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. yuri

    Mike sounds like a mighty GOP rarin' to roar this reform-bashin' rhetoric. He might as well be in GOP.

    August 16, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Obama.................dead meat

    August 16, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. FD

    We need tort reform now!

    August 16, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. George Arlington, TX.

    Lets just takeaway all of the expensive homes and car toyes from the welthy . Just a thought. I know it sounds dumb, but the Republicans only understand DUM.

    August 16, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. Ted Tartaglia

    Mike Ross is just grandstanding for his own purposes. It seems like he is siding with Republicans who want to protect insurance company profits rather than in working for the best interests of his constituents.

    He sounds like a closet Republican!

    August 16, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. quigley

    WOW! Good on ya Rep. Ross! And thank you for at long last, some common sense from a Democrat. Go Blue Dog Dems!

    August 16, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. mk

    I have a great idea.
    Create a public option that only individuals can purchase.
    Give people a choice, they can pick their employee offered insurance or
    the employer can pay the employee the money the employer would have spent on the employees health care plan.
    That way, employers can't join the public plan so they won't be able to force employees on to it. And IF an individual or family wants to CHOOSE the pubic option over the employer sponsored option they get the same dollar benefit that all other employees get.

    August 16, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Shingo

    And so we see which of the two masters the conservatives either GOP or DEM serve... God or Money... Money won out!

    August 16, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. Neutralizer

    That's the way it should be, Ross and other blue dog democraps has my support on this 100% NO GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE and YES I agree NO FEDERAL FUNDING FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS, ABORTION and NO rationing of healthcare.

    August 16, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. Paul

    It's amazing that nobody gave a thought or even raised concern when George W. and his fellow Republicans spent billions and trillions on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just amazing. Now, when we need help here at home we seem to be very concerned. It's like leading sheep to slaughter. WE NEED REFORM NOW!

    August 16, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. Eric in San Diego

    And any member of the House of Representatives that STILL thinks the the "end-of-life" counseling provision is a "bill to kill people" deserves neither our attention, nor our vote.

    August 16, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Robert Nicholson

    His timing is impecable. And how much did the insurance industry contribute to this guys campaign again?

    August 16, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Mike O'Brien

    Well.., I'm old and I don't want to die. However, I wouldn't mind, if the 'new' health care reform legislation bill included a provision for paying for 'end-of-life' discussions and options with my primary doctor or physician. Mike in Montana

    August 16, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. LtDan

    Who was it that said, "Make a lie big enough, and simple enough, and say it often enough, and people will believe it." ??

    Seems like that is what's coming from the Rub side.about health care. The Rubs are lett'n big insurance rob us blind don't 'ya know.

    August 16, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. Carole

    Blue Dawgs should not be allocated funds for campaigns under the Democratic Party. Besides, they get enough money from the health care insurance companies, they don't need the money$$$$

    August 16, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. cspurgeon

    Ifn these jerks can't get a health reform bill that includes public plan then they shouldn't be in their jobs. Anything without a public option will only be robbing Medicare to money up the insurance companies. Itn is discraceful and term limits should be on the next ballot.

    August 16, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    All democrats in Congress lie to save Barry's bacon.

    August 16, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. lila

    No, the President has a doctor following him 24/7. Keeping the President alive is a matter of national security. no matter who the President is. To have our leader die puts America is a position of weakness. An enemy could strike in the middle of the chaos. To fail and protect our leader, no matter. It would give those that wish to hurt America a huge moral boost if we failed in keeping out own President alive. I think what Ross suggest is beyond ignorant. Congress, sure, sign them up to the public option. But our President, no matter left or right. needs a doctor around him at all times. The end.

    August 16, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. David S. Robins

    The truth is, Republican Senators and Congressmen who oppose health care reform are in fact killing old people as well as many others every day under our present system. If you don't have health insurance, you don't get the care you need, your condition deteriorates and you eventually die. Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who don't understand this are either stupid or incredibly selfish. For sure, they don't care about you and yours.

    August 16, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. rob geneve

    Everything that Mike Ross has said is something I can agree with. I'm a registered Republican but I'm more to the center. I want to see access to better healthcare for the 12-20 million Americans who lack quality care, but I don't want the healthcare for the other 280 million Americans destroyed in the process.

    August 16, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Lisa, Cleveland

    In case you missed it, Mr. Ross, you are already signed up for public healthcare. Hello??

    August 16, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. J.C. - Independent & Insured

    We will continue to have 47 millions of uninsured with the Co-Op option. The only way to make everyone participate is to make everyone pays according to their incomes, which is exactly what Medicare taxes are. We will go bankrupt further without giving a public option, which can save us lots of money. One Co-Op may have a chance to survive, but more than one will fail miserably. Then private insurers will tell Congress why we really need them.

    August 16, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  23. Chipster

    Rep. Ross, there should be an affordable government option – not forced on anyone – but an option available for those who cannot afford private health insurance.

    Since there is not public option available yet, I suggest that our elected officials should purchase their own health insurance and stop paying for 75% of their insurance with our (taxpayer) money.

    I'm fortunate enough to still have health insurance through my employer's shared payment program but last year the rates increased by 84%. How much longer will my organization be able to afford this, even with increased contributions from employees?

    Sorry, but I can no longer afford to continue to pay for your health care, Rep Ross!

    August 16, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Barbara

    But-there is NO provision to kill anyone Mr. BlueDog. I suggest you spend your time supporting our President.

    August 16, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. jimtranr in Oregon

    Anyone at CNN bother to check whether–and, if so, how much–health industry money has been funneled to Congressman Ross's campaign fund, favorite charities, etc.? Seems to me that such information should be included in every news story in which a congressman or senator takes a position on proposed or pending legislation that might affect health care insurers, providers, and the pharmaceutical industry.

    August 16, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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