Weiner: Senate healthcare deal could cost 100 House votes

A healthcare reform deal abandoning a public (or "government-run") option for consumers could cost as many as 100 Democratic votes in the House, one House Democratic lawmaker warned Monday.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) asserted that rumored compromises on a Senate bill to win centrist votes would torpedo healthcare reform's prospects with liberal members of the House.

"If the president thinks he's cutting a deal to get Senate votes, he's probably losing House votes," Weiner warned during an interview on CNBC this morning.

The liberal New York Democrat said that healthcare reform would be essentially meaningless without having a public option made available for consumers.

Obama administration officials had subtly signaled during the Sunday morning talk show circuit that they may relent on their desired public option in favor of establishing healthcare cooperatives, an issue on which centrist Democrats and Republicans have expressed some semblance of agreement.

"If he says, 'Well, we're not going to have that,' then I'm not really quite sure what we're doing here anymore," Weiner said.

He added that he wouldn't vote for a bill without a public option, as well: "Not only I, but I think there's about 100 members of the House that you need to have something to bring down the prices."

Weiner mildly chided President Obama for his work to defend his healthcare priorities, arguing that the president had done a poor job of convincing senior citizens that the reform legislation would leave their Medicare coverage unaffected.

"Medicare's been used as the bogeyman," Weiner said. "And President Obama up to now hasn't done a great job of putting their mind at ease, and that's part of the problem."

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