Rachel Maddow talks to Rep. Anthony Weiner, who threw down the gauntlet on health care reform, and forced the Republicans to vote on an amendment abolishing Medicare.
Rachel reports on the battle going on between those in Congress who are representing the interests of the insurance companies, and those representing the interests of their constituents.
Maddow: As for the many, many cries against a publicly funded insurance plan, well Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York is all over it. Congressman Weiner has cast himself as the health care version of Clarence the Angel, forcing everyone in Congress to think what life would be like without a very popular, already existing publicly funded health insurance plan. Congressman Weiner introduced an amendment tonight that would eliminate Medicare. Of course Mr. Weiner didn’t actually want Medicare to be eliminated. But he did want to force every conservative on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to have to go on the record that their position on the government run health plan upon which forty three million voters rely. In other words, really Republicans? You’re against government funded health care? Care to go on the real record with that? Care to vote to kill Medicare?
Rep. Weiner goes on to explain why his amendment went down in flames and that the Republicans just hate any government run health care, unless it’s Medicare and they are forced to say whether they’d really want to get rid of it. He then tells Rachel about a very bold move he’s going to make on health care reform.
Weiner: But it does lead us to the next logical step where I need my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to start to come to, and that is not why have a public option, but why have a private option at all? If we know for example that the one experiment we have is very successful in publicly funded health care through Medicare, why do we even need the insurance companies? What constructive role are they playing? We know they’re taking tens of billions of dollars each year and putting it into profits that should be going into health care, so tomorrow I’m going to be taking the next step and offering a true single payer health care plan, and I wanted people today to start to think about, “hey maybe that’s the way we do it”. It’s simpler, and we know that it works.
All I can say is amen brother. I think the Democrats have been wrong not to push for single payer and make the Republicans and Blue Dogs walk back from that. The Republicans are going to try to kill any reform whether it’s single payer, or even the compromised position of a public option. I think getting a decent public option in place would lead to single payer, but I don’t understand why they started there. If Congressman Weiner is willing to get enough of them on board with him to fight for single payer, and try to get some real reform passed, I’m with him. I guess we’ll be finding out how this plays with the leadership shortly.