Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s healthcare bill, which squeaked to passage in the House Saturday night, wasn’t liberal enough for one of the House’s most liberal members.
The bill doesn’t go far enough to establish government control over the nation’s healthcare system and instead rewards private insurance companies, says Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who also ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
The legislation "forces people to buy private insurance, makes them pay a penalty if they do not,” Kucinich told Fox’s Greta Van Susteren Monday night. “Insurance companies are in the business to make money. In healthcare, they make money not providing healthcare.
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“If we want healthcare, then let’s have health and put money into healthcare, not take one out of every $3 and give it to the insurance companies.”
The congressman said he does not believe people should be forced to buy private insurance and complained that single-payer healthcare was taken off the table and the public option was diluted.
“The state single-payer protection amendment, which I had in the bill was taken out,” Kucinich said. “In the end, this is the insurance companies getting carte blanche and the Congress giving up its power to insurance companies.”
He told Van Susteren he had talks with Pelosi about his single-payer protection amendment, but she said it was removed from the bill because the White House wanted to avoid getting heat from the insurance industry.
Kucinich, however, said he moves toward the center when it comes to popular concerns about costs and how much the government will have to borrow to pay for the plan that passed the House.
He believes the bill, which passed the House, 220-215, is unlikely to make it into law because it will be modified significantly once the Senate passes its healthcare bill and the House-Senate conference committee works out the differences.
"Anything goes in conference, which is why I am telling everyone that I was concerned about the insurance companies and protecting the 10 states and more where there are active single-payer movements,” Kucinich said. “Let’s take another run at this in conference and see if there is a way to get out of the bill, which will be passed in conference committee.”
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