Democrats and Republicans Agree Health Care Reform Isn’t Dead Yet

Posted January 31, 2010 at 10:50am

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday that health care reform is not dead and that Democrats are still determined to “shove this down the throats of the American people.—Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,— Boehner said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders are unwilling to give up on passing the overhaul, despite the public opposition to the plan.“I do think they are having problems but think Republicans continue to vigilant in opposing this,— Boehner said, adding that the “American people need to stay engaged.—“They are still trying to find way to shove this down the throats of American people,— he added.Boehner said Democrats should simply “start over— and added that the last thing Americans want is a “government takeover— of the best health care system in the world.Democrats, meanwhile, maintained that health care reform remains a top priority, even as they acknowledged ongoing negotiations between the House and Senate on a final package have idled. “No, it’s not dead. We’re in conversation with the Senate to figure out how we can structure something,— Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.— Van Hollen noted that certain provisions, such as the $100 million Medicaid fix for the state of Nebraska, dubbed the “Cornhusker Kickback,— must be dropped before it can pass Congressional muster. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) secured the provision before voting for the Senate bill late last year and has since said it should be removed if all states don’t get the same treatment.President Barack Obama urged Congress not to abandon health care reform during his State of the Union address last week. And Pelosi suggested last week that her chamber could move smaller reforms while trying to find agreement with the Senate on the broader bill. Also under consideration is having the House try to move the Senate-passed version and/or clearing a portion of the package through filibuster-busting reconciliation rules.“The goal is still to try to get comprehensive health care passed,— Van Hollen said. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, speaking on CNN, declared the health care bill is “still inside the five-yard line.— He said Democrats are just “one vote away— from making it a reality.Still, Gibbs wouldn’t forecast how the final bill would look or what form it would take. “I don’t think we know yet,— Gibbs said.Gibbs also reiterated Obama’s commitment to working with Republicans on the issue, despite the GOP’s yearlong opposition to the effort. “The president is ready, wiling and able to listen to Republican ideas for how to improve the health care bill,— Gibbs said.