Conyers hits public option as 'half-stepping' reform

President Obama and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) are "half-stepping" their proposed reforms of healthcare, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) argued Thursday.

Conyers said that the plans being considered in Congress, which may establish the right for consumers to opt into a public, or "government-run," option, do not go far enough.

"With all respect to Ted Kennedy...this is not a time to just patch up the system and declare victory," Conyers, an advocate of a single-payer system said on the Bill Press radio show. "We're saying this is it."

Conyers, who as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee commands clout with colleagues, said that President Obama's proposal to include a public option stops short of needed reform.

"He and I are going to talk about that," the long-serving Michigan Democrat said. "This is not the time for half-stepping. If we accept anything less than what we're proposing -- and what he originally proposed -- we'll be fooling around and costs will continue to rise."

"Break the relationship between employers and healthcare," Conyers urged, saying that healthcare should not be a profit-making business. "There doesn't need to be any."