For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Toby Chaudhuri
Jennifer Ettinger

House Progressives Release New Report that Backs Health Reform with Strong Public Option

Jacob Hacker, Intellectual Father of Public Plan, Releases Report on What Kind of Public Plan Will Work, Finding Coops Ineffective in Controlling Costs

WASHINGTON - Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. joined health care expert Jacob Hacker and Campaign for America's Future co-director Roger Hickey
on a conference call today to explain why a strong public plan is
critical to making health care affordable, driving competition and
guaranteeing Americans quality affordable health care.   

Hacker detailed the reasons why growing blocs of House members refuse
to support a health care bill without a public insurance option.  Hacker
highlighted the "enormous flexibility" of supporters of reform and
explained that the "public plan is not a litmus test" but rather a
"crucial part of an overall reform package," giving people the choice
they are calling for, controlling costs and driving innovations. 

"If anyone has a litmus test, it's the right.  Anything that challenges the hegemony of the private plans is bad," in their view.  But private insurers "got us into this mess" and they should not get to decide the terms of reform, said Hacker. 

added that health insurance cooperatives- a new private option likely
to come out of the Senate Finance Committee- are a "political solution
to a political problem," in sharp contrast to a public health insurance
option, which is a policy solution to a real-world problem."  


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Grijalva, co-chair of the progressive caucus, emphasized that health
insurance cooperatives are "a way to silence a pretty strong drumbeat
for a public option in the country."   To hand the same private
insurance industry a trillion more dollars "is not worth the votes." 

Ellison stressed that the Progressive Caucus will not allow the House
to pass a bill without a strong public plan.  "We've got 60 members who
will not vote for a plan without a public option.  People opposed to
the public option are siding with big insurance industry bosses against
the American people."

speakers agreed that all the bills out of committees and moving to
House and Senate votes are strong, providing an affordable choice to
Americans without employment-based coverage and health security. 

Hacker's report details how a strong public health insurance plan is
critical to successfully achieving the goals of national health
reform-lower costs, higher quality and guaranteed health security for
all Americans. The paper evaluates the different proposals for health
reform advancing through Congress for their potential to satisfy the
president's goals for health reform and why insurance cooperative are
not a substitute for a public plan.

**NOTE: For a copy of the full report please go to**


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