Liberal Dem: Obama 'nailed' public option

A vice chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) said on Thursday that President Obama "nailed" the public option during his speech to a joint session of Congress last night.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) took to Twitter to endorse the president's take on the controversial public health plan. However, not all liberal House leaders shared Ellison's exact sentiments.

CPC co-chairman Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said that while he was glad Obama kept the public option on the table, "the president needs to be more direct on what the public option means and what it will do for the American people."

Ellison tweeted:

Obama hit ball out of the park. Obama nailed PO. Progressives sent letters to WH, gathered signatures, held mtgs, stood against bullies.

The second-term Democrat credited liberal members of Congress several times for Obama' stance on the public plan, tweeting earlier:

No doubt, Progressives in Congress & across U.S. pushed WH to stick w/ PO. Credit Obama for listening. Progressives=Power. Get use to it.

Here is a key portion of Obama's speech that discusses the public option:

But an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. Let me be clear – it would only be an option for those who don’t have insurance. No one would be forced to choose it, and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance. In fact, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, we believe that less than 5% of Americans would sign up...

It is only one part of my plan, and should not be used as a handy excuse for the usual Washington ideological battles. To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it. The public option is only a means to that end – and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal. And to my Republican friends, I say that rather than making wild claims about a government takeover of health care, we should work together to address any legitimate concerns you may have.


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