Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sestak: Dems Missed a Great Opportunity on Health Care

Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak says he’ll vote for President Obama’s health care package this week but he thinks his party squandered its chance to produce a more comprehensive reform package.
Sestak, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Senator Arlen Specter in the May Primary, initially pushed to include a public health insurance program in the final bill, but dropped that demand when it became politically untenable last winter.
He says Congress could have passed a better bill sooner, if Democratic leaders hadn’t spent so much time trying to cut deals with individual Senators.

"They’re really more responsible -- because they focused on deal making, like Arlen Specter switching, and Ben Nelson, and deals with the insurance companies – rather than crafting the right strategy, explaining it to people and being out there as leaders. And I believe that."

The House is expected to vote on a health care package this weekend. Every Pennsylvania Democrat voted for an earlier version of the health care bill last year, except for Jason Altmire and Tim Holden.
Holden says he’ll vote “no” again, while Altmire is undecided.

If the measure passes, Senate Democrats will try to adopt the House changes using reconciliation, which bypasses the cloture vote Republicans could use to stall its passage.
President Obama says the plan will provide coverage for more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

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