Progressives Begin To Push Back Against Conard's Plan

The supporters of a public health insurance option have began to push back against Senator Conard's “alternative”. Health Care for America Now (HCAN), one of the largest health care reform advocacy groups, has rejected Conrad's idea of eliminating the public option and only offering private cooperatives instead.

More importantly, the Congressional Progressive Caucus today reaffirmed that they will vote against any health care bill which does not contain a public plan. Their statement is a powerful rebuke of Senator Conrad's proposal. The House Progressive Caucus is the largest Democratic caucus in the House.

While most of the media coverage has been focused on efforts to gain the support of Republican senators, the Progressive Caucus is arguably more powerful. It is possible to pass health care legislation against united Senate Republican opposition, but it would be impossible to get legislation through the House if the majority of the Progressive Caucus votes against it.

The big question mark is just how determined the Progressive Caucus is. Will they abandon their principles for some moderate improvements to our health care system? Or will they keep their promise and reject health care reform without a public option? If they remain resolute they have the power to shape the debate to their goals.

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