March 17th, 2010
10:33 AM ET
13 years ago

Key liberal congressman flips to 'yes' on health care vote

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption ="Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced Wednesday that he would vote to support Democratic health care legislation."]Washington (CNN) - Health care reform advocates inched closer to victory Wednesday morning as a high-profile liberal Democrat switched his position and announced his intention to vote for a sweeping $875 billion plan under consideration in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said he believes "health care is a civil right." He had previously characterized the bill, which passed the Senate in December, as little more than a boondoggle for private insurers.

Kucinich was publicly lobbied for his vote by President Barack Obama during the president's visit this week to Kucinich's congressional district in Ohio. He told reporters he's had four meetings with Obama to discuss the bill.

"The president's visit to my district ... underscored the urgency of this vote," Kucinich said. "I have doubts about the bill ... [but] I've decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation."

He said he ultimately had "to make a decision on the bill as it is, not on the bill as I'd like to see it."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, needs 216 votes from her 253-member caucus to pass the measure. No Republicans are expected to back it.

A number of House Democrats have refused to state their voting intentions publicly. Twenty-six House Democrats, however, have indicated they will join Republicans in opposing the Senate plan. Included in that total are five House Democrats who said Tuesday that they will vote against the Senate legislation.

That puts opponents of reform 12 votes shy of the 216 needed to prevent Obama from scoring a major victory on his top domestic priority.

- CNN's Charles Riley, Alan Silverleib, Jeff Simon and Robert Yoon contributed to this report

Filed under: Dennis Kucinich • Health care • Popular Posts
soundoff (244 Responses)
  1. Barry In Las Vegas

    No surprize here. Just another no pricipled Democrat. He can't stand up to Obama, but wanted to be President. He's a joke.

    March 17, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. smokey

    Great job Dennis ! We Liberlas really understand the fight you fought for single-payer and the Public Option. But I like yourself realized that something is far better than nothing..We simply cannot continue to let the insurance companies and large corporations win and stomp ob average working Amercians...Thank goodness you did not be guided by the continuous fear factor being put out the by the GOP because that is the only tactic they know..We all know they have no solutions..Trust in the American people and Pres Obama to lead us in the right direction..I truly believe that we will evetually have a public option as part of health reform in the coming years, but for now the Late Sen Kennedy was right " health care is a right and not a privledge" and thanks Dennis for standing and doing the right thing..Believe you will be rewarding the polls !! Trust the amercian people..Go Obama !!!!

    March 17, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Felonious Monk

    Good, but the question remains...if corporations are allowed spend endless amounts of money to get their "choice" elected, what good does it do to vote any change in as long as the corporate "choices" are going to redux everything.

    Hooray for corporate america!!!

    March 17, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. True democrat

    If excessive force is required to enact unpopular legislation impacting all citizens of a nation, one need know nothing else to seek its defeat.

    March 17, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. donttreadonme

    Another entitlement, another debt. What is sad about this is the average hardworking American will not gain benefit from this bill they will actually pay more in the long run via taxes and more expensive premiums. The poor and disabled are already covered so who does that leave?
    12 trillion in debt and libs and dems only care about scoring political points!

    March 17, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Rack

    Wow thats a shocker. Kucinich is such a loon he does not know what he is thinking half the time. The only thing good about Kucinich is his wife and humor derived from him looking like a midget standing next to her.

    March 17, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. donald c. warner

    This kucinich is just another one of the clowns that we have in the circus in washington. Until the American people revolt and take back their government, this nonsense will continue

    March 17, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. Jefe

    Why is the only news we hear about the healthcare bill about the part which affects only 10% of the nation? I want to know what (if anything) it is going to do for the other 90% of us (those currently paying for health insurance, or covered through Medicare/Medicaid.)

    Is something going to be done to make costs more reasonable for everyone? Are we going to ban pharmeceutical corporations from doing business in the US if they continue to charge us 400% more than they charge for the same medications in other countries? Are we going to enable true competition in the health insurance industry?

    March 17, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. TBA

    The model of the GOP to all those whom don't have insurance, live in a house with no health insurance or on the street with no health insurance

    March 17, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Lets all call Limbaugh and crash his computor system

    Dennis would have made a great President.

    March 17, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. SocialismBad

    Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said he believes "health care is a civil right." He had previously characterized the bill, which passed the Senate in December, as little more than a boondoggle for private insurers.

    So you lied to us in December Dennis??? Or you just like voting for private insurance boondoggles??? Gotta be one or the other!

    As usual, another Democrat that is willing to sell his soul for politics and another government entitlement program that will bankrupt this country. THIS IS EXACTLY WHY THESE PEOPLE MUST BE THROWN OUT IN NOVEMBER.

    November 2, 2010... The beginning of the REAL revolution in this country!

    March 17, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Operation Crush Rush

    Call Rush today and the rest of the week.Ifs its ok for him to do,ok ok for you to do to him.

    March 17, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Meka

    With Unemployment being at 10%, sounds like only a few American's can pay for Insurance. . . BRING ON "PUBLIC OPTION"

    March 17, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. LacrosseMom

    Thank you, Dennis Kucinich. The Bill should have the Public Option, but it was taken out to appease the GOP.

    The Healthcare Bill must pass, its about SAVING AMERICAN LIVES.


    March 17, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. barking republican ankle biters

    We support Dennis. Lets march on Rushs hideout in Miami and bring him down.

    March 17, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. Zach K

    Thank you Congressman Kucinich. Don't doubt the bill at all, we will get some sort of Health Care Reform passed.

    March 17, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. Jim

    I am amused by people who think that healthcare reform is bad for the country. They spread lies about the legislation, make up 'conspiracy theories' about the people who vote for it, and over all, act like they are so well informed. Well, now you know what the Dems felt like when Bush was strong-arming everything, and using reconciliation to pass his tax cuts (We know how well those worked) and lying to Congress. Yes, I am calling Bush, and his crony Dick Cheney, liars. They lied about WMD's , they lied about justification for the invasion of Iraq, and they lied about torture. They lied about outing Valerie Plame to punish her husband, and they lied about the economy. But hey, we have NO hindsight, and don't care what we did wrong, as long as we oppose everything the Democratic party suggests. And please, it's not the Democrat party, it's the Democratic party.

    March 17, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Pam from Iowa

    At least Kucinich is putting healthcare reform above re-election concerns, which is all the GOP cares about!

    March 17, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Glen Beck is king of the morons

    Dennis was right,and will crush the republicans someday once and for all time.

    March 17, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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