Perriello would vote for a health care reform bill without the public option
Congressman Tom Perriello (D-5) has held more town hall meetings on health care reform than any representative in the United States. Today, in an exclusive interview, on NBC12 First at Four, he told me that if a bill was presented that reformed the system and reduced cost but did not include a public health care option, he would support it.
“I don’t think that is where the ultimatum is,” said Perriello when referring to the public option. “The big question for me is, are we going to bring down the costs of those premiums?”
But while, he while he left the door open to keeping the public option out of the reform plan, he seemed to indicate that it may be the best path to bringing down costs, which is his ultimate concern. “The debate is whether the public option or co-ops create more competition or not,” said the Congressman. “I think there is a lot of evidence that they can create the competitive pressure that will bring those costs down for folks.”
Perriello’s stance on health care reform puts him at odds with the liberal wing of the democratic party, many of whom helped to get him elected. Across the country activist groups have begun fundraising drives to support candidates that have said they will only vote for a health care bill that includes the public option. Perriello who has often enjoyed the support of movements such as these is not among the group benefiting from the funding push.
As for the town halls themselves, Perriello also disagrees with the party establishment. While the Democratic National Committee has put out adds calling the health care reform opponents “the mob”, Perriello has found the forums to be instructive and the discourse with even those who disagree with him, polite.
“I have been really impressed with the people, regardless of their views, at these meetings.” Perriello said. “They’ve been tense, but they have never gone from a simmer to a boil. I think people are there generally of their own free will and wanting to state their mind.”
The full, uncut interview with Congressman Perriello can be seen below.