A Blue Dog 'no' on health care sounds a little more like a 'yes'
By Shailagh Murray
House Democratic leaders struggling to build a 217-vote majority to pass health care appear to be making progress with one Democrat who opposed the original House version: Rep. Bart Gordon (Tenn.).
Gordon, a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog coalition who is retiring this year, released a statement Thursday suggesting the cost-containment measures that President Obama proposed earlier this week to appeal to Republicans had steered the bill into more favorable territory. He didn't say he would vote for the current bill -- but Gordon's press release attracted considerable attention among his colleagues for appearing to open the door.
"Throughout the debate over the past year, I've said any responsible health-care bill must do two things: reduce overall health-care spending and increase access to affordable care," Gordon said. "I voted against the House bill in November because it expanded coverage but did not do enough to bring down costs. I'm pleased to see the discussion moving in a more fiscally responsible direction now."
Gordon singled out Obama's proposal to provide additional grants to states to test whether tighter medical malpractice laws lead to lower costs. He cited Tennessee's "Certificate of Merit" program that requires lawsuits to be certified by a medical expert as having medical merit before they may be filed. The number of lawsuits filed against Tennessee physicians dropped more than 60 percent in the first year the program was enacted, Gordon noted.
"Cost-cutting reforms like this should be at the center of any successful health care bill, and I'm glad the president has included this one in his proposal," Gordon said.
Web Politics Editor
March 4, 2010; 6:11 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Health Care
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