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What Kucinich Will Have to Walk Back if He Flip Flops

7:35 PM, Mar 16, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is holding a press conference at 10 a.m. tomorrow to announce his vote on the health care bill. Kucinich voted "no" on the House bill in November. So it seems very likely that he's going to flip his vote to "yes"--Kucinich wouldn't rebuke Obama so publicly, would he?

Here's what Kucinich will have to walk back if he flip flops. He said of Obama's "plan" for the Senate bill a few weeks ago:

"The new proposal starts with a wholly unacceptable Senate health care bill and, with a few exceptions, continues to make it worse.  It's a much better bill for insurance company investors than it is for the American people.  We need reform that has already proven to increase quality and covers everyone while controlling cost; single payer."

Excerpts from a March 8 MSNBC interview (see transcript after the jump):

This bill represents a giveaway to the insurance industry, $70 billion a year, and no guarantees of any control over premiums, forcing people to buy private insurance, five consecutive years of double-digit premium increases.

[...] If that sounded like a no, you're correct. [...]

MR. O'DONNELL: What do you say to the president and Democrats who say, "Let's get this passed and then we can build on it with future legislation"?

REP.KUCINICH: You're building on sand. There's no structure here. You're building on a foundation of privatization of our health- care system. That's the problem. The insurance companies are the problem. They're nothing to build on. We build our hopes on the insurance companies and all we're going to have is more poverty in this country.

So was this all bluster just to gain leverage for some sweet deal in the reconciliation bill? A promise to act on other legislation or a conduct federal investigation of UFOs? There's a chance Kucinich could reaffirm his opposition to Obamacare in a public forum, just as Obama lobbied him at a public speech in Kucinich's district yesterday. We'll see. 


Will you vote yes for the Senate bill?

REP. KUCINICH: Well, keep in mind, I voted against the first version of the bill in the House. I told the president twice, in two different meetings, that I couldn't support the bill if it didn't have a robust public option and if it -- at least if it didn't have something that was going to protect consumers from these rapid premium increases. And you know what? The White House counts me as wavering.

The fact of the matter is -- I listened to the president in your news story here. And to hear the president, you'd think that he was for single payer, at least a public option. But he's not. This bill represents a giveaway to the insurance industry, $70 billion a year, and no guarantees of any control over premiums, forcing people to buy private insurance, five consecutive years of double-digit premium increases.

I mean, I'm sorry, I just don't see that this bill is a solution. The insurance companies are the problem, and we're giving them a version of a bailout.

MR. O'DONNELL: So did we just get a no there, Congressman? Will you vote against the Senate bill at the first stage of this process in the House?

REP. KUCINICH: If that sounded like a no, you're correct.

MR. O'DONNELL: Okay. Will you be comfortable if it turns out you are, in effect, the single vote that defeats health-care reform?

REP. KUCINICH: Every vote counts, and I'm one of 435 members of the House of Representatives. The White House has known my position. It's not a secret. Democratic leaders have known my position. You have to remember that I carried a single-payer proposal to three Democratic National Conventions, three times to the platform committee, twice as a presidential candidate.

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