We talked to Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) on The Young Turks last night. He gave us an important look into what happened inside the Democratic Caucus meeting on healthcare reform.
Rahm Emanuel came to speak to the House Democrats and said he was misinterpreted by the Wall Street Journal when they quoted him as being open to negotiating away the public option. The Progressive Caucus, with their 80 members, threw down the gauntlet and said they must have a "robust public option" in the bill in order to vote for it. And perhaps most importantly, the Blue Dogs seemed to step out of the way and agree to a public option.
These are important developments. And Rep. Yarmuth added, "I think it would be almost impossible to get a bill out of the House without a strong public option on it."
It seems clear at this point that the Democrats in the House are drawing a line in the sand on the public option. In fact, when asked specifically, Rep. Yarmuth said, "I really think it is [a line in the sand]."
Watch the interview here:
You can read the whole transcript and some of the more powerful quotes here.
Rep. Yarmuth also had a great quote on the importance of this healthcare reform effort:
This is the Super Bowl of legislation; this is Wimbledon; this is the U.S. Open if you're in a golf context or the Masters. This is the most important thing we'll do.
It sounds like the House Democrats are trying to encourage President Obama to do the right thing here. This is not time for half-measures that won't get the job done. If Obama is going to deliver on his promise of change, this is the the time and healthcare reform with a public option is the issue.
This is his legacy. Will it be one of false promises that leaves a broken system essentially intact or will he have the courage to deliver on what he promised? It looks like the House Democrats are trying to push him in the right direction. Let's hope he listens to their clear message.