This morning, single-payer advocate and public option supporter Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) defended the merged Senate bill, arguing that it’s still worth passing. “It’s not that they got a bad bill on their hands, it’s a pretty good bill,” Weiner said. “I think that Howard Dean is wrong. And I don’t think we should let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
Asked “what is it in this bill that’s going to lower costs and provide more choice” since Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) insisted on stripping the bill of the public option and the Medicare buy-in provision, Weiner argued that covering more Americans would minimize the cost shift from the uninsured:
WEINER: No, that’s easy. I mean frankly, when you have 30 million people who are uninsured today going into hospital emergency rooms getting very expensive costs, passing along the burden. We in New York City pay $6 billion what could be in extra taxes for the uninsured. Theoretically, those people are going to be covered now, so they’re going to get better health care than they’re getting today.
O’DONNELL: How if there is no public option?
WEINER: I understand there is no public option but there are 30 million people who are going to be getting health insurance who don’t have it today. Those people are going to be getting more efficient less expensive care, not passing onto you and me higher costs. That’s a good thing. That’s an unvarnished good thing.
Weiner also encourage President Obama to travel to Nebraska to rally support for health care reform and appealed to the President to take a strong position in support of the public option and other progressive principles.