According to national polls just released, a majority of Americans want health care reform, in some form. A CBS-New York Times poll says that 72 percent support the idea of a government run health plan, with 57 percent saying they’d pay more taxes for universal health care. Other national polls showed even higher numbers.Two of South Carolina’s congressional leaders are heavily involved in the health care reform debate.
James Clyburn, House majority Whip and advisor to President Barack Obama, says a public option has not been decided upon.
“A public option can come in many different forms,” he says, “I’m one of those who believes very strongly that we ought to have 100 percent coverage in community health centers. Community health centers would be very strong on the prevention side and would do a whole lot to break down the cost of health care.”
South Carolina senior Senator Lindsay Graham calls it socialized medicine.
On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopolis, he spoke against the Kennedy Dodd health care proposal.
“The reason you’re not going to have government-run health care pass the Senate is because it would be devastating for this country. The last thing in the world I think Democrats and Republicans are going to do at the end of the day is create a government-run health care system where you’ve got a bureaucrat standing in between the patient and the doctor. We’ve tried this model — people have tried this model in other countries. The first thing that happens — you have to wait for your care.”
The Congressional Budget Office says that the Kennedy Dodd plan could cost $1 trillion to cover one-third of Americans.
The U.S. House has released a discussion draft for a health care plan Congressman Clyburn calls it an historic and auspicious starting point for discussion. He and Graham agree that for any health plan to have staying power, it needs to have bi-partisan support.
Clyburn says they will come up with something in the House that will have a strong public option to it:
“Now there are a lot of Blue Dogs who don’t like the public option. I don’t know of a single member of the (Congressional) Black Caucus who would not like to see a public option. So we’ll come up with something and it’ll be something different than what the Senate will come up with. Then we’ll get to the conference (committee) and see what we come out with,” says Clyburn.
Graham says he might consider a plan by a Senate Democrat Kent Conrad (D-South Dakota) which would create a co-op health care model versus a public option.
Graham told Stephanopolis, “I think this idea is unnerving to the Senate and it will be to the public when they understand what it means, that you’ll wait longer to get treated and you’ll get the health care that they government decides for you, not that of your doctor. So yes, I think this idea needs to go away and replace it with something like Kent Conrad’s.”
Conrad’s compromise creates not-for-profit health care cooperatives owned by citizens and small businesses, similar to how electric cooperatives work.