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. sunshine

    how cruel of palin to make the elderly think our government would want to kill them, shame on her.

    August 16, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. Tony in Maine

    Unril there is universal single payer healthcare, elected government officials should be made to buy health insurance on their own or go without as I did when I ran a small business.

    They have the very best – and it is government run. Ross is a blivot in the classic sense of the word.

    August 16, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Post always rejected by CNN

    i think it is about time someone got the ACLU to sue the republican party over the lying ads they are showing. And they are lies. They know the difference and they don't care. What difference does it make to them what is best for the average American? If the bills don't benefit big business and the rich the republicans try to obstruct them.

    August 16, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Rita OHIO

    The health care debate is exactly why a lot of people don't participate in elections. We elect the candidate that shares our ideas, and then the Congress does what it wants anyway. I feel like I lost a year of my life trying to gain a Democratic majority. They just buckle and let the well connected rich do as they wish.

    Disappointed by the politicians but especially by the news media. I will not call you reporters because you do not do the real reporting anymore. Lazy is what the Media is. Whatever pays the bills.

    August 16, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Grrr-awful-o

    The US Postal service, social security, medicare, $500 hammers, $1000 toilets, weapons systems that the military doesn't even want (because they're made in some congressman's district), lobbyist-driven legislation, kickbacks to congressmen (think William Jefferson)...

    Yes, I think government healthcare is a good idea.

    August 16, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Pel

    Mr President, if the Repugs and the Blue Dogs Demos don't want to go along with the rest of the Demos on this, just forget about them. It is time you let them know who the President is and let them see the full force of your office. You and the rest of the democrats were elected because you said there would be a change. It is time to fight the red flame fire with a torch with a blue flame. Let them know this is not 1994. The liberals need for you to stand tall on this. You promised to change the health care system, now do it.

    August 16, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Doug

    This just goes to show how clueless and insulated these people are. I can't choose my own doctor now! I'm in a PPO which gives me a very limited list to choose from.

    August 16, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. welches, oregon

    The bill won't kill old Uncle Phil, but will help Phil make a Will – not take a pill. Come on people – Get Real !

    August 16, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Peter: 70 year old male from Canada éh

    I don't understand what you are all soooooooo afraid of about healthcare. Take me for example, I am a 70 year old male, living in Canada and here is my side of the story of how our systems works up here in Canada. And I did'nt go broke or had to fight with insurers , caps and whatever else everyone is yapping about on TV.

    1986 appendix removal, includingf ambulance and hospital stay. Cost: FREE
    2002/2003: Catheract surgery in both eyes
    Cost: FREE
    2008: P.A.D. diagnoses and treatment:
    Cost FREE
    Eye exams:
    Cost: FREE
    I can choose my own Doctor with NO intervention from GOV. and NO lon waiting periods.
    As a senior , I co-pay only $100.00 ONCE a year, for all my presciptions and that includes Lipitor and a host of other medications.

    Good deal éh? Well we think so and we wish you get the same or better healthcare like we have up here in Canada. There's nothing to be afraid of folks, nothing.

    August 16, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. Frozone

    The Democratic Blue Dogs work for the insurance lobby and big pharma. They don't care about the American people

    August 16, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Hope

    As long as there is a strong public option otherwise we dont need these guys as democrats.

    August 16, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    We already HAVE MediCare, if we were going to kill old people because of medical costs, we would already be doing it... ARE WE??? (NO)
    Then that's not a legitimate argument... Is it? (NO)
    We already HAVE "death panels," they're called insurance companies and HMOs. If you have a pre-existing condition, you can't get coverage (so die, I don't care)... If you can't afford to pay for a comprehensive enough plan (or any plan at all), you can't get medical attention (so die, I don't care)... If you run out of insurance before you run out of illness, whether you can reach recovery or not, you get DROPPED (so die, I don't care)...
    So "Death Panels are not a legitimate argument... Are They? (NO)

    Let's talk about the important factors:

    Let's leave the lies and misrepresentation out of the conversation... OK?

    August 16, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Ellen

    People need to know that this guy has no business saying he'll never vote for something that will kill older Americans. This isn't what others are saying! This nitwit is right in line with Sarah Palin spouting off about dealth panels. Are these two that stupid?.....yes.

    August 16, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    So we can add Representative Ross and Senator Conrad of North Dakota to the list of Democrats who realise that the far-left wing of their party are so far out of touch of with average Americans that they're not even within shouting distance.

    August 16, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. Susan L.

    What an idiot!!! He may be a Democrat, but he's not one I'd ever support or vote for. Thanks a lot traitor! There is not now and NEVER WAS any provision in any bill to "kill old people" you total jerk! NEVER WAS!!! That is all propaganda spread by the total lunatic wing of the Republican Party and now spread by a dirty rotten Blue Dog. You're not blue. You're a Republican-Lite. A propaganda-spreading fear-mongering Republican-Lite.

    August 16, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Jaxson

    This guy sounds like a real twit. He's looking an awful lot like Sarah Palin. Not thinking but talking as fast as he can. Dumb bunny!

    August 16, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Bethie

    I'll bet Mike Ross has great insurance.....for us, he doesn't give a hoot.

    August 16, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Lee Oates

    Well, it sure goes to show that you don't have to be intelligent to be a Senator. The Blue Dogs have been bought and paid for by the Medical Health Insurance companies, and are traitors to the Democratic Party and to the people they represent in their states.

    August 16, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. Adam

    Gimme a break. These guys already have government-run health care, and I'm so sick of all this religious crap. Its health care, it should be for all people living here, and should meet all of their needs. Your personal religious beliefs should not effect my health, or the decisions im make regarding it.

    August 16, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. larry

    Ross needs to be a republican....he's no democrat

    August 16, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. TLH

    I didn't see this interview, but from what I read here, there is some sense. I agree that we don't want to pay for illegal immigrants. If you can show you have become a citizen, great. I agree that we can't ration healthcare... and can't tell people that if they've gotten too much care this year they can only get so-much next year. That's crazy. I also agree we shouldn't pay for abortions. But as long as it is allowed under the law and a woman (within her conscience, her religious beliefs, and the support of her family) chooses to have an abortion, then she ought to handle that bill herself. I have always tended to be a bit right of center - but have really hated to see the far right's strategy for attacking health care. As a small business owner, I know what the costs are for healthcare - it is outrageous. I would welcome some kind of option for people who lose their jobs or... should a small business struggle... allow people to get coverage without causing bankruptcy. If that means there is a public option that provides that kind of support, I would hope our society would support it. And maybe we should be thinking about time limits... you can get 1 year through a gov't program and after that you have to apply and prove need. Maybe if we have an interim step like this we will be able to evaluate it in 3-5 years and make modifications to what essentially becomes a long term approach to fixing the healthcare problem.

    August 16, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  22. Susan

    A Republican who makes sense. Wow. Now if he can get through to some of the others, maybe some reform will happen. I am so sick of the negative sound bites and the words taken out of context and turned into firestorms started by people who haven't read any of the bills, haven't written any of the bills, and are not members of Congress, but are just shills for the insurance companies and others who fight change to fight change. I can hardly wait to see what Palin and the self-righteous are dreaming up for this week's smokescreens to a better America.

    August 16, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Carole

    The Republican moderator, John, loved this Republican guest. Did I say Republican? Yes, a Blue Dawg is a Republican in sheep's clothing.

    When Blue Dawgs say deficit neutral they man no public option.......we are not stupid.

    I just wonder if this guy voted in favor of all the war spending? I also just wonder how much lobby money he gets from health care industries?

    August 16, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    “I will never vote for a bill to kill old people. Period.”

    This guy needs to be removed from congress. Is it too hard to say that option never existed? American's are so stupid. I'm going to vote out every incumbent democrat in the primaries if there is no public option in the final bill.

    August 16, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Aside from the veto threat, in recent years the Senate has begun to operate with the notion that any legislation under consideration must have support of the majority-proff 60 votes before it can even be brought to a vote on the floor. While I applaud the Democrats for their efforts to create a healthcare reform bill that can gain bi-partisan support, I don't think its necessary to always support "pablum" legislation for fear there MIGHT be a filibuster.

    Where has corrageous leadership gone? Certainly not a shred of it in the US Senate these days.

    August 16, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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