August 16th, 2009
03:08 PM ET
13 years ago

Conservative Democrat gets The Last Word

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A member of the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, a group of more moderate to conservative Democrats in the House of Representatives, predicted Sunday that the version of health care reform legislation currently being hashed out by bipartisan negotiators in the Senate Finance Committee will come to dominate the reform debate.

Related video: Ross holds town hall, gets standing ovation

“At the end of the day, there’s going to have to be some common ground here,” Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas said on CNN’s State of the Union, when asked about viability of a public insurance option in any reform legislation.

“The reality is that it takes sixty percent to get this done in the Senate. It’s probably going to have to be bipartisan in the Senate – which I think it should be,” Ross said.

“I know that a lot of members of my party in the House don’t want to hear this,” said Ross, but “my guess is about 90 percent [of the final bill presented to the White House] will be reflected from what’s in the Senate Finance Committee bill.”

Ross also took the opportunity to lay down his guiding principles for health care reform.

Related: Ross responds to RNC in radio ad

“I will not support a health care reform bill that is not deficit-neutral. Period,” Ross told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

“I will not force government-run health care on anyone; if there ever is government-run health care, the first ones to sign up should be the president and every member of Congress, including myself; You should be able to keep the insurance you’ve got today if you like it and always choose your own doctor; no federal funding for illegal immigrants or for abortion; and no rationing of health care."

In an apparent reference to a controversial - and sometimes misinterpreted –provision providing Medicare reimbursement for end-of-life counseling in a House version of health care reform legislation, Ross also said, “I will never vote for a bill to kill old people. Period.”

Related: Say goodnight, grandpa

Ross, and a few other Blue Dogs, used their positions on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to extract concessions from fellow Democrats that lowered the total price tag of the committee’s bill while providing some protection for the reimbursements received by rural hospitals in some Blue Dogs’ districts. The concessions agreed to by the House Democratic leadership triggered concern by more liberal members of the party, including the Congressional Black Caucus, over whether the committee’s version of the bill went far enough to provide enough coverage for those who currently don’t have health insurance.

Related: Health care in America

Filed under: Health care • Mike Ross • State of the Union
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. RR

    "“I will not force government-run health care on anyone; if there ever is government-run health care, the first ones to sign up should be the president and every member of Congress, including myself."

    I'd love every member of congress to echo that statement.

    August 16, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. James Warner

    Americans are pretty ignorant when it comes to health care especially when most of the cost is born by the employer. First every health insurance company has a death panel as referenced by the ex Alaska Gov and usually they do what is called denial of benifits. They have many ways of doing the deed , the patient must come up with a large sum of money usually out of reach by some one paying the co-pay and deductables and other loopholes in every insurance program that drains whatever assets they have after all what private insurer isn't going to pay the execs big bucks and high dividends...

    August 16, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. S Callahan

    I certainly would like to see health care for those who can ill afford it, or for those who are denied because of pre exisiting conditions...I don't think anyone is really against that..... It's time to start throwing out what it 'will cost' for an individual to get a better fotting on this whole thing. No one should sign anything until all the i's and t's are clarified..understood.

    But of the Lord would say....they did not listen or pay attention..jer 7:24 (read above and below it)...

    August 16, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. minnie

    You are right Mike Ross. If Congress and Obama have to be in this health care plan it will never pass. And they should be in it ,definitely.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 16, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Phil

    What is wrong to have a public option? Every other country in the world has it one way or the other. I don't know what the final version of public option will be, but I agree to have some competitions to the "Health Care" Industry. Way I see it so called Health Care industry is really for Corporations. Health Care industry should be for the sake of every citizen, not just for sake of business. Please, Health Care industry is not like auto industry, coffee business, electronic business,.... When someone is in the hospital bed or needed treatments, he or she loses all the bargaining powers. Not like he/she can just pack up and go find another hospital or doctor for better price. We talk about life here. It has to be a way to balance human suffering and profit. Republicans only care about business and their stupid party. They don't care about ordinary citizens. Republicans want to be fair for the marketplace and Corporations, but where is the fairness for American citizens rich and poor. Republicans are still living in their own little domain. Sorry these white middle aged males and females yelling in Townhalls are not Americans. They are gangs manipulated by the others. We are in the America that – All Men are and should be created equal. It is sad that they don't see the complexities of the world we are in. One thing about President Obama that we can agree on is that he is trying to fixing something that is broken. When are the constructive support from the fellow Americans, if Republicans still claim they are Americans.

    BTW. which part of the Constitutions say ok to spread lies and distort facts for the sake of own political gains.

    August 16, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. GP

    With an overwhelming majority in both houses the dems do not need a bi-partisan bill.

    If the repubs held the majority with a dem president, they would get whatever they wanted. Just like in the 1990's.

    Why can't the dems learn to circle the wagons like the repubs do?

    The democratic party is dysfunctional at best and generally ineffective.

    August 16, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. Just a Mom

    Thank you Mike Ross! Now if you could get the rest of the dems on board with this style of health reform bill, I'm sure the protesters (including me) would be happy as well. Why can't the dems just meet in the middle instead of the costly "All or Nothing" bill that they keep trying to force on the American people? Listen to the people! The majority say no to the current bill, and we will not change our minds till you change the bill.

    August 16, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. liv pertzoff

    We keep hearing that consumers covered by private insurers "get to choose their own doctors." In fact, consumers only get to choose among the "health care providers" approved by their insurers–providers on the insurers' "panels." Insurers often limit their panels by specialties and demographics. Furthermore, many HCPs limit the number of insurers they will accept to keep management costs down, particularly out–of-state insurers because insurance regulations vary from state to state complicating collections. My former private insurer was based in Western Massachusetts and had nearly no physicians on their panel from the Boston area. We needed to get our second opinions locally or else pay out of pocket.

    I am a retired HCP and know whereof I write.

    August 16, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. Hammerer

    I have this novel idea. Why not introduce the 8 – 10 million welfare freeloaders to work and let them earn their own healthcare insurance? That is called responsibility.
    All that they would need to give up is a pack of cigarettes or a six pack of beer a day. That would be asking a lot and would require someone to tell them that the free ride is over.
    Does the Democratic Party or the Republican Party have rhe courage to say that the working American citizens are tired of paying for the lazy and the illegals?

    August 16, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. vick

    i agree with this guy

    August 16, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. annie s

    So this conservative Republican calling himself a Democrat takes pride in the fact that he is going to sink the best chance we have ever had for true health care reform in this country. What slime. Almost wish I lived in Arkansas so I could vote against him someday.

    August 16, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. John K

    Ross you are a pinhead. Show me any bill that is advocating killing anyone and then you can make your ridiculous comment.

    I think that we should have a public option in any state that wants it. Lets have a referendum on it and we'll see what happens. You blue dogs can represent your idiot constituents and let us keep our tax dollars here in the blue states for the use of our people. NY tax dollars for new yorkers, not for any of the red state idiots who don't know what they are talking about.

    August 16, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Denise

    I love how Ross says, "if there ever is government-run health care, the first ones to sign up should be the president and every member of Congress, including myself;" Every member of Congress ALREADY HAS government-run health care, as does anyone on Medicare and anyone currently or formerly in the military! Blue-Dog "Democrats" oppose a public option for the rest of U.S. citizens at their own peril– we will not forget who voted against it when the next election cycle comes around.

    August 16, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. granny

    I am skeptical bout the co-ops not turning into gov't insurance. When are they going to remove all the invasive aspects of the house bill, like accessing personal bank accounts, telling parents how to raise their children, etc. Why can't the congress on one page without legal speak, just regulate the insurance companys.

    August 16, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Jane/Seattle

    Oh, by the way, I din't even bother to read or watch this. We could all have written it bby now. Peace

    August 16, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    All i wish is everyone thats involved in trying to fix this H.C.R. would just stand back give there self time to really think, PLEASE! get polictics out of it stop trying to win the next election one party going against the other when the truth of the matter is we are in this together, Democrats and Republicans. Help this President get this done right .People say they dont GOV. run health care well the truth is if you or a family member was really sick and you didnt have health ins and the doctor will not treat you because you dont health ins. you would not care if its government run or not you would want treatment. So stop thinking about yourself just because you have health ins.

    August 16, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. the southern progressive

    why is it that those who believe in an afterlife are always the most afraid to accept the fact that end of life decisions need to be made while you are still living and of sound mind. it would be more tragic to allow someone who does not have adequate, affordable and accesible health insurance to die because they simply cannot afford preventative care and costly procedures. and when will people realize that most of those people will end up on public support in the end anyways, where we the public will pay the more expensive reactionary prices and supplimental income. sometimes common sense is so easy, but greed always wins in the end.

    August 16, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Face reader

    This low life is nothing more than a camoflaged republican plant.Corporate Fascists seeded this guy for this very purpose,to destroy health care for millions and also allow companies to dump the millions that now have coverage by their companies.Its all a scam that was well planned years ago.

    August 16, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. James

    How many times does the President have to repeat that no one is being forced to switch insurance, and if they don't want to use the public option they don't have to?

    I'm stunned that this Democratic senator is unaware of this, I think he must simply be pandering to his constituents.

    August 16, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Rudo Bos

    I don't see you ,Ross, standing in line at the VA health clinic. I have government run health care. You should sign yourself up if you are a man of your word. What, you're not a vet? And yet you make me feel like vet's are getting cheated in an inferior system or something????? What did you say..." If there ever is government run health care, the first one's to sign up should be the president and every member of congress, including myself". Ya, right.

    And the flap about killing old people. What kind of comment is that. Sorry but you sound an awful lot like Palin.

    August 16, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. What Goes Around

    Nobody's asking you to vote for any of those things. But good job pretending like someone's proposing them so you can prove your conservative bona fides.


    August 16, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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