system, he dare not say it!

    July 18, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
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