Ross (D-AR) predicts demise of "public option" in health care debate

El Dorado TEA Party leader: Blue Dog Democratpredicted that final

reform bill will not include a government-subsidized health plan


EL DORADO, Ark. -- A vocal critic of health care reform bills being debated by Congress Thursday said that Rep.. Mike Ross, D-Ark.,Wednesday predicted that the final version of that legislation will not include a controversial government-subsidized health insurance plan that's been dubbed a "public option."


El Dorado TEA Party chairman John Wilson said Ross made the prediction during a fifteen-minute one-on-one conversation between the two immediately prior to the Blue Dog Democrat's meeting Wednesday with the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce.


"I certainly hope he's right, but what I still want to know is, will he support or oppose having a government-funded 'public option,'" Wilson said. "Today I had a chance to look Ross in the eye and ask him some tough questions on federal funding of abortions, rationed health care, the single payer plan, and tort reform. The Congressman gave me clear, concise answers that were on subject, and made no attempt to sidestep or evade any of my questions and concerns, but there are still questions unanswered," Wilson said.


For example, Wilson said Ross also insisted he will not vote for any health care reform bill that allows tax-funding of abortions.


But he said that pledge only makes him more skeptical of Ross's stand, noting that Ross already did support legislation that would allow tax-funding of abortions by voting in favor of the bill approved by the House Energy and Commerce in late July.


The National Right to Life Committee, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Associated Press, and even fellow Democrat lawmakers Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mi., and Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La. -- who voted against it in committee – say the bill Ross voted to pass out of committee would result in, as Stupak termed it, "massive federal subsidies for abortion."


"Even after talking to him face to face, I'm still not clear if I can trust him," Wilson said. "Is Congressman Ross saying he voted in favor of passing a bill out of committee that tax-funds abortions, but he'll vote against the same legislation on the floor?  If he means what he says, why not stop it in committee instead of helping it along? Arkansans deserve a straight answer we can trust, where what he says matches what he does."


Ross told those in attendance that Congress still does not know the final plan, and pointed out that it is a toss-up as to whether there will be a government option in the plan. He said that there are two bills in the Senate and three in the House and there is no way to tell at this time what will be in the final bill.