Chicago Sun-Times
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Burris will oppose health care bill if it does not have a public option


WASHINGTON--Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.)--who had billed himself as the crucial 60th vote the Democrats needed in the Senate--is breaking from the pack, saying Wednesday he will oppose any health care bill that does not have a public insurance option.

"I firmly believe in a public option and will oppose any bill that does not include one. Illinoisans have seen their insurance premiums skyrocket, while more and more families lose their coverage every day," Burris said in a statement.

Burris could be the one senator immune from pressure from any precinct. Appointed in a controversial move by the tainted now former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is facing criminal charges, Burris is not running to keep the seat in the 2010 election. He had little choice in deciding not to run; the Democratic establishment lined up against Burris believing he was too politically weak to retain the seat once held by President Obama.

Since White House and Senate power brokers David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and Dick Durbin tried to recruit someone else to run for the Senate seat Burris now holds--Burris--who has known them from years--owes them nothing.

Could be interesting. Burris is the one senator with nothing to lose and with limited opportunity to make some kind of mark in the chamber before he has to leave.

Below, from Burris....

United States Senator Roland W. Burris Becomes First Senator to Take Firm Stand on Public Option
Burris Vows He Will Only Support Healthcare Bill That Includes Public Option

Washington D.C.--Today, following the release of the Senate Finance Committee's healthcare reform plan, United States Senator Roland W. Burris made the following statement about his strong belief in a public option:

"I firmly believe in a public option and will oppose any bill that does not include one. Illinoisans have seen their insurance premiums skyrocket, while more and more families lose their coverage every day.

"We need real reform now. The inclusion of a public option as a central component to any healthcare reform legislation is the only way to create meaningful competition with the insurance companies, and in turn, bring down costs and improve quality of care for the people of Illinois and all Americans.

"Following President Obama's healthcare speech last week, there is a great deal of momentum to fix the healthcare crisis, and I am committed to working with the White House, Senate leadership, and my colleagues to achieve consensus and to affect change on this critical issue. I am confident we will pass this legislation before the end of the year, and I look forward to casting my vote in the United States Senate for a healthcare reform bill that includes a public option."



Sen Burris,

Most of Illinoians don't want the public option. Perhaps those that don't work, or most of the people you know want free healthcare.

Americans will work for what they want to have, handouts??? Chicago??? No, the most of Illinois is hard working people that pay their own way and provide their own.

Tired of paying for lazy people who just want entitlements.

Senator Burris,

I can't even begin to thank you for standing up for the public option. You were the first Senator to do that, and it means the world to me and other Illinoisans. Stand firm. Don't back down. Don't cave in or give into pressure.

Way to go Burris! Thank you for supporting the Public Option and critical health care reform.

I don't understand people who assume that individuals without adequate health care, are less deserving, or irresponsible? What's irresponsible is the citizen who doesn't support health care reform that will allow business to be more competetive, lower the cost of health care delivery per person, and operate to provide universal coverage to all American citizens.

You know, the kind of health care other enlightened countries provide their citizens.

Good for Senator Burris!! Without a public option, there is no reforming health care. And Dave, it is an OPTION, no one has to take it. It is not a handout that you have to pay for with your hard earned money, earned from the GOP to go on websites and spout their talking points. And most people in Illinois do want the public option :)

Dear Senator Burris,
While many seem to appreciate your "standing up" by refusing to support a bill without a public option, I would suggest that there is very few instances in life involving multiple interests that can conclude with all your demands. Wisdom and leadership often comes in compromise. Healthcare is complex with many competing interests and connected parts The Reform's major pillars-- eliminating pre-existing condition, --addressing lifetime maximum limits, requiring citizen accountability and adding employer participation is a TREMENDOUS STEP toward improving US healthcare to be one of the best in the world.

Please dont let this opportunity pass us by. Let's make progress on what we can. You can always work in future years to learn, and then add tort reform, public options, Intra state insurance reform, etc. And should you choose to lead these future efforts, I will be there to vote for you.

Throw The PUBLIC OPTION Obstructionist Out!

More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% republicans). Basically everyone.

According to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. With 79% of seniors supporting creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!!

We have the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed world. And the most costly. Costing over twice as much as every other county. Conservative estimates are that over 120,000 of you dies each year in America from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don't die from. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Insured and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies. This is what being 37th in quality of healthcare means.

I know that many of you are angry and frustrated that REPUBLICANS! In congress are dragging their feet and trying to block TRUE healthcare reform. What republicans want is just a taxpayer bailout of the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry, and the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry. A trillion dollar taxpayer funded private health insurance bailout is all you really get, without a robust government-run public option available on day one. Co-OP's ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION. They are a fraud being pushed by the GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry that is KILLING YOU!


These industries have been slaughtering you and your loved ones like cattle for decades for profit. Including members of congress and their families. These REPUBLICANS are FOOLS!

Republicans and their traitorous allies have been trying to make it look like it's President Obama's fault for the delays, and foot dragging. But I think you all know better than that. President Obama inherited one of the worst government catastrophes in American history from these REPUBLICANS!

But Republicans think you are just a bunch of stupid, idiot, cash cows with short memories. Just like they did under the Bush administration when they helped Bush and Cheney rape America and the rest of the World.

But you don't have to put up with that. And this is what you can do. The Republicans below will be up for reelection on November 2, 2010. Just a little over 13 months from now. And many of you will be able to vote early. So pick some names and tell their voters that their representatives (by name) are obstructing TRUE healthcare reform. And are sellouts to the insurance and medical lobbyist.

Ask them to contact their representatives and tell them that they are going to work to throw them out of office on November 2, 2010, if not before by impeachment, or recall elections.

There are many resources on the internet that can help you find people to call and contact. For example, many social networking sites can be searched by state, city, or University. Be inventive and creative. I can think of many ways to do this.These are your neighbors. And most will want to help.

I know there are a few democrats that have been trying to obstruct TRUE healthcare reform too. But the main problem is the Bush Republicans. Removing them is the best thing tactically to do. On the other hand. If you can easily replace a democrat obstructionist with a supportive democrat, DO IT!

You have been AMAZING!!! people. Don't loose heart. You knew it wasn't going to be easy. :-)

God Bless You

jacksmith — Working Class

Twitter search (#welovethenhs #NHS #hc09 #hcr #healthcar #obama #p2 #topprog #) Check it out.

Robert Reich explains the pubic option:

John Garamendi on the Public Option and the Grassroots:

Krugman on heathcare (

Republican Senators up for re-election in 2010.

* Richard Shelby of Alabama
* Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
* John McCain of Arizona
* Mel Martinez of Florida
* Johnny Isakson of Georgia
* Mike Crapo of Idaho
* Chuck Grassley of Iowa
* Sam Brownback of Kansas
* Jim Bunning of Kentucky
* David Vitter of Louisiana
* Kit Bond of Missouri
* Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
* Richard Burr of North Carolina
* George Voinovich of Ohio
* Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
* Jim DeMint of South Carolina
* John Thune of South Dakota
* Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
* Bob Bennett of Utah

Finally, someone in the Senate shows some spine! If only more Senators would follow Burris' lead. The public option is (1) the only way to reign in what insurance companies can charge their customers and (2) it's philosophically sound. Marketplace competition and consumer choice on their own have failed to reign in costs; we have seen that consumers are powerless to influence how such companies operate; alternately, there is at least a CHANCE of being able to influence how government would administer public health care: You have more power as a citizen than you do as a consumer. To be sure, concern about whether the U.S. government would handle health care well is legitimate: Such systems have worked splendidly in some countries (i.e., France) and only fairly well in others (i.e., the U.K.)--but, again, at least you have a chance of influencing such a system. Finally, as for those who call the public option the start of a "socialist" (most really mean communist) takeover: Decades ago, there were those who said the same thing about Meidcare and public education. I don't think the majority is buying that tired line. Get active, people! Call or email your senator and make them follow Burris' lead! REFORM--WITH A PUBLIC OPTION--NOW!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 16, 2009 5:31 PM.

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