Reps. Harman and Loretta Sanchez Explain Themselves to the Blue Dogs

Representatives Jane Harman and Loretta Sanchez are pretty proud of their Blue Dog status.  While Sanchez’s seat in a stretch could be considered in play, Harman’s is a very safe Democratic seat. With them, it isn’t really about covering their backsides from the oncoming Republican hordes, they are simply Blue Dog Believers.  And that’s what makes this HuffPo article from the pair that much more interesting:

We’re Blue Dogs, too, and we believe in the group’s core principles. But we’ve broken with our Blue Dog sisters and brothers over their lukewarm support for the public insurance option a concept we think must be part of a successful health care reform package.

Far from being an option of last resort or a government-funded takeover of the country’s health care system, we see the public option as a critical market mechanism that will drive down costs, foster competition and expand Americans’ insurance choices. This is not just smart health care policy, it is smart economic policy.

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The health care debate in Congress will continue through the end of the year. The recent Senate Finance Committee defeat of two amendments to include a public insurance option in its health care reform bill is a disappointing setback. Nevertheless, we remain hopeful that at the end of its process, Congress will have succeeded in passing a fiscally responsible health care bill that includes a robust public option.

This is our best bet to ensure Californians have access to quality, affordable health care without burdening future generations. (Huffington Post)

It is often times frustrating to seethe Blue Dogs thwarting a progressive vision for the nation, but it is heartening to see that individual members can look at policy for policy’s sake rather than just instinctively try to play it safe and follow the insurance industry dollars. This is the issue of our time. Or as Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said as she voted for the Baucus Bill, “When history calls, history calls.”

Now is the time for other Blue Dogs to heed the words of these two California Blue Dogs. We need real reform, and we need the public option.

2 thoughts on “Reps. Harman and Loretta Sanchez Explain Themselves to the Blue Dogs”

  1. The Baucus Plan is uber fail. In the state of Massachusetts all the plan is doing is lining the pockets of the insurance industry while people are having less choice and increased cost, and if you dont buy the right insurance plan you are still going to be taxed.

    As someone low income and uninsured, I would prefer the public option, but we need to learn from the mistakes of Canada and Great Britain in order to establish our own public option system.    

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