Dean: Obama should not sign bill without a public option

Signals from the White House that the president might drop the public health insurance option from a refrom bill have provoked a stern reaction from liberal Democrats, including former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean.

"I don't think the president should sign a bill which puts $60 billion of taxpayer's money into the private health insurance industry," said the former Vermont governor on MSNBC's "Morning Meeting." "That's what this bill would be without a public option."

If the bill does not include a public entity to provide coverage to the uninsured, "then don't call it health reform," Dean added. He said that co-ops do not work and would be an unsatisfactory solution.

The 2004 presidential candidate said that without the public option, Congress should strip funding from the bill and focus on "insurance reform" that would correct problems in the market.

But in the end, Dean asserted that the bill would include a public option.

"I think the public option is going to pass and it's going to be signed by the president," he said.

Dean argued that the negotiations would boil down to a back-and-forth between centrist Blue Dogs and liberal Democrats, saying that Republicans would offer nearly universal opposition to the bill to "hurt the president."

If the health reform bill comes to a floor vote, Dean said "Blue Dogs are not going to vote against a healthcare bill, they can't do that."