Obama and Lee on the public option, Afghanistan

President Barack Obama met yesterday afternoon at the White House with members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, trying to allay their fears about the public option included in the newly revamped House health care reform bill. They’ve wanted a public plan with rates based on Medicare, but the new bill would let providers negotiated directly with the federal government.

Here’s what Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee had to say about the meeting:

“This is a truly historic time in our country. Today, we are closer to comprehensive health care reform than we have ever been in the past 70 years.

“I applaud our leadership for their efforts to unveil the current bill. While I have worked with my colleagues consistently to include a public option in this bill there is still work to do. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that the final package has the strongest public option and health equity provisions possible.

“A public option is essential to ensuring coverage of as many uninsured Americans as possible, as well as cost containment provisions to limit increased premiums for the 85 percent of Americans who currently have health insurance.

“In our meeting with President Obama I emphasized the importance of having the public option remain in the final bill to come out of conference. Additionally, it is important to keep every existing health equity provision intact. The Office of Minority Health should receive the same prioritization that the Office of Women’s Health is set to receive, especially given the data on racial and ethnic health disparities.

“More than 70 percent of Americans support health care reform with a public option, therefore we have a moral obligation to provide them with the choice and accountability that a public plan would provide.”

Also, check out this Huffington Post interview with Lee about her bill, H.R. 3699, that would bar federal funding to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.


  1. Josh, what is it with you and Bobby Lee anyway?

    Bobby Lee represents The Peoples Republic of Berkeley both geographically and philosophically.

    Nobody in Contra Costa County gives a rat’s ass about her.

  2. Now, Elwood, you know perfectly well that this blog serves not only the Contra Costa Times’ readers but also those of all the other Bay Area News Group-East Bay newspapers, including the Oakland Tribune and Daily Review of Hayward – both of which cover Lee’s district. It’s not all about you!

  3. I won’t argue with you about what papers this blog serves, even though it says Contra Costa Times in the extreme upper left hand corner, but I reiterate in case you missed it:

    “Nobody in Contra Costa County gives a rat’s ass about her.”

    You, however, seem to think that she is quite important. Could it be that that’s because your views and hers coincide so nicely?

  4. What bull ,85% of the people our happy with there current heath care. And nobody want to go from a 33.3 tax rate, to 60% like Canada

  5. Apparently Rep George Miller is a co-sponsor of HealthscaareHR3962
    Obama said he will not let up until Americans who seek jobs can find them, business that seek capital and credit can thrive, and responsible homeowners can stay in their homes, but what we have seen is a stimulus that Americans never voted for, over 1 thous. pages, passed in the House without being read by many reps., much of the stimulus funds being used for special interest; around 1.1 billion of this stimulus money was used to establish a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research to delegate spending authority to the HHS Secretary to investigate the effectiveness of different drugs and medical devices.(1), and enough bills in the House, (cap and trade, café standards for cars, 2nd stimulus) (2) that if passed would cripple the economy. If Obama truly wants to help Americans why are there so many government programs in his agenda, instead of programs that help the economy? Cash for Clunkers, and Government Healthcare take money from one pocket and put it into another, this does not help the economy.

    1.hhs – gov – recovery/programs/os/cerbios.html
    2 thomas – gov will describe bills – description of bills; clicking on Senate/Congress , then Senators/Congressman will bring their phone numbers, addresses and links to their e-mails.

    Cnsnews-com – republicans have offered three alternative health care reform bills-
    -Empowering Patients First Act – a 130 page plan – Tom Price GA
    -Health Care Freedom Plan – 41 page proposal – Sen Jim DeMint S.C. S853
    -Patients Choice Act of 2009 – 130 pages formed by bicameral coalition of Republicans in House and Senate Rep.Paul Ryan WI
    -Healthy Americans Act S391
    -HR 3400 Congressman Bob Latta is a co-sponsor

    STIMULUS DOLLARS ($2BILLION) ARE ALREADY BEING USED FOR PROGRAMS TO HELP LOW-INCOME AND UNINSURED INDIVIDUDALS with health care services – hhs -.gov/recovery/programs Thursday Sep 10, 2009 Recovery Act Allocates $1.1 Billion for Comparative Effectiveness Research

    – type in search box – health professions stimulus bill payments announced – read the last line
    aanp – org – AANPCMS2/LegislationPractice/Health+Professions+Stimulus+Bill+Payments+Announced.htm
    Health Professions Stimulus Bill Payments Announced


    H.R.164 : To provide greater health care freedom for seniors.
    Sponsor: Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] (introduced 1/6/2009) Cosponsors (4)
    Committees: House Ways and Means; House Energy and Commerce
    Latest Major Action: 1/6/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

    2. H.R.502 : To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve health care choice by providing for the tax deductibility of medical expenses by individuals.
    Sponsor: Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] (introduced 1/14/2009) Cosponsors (29)
    Committees: House Ways and Means
    Latest Major Action: 1/14/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

    3. S.1324 : A bill to ensure that every American has a health insurance plan that they can afford, own, and keep.
    Sponsor: Sen DeMint, Jim [SC] (introduced 6/23/2009) Cosponsors (2)
    Committees: Senate Finance
    Latest Major Action: 6/23/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

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