Washington, DC – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today announced his continuing support for health care reform with a strong public option available as soon as possible to all Americans, emphasizing that a final bill containing triggers, state opt-out language or excessive restrictions on reproductive rights will be defeated in the House.
“The American people have made clear their support for an effective public option throughout this process, and now it’s time to give them one,” Grijalva said. “Further watering down an already weakened public insurance program, either out of misplaced political calculation or a misunderstanding of policy, would be a profound mistake. Voters, including political independents, continue to back a public option by a wide margin, and anyone standing in the way will be held accountable.”
The recently released Senate health care bill gives states the right to deny their citizens access to public insurance, the result of a prolonged negotiation in which a handful of senators objected to a public option available to everyone equally. The House version creates a public option accessible regardless of place of residence.
“The original goal was universal coverage, and we have already compromised that goal far too much,” Grijalva said. “Voters and progressive voices in Congress have made it clear that the time for compromise is over. An ineffective public option, created to meet every contradictory demand in Washington, will not give the American people the help they need, and it will not reflect well on this Congress.
“The nation is watching closely,” Grijalva added. “Millions of Americans know what will and won’t work, and they know who has stepped up to meet this challenge.”
Grijalva also said a final bill – the result of expected negotiations between House and Senate leaders based on each chamber’s approved language – should not include the overreaching restrictions on abortion coverage included as a last-minute compromise in the House version.
“Abortion is a constitutionally protected right in this country, and attempts to weaken that right or deny it to tens of millions of women around the country are unjust,” Grijalva said. “In a hasty search for a few final votes, House leaders traded away far too much when they allowed the Stupak amendment to come to a vote. Unless a final bill strips this language, progressive voices will rally against it and defeat it.”
Grijalva had particular words for Americans already disappointed by the compromises made in the House bill.
“I share your frustration and want a good bill as much as you do,” Grijalva said. “This is a long and difficult process, and progressives have not won every fight. The last several months have been a tough challenge for the Progressive Caucus and for health care advocates everywhere, and it has been inspiring to see so much hard work done for such a good cause. I am convinced that a good, effective bill can still come out of this process, and I ask everyone to lend their strength and support for the final push. We’re going to give Americans the help they need and the fair, equitable health care system they deserve.”