Aisle-Crossing Democratic Congressmen May Sink Healthcare Reform

Dennis Kucinich and Bart Stupak might vote with Republicans to kill healthcare reform efforts.  Two Democratic Congressmen – Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Bart Stupak (D-MI) – may torpedo President Barack Obama’s efforts to reform the way healthcare is delivered in the United States.  Both Congressmen are threatening to cross party lines and vote with House Republicans, who are united in their solid opposition to healthcare reform.

Kucinich justifies his “no” vote on the fact the legislation lacks a robust public option – a provision that the Republicans staunchly oppose – and describes the bill as a “giveaway” to the insurance companies.  Republicans have called on the president to dump the bill, saying it is too expensive, complicated and burdensome on businesses and individuals who will be required to buy healthcare insurance, often with government subsidies.

Stupak is threatening to vote to defeat healthcare reform for an entirely different reason.  His objection is that the legislation might allow federal funds to be used to reimburse patients for abortions.  “Yes.  We’re prepared to take responsibility,” Stupak said on “Good Morning America” when asked if he and 11 other Democrat were willing to accept the consequences for bringing down healthcare reform over abortion. “Let’s face it. I want to see healthcare.  But we’re not going to bypass the principles of belief that we feel strongly about,” he said.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated that when it comes to this issue, the administration merely wants to maintain the status quo and believes that Stupak ultimately will be persuaded to vote with his fellow Democrats.  “This is not a bill about abortion.  This is about healthcare reform,” Gibbs said.

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