[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/20/art.lynch.gi.jpg caption="Lynch is standing firm as 'no' vote."]Washington (CNN) - A personal meeting with the president hasn't persuaded him. Conversations with party leaders hasn't changed his mind either.
But Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch's stance against the health care legislation has even withstood the invocation of his state's patron saint of politics: Sen. Ted Kennedy.
A few days ago Lynch received a phone call from Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late senator, who implored him to support the health care legislation despite any misgivings he has with the bill.
"She said Ted had worked at this for quite some time and invoked his memory," Lynch told CNN. "[It was the] same kind of conversation I had with the president: the strengths of the bills, the shortfalls, but that we have to do something."
Lynch, who represents metropolitan Boston, voted in favor of the House's original health care legislation in November but reversed his decision on the latest version, citing the lack of a public option, the inclusion of the "cadillac tax" on high cost health insurance plans and the ommission of a repeal on the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies.
Despite being labeled as a "Massachusetts liberal," Lynch says he has so far rejected all pleas for support because he thinks the legislation does not go far enough to help his constituents.
"You ought not to sacrifice the interest of those people for something symbolic. These people sent me here. They trust me to make the best decision based on my best judgment. And I'm doing that. I think it would a dereliction of duty for me to vote yes on a bill I felt strongly would work to their disadvantage," said Lynch.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on Friday that the President has had 64 meetings or phone calls with Representatives in a last ditch lobbying effort to reach the 216 votes needed for passage.
Lynch acknowledged his resistance to such entreaties may not make him popular among his colleagues. "It's either I have a thick skin or a thick skull," he jokingly said.