Conyers Says Obama Flip-Flopped on Single-Payer Plan
August 4, 2009 - 4:40 PMRep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that President Obama used to support a single-payer health care plan but flip-flopped on the issue because of the "Rahm Emanuel Factor."
Conyers described that as meaning the White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, who is one of the president’s senior advisers, will cut any deal necessary to help elect Democrats next year and re-elect Obama in 2012.
“I can remember when Obama agreed with me,” said Conyers, referencing Obama’s past support of a single-payer health care system at a recent National Press Club luncheon.
In reference to why Obama changed his mind about single-payer, Conyers said: “I'm just guessing now, because we haven't talked about it, but he wants it because of the Rahm Emanuel factor. Okay. I'm glad you asked me. The Rahm Emanuel factor, to quote him, is that, look, we want success, and we're willing to make a deal about anything. Does that make you feel pretty comfortable about health care?"
“And that’s the whole idea, is that he wants a bill," said Conyers. "He wants to win in the off-year elections. He [Emanuel] wants our president reelected the next time he comes up, and so do I. But I don't want anything that's stamped ‘reform’ and let it go at that.”
Conyers then said that the approach President Obama is taking now will not achieve its objective of holding down health-care costs.
“This will not hold down costs. It will not cover everybody,” Conyers said in reference to the current health care legislation on Capitol Hill.
“It will not take away the misery of hundreds of thousands of people who have been caught--we have so many horror stories about people having to go in bankruptcy,” said Conyers. “Well, we're having a hearing on it next week in Judiciary--about the major cause of personal bankruptcies is health care bills, hospital bills, doctor bills--and the tragedy of people not being able to eat or pay rent, or even get their pharmaceutical prescriptions.