Obama's health care plan picks up support

March 17, 2010 12:52:46 PM PDT
He may be the most liberal Congressman, which is why the change-of-heart by Dennis Kucinich, from a no-to-a-yes on President Obama's health care reform proposal is so huge.

H-U-G-E.

Kucinich has been from the get-go a staunch supporter of real health care reform - the whole enchilada, from single-payer system of one giant insurance pool, to public option to compete with private insurance companies. Basically, Medicare for all.

He voted against the House Democratic bill last fall because it wasn't strong enough in creating a public option.

This week, Pres. Obama invited Kucinich - who's made his own (far-fetched) bids for the White House - to travel to Ohio on Air Force One, as Mr. Obama campaigned for passage of the reform bill.

Oh to be an attendant on that 747 and hear a bit of the arm twisting between the former community organizer from Illinois and the veteran Congressman from Ohio who likely questions his President's credentials as any kind of leftie.

Kucinich insists there was no quid pro quo for his support, no deal making, no pot-sweetening proposal to, say, increase Medicare funds for Ohio. Nothing.

Instead, he was convinced by a convincing Chief Executive that "there's something much bigger at stake here for America." Kucinich insists he's still has "many differences" with Mr. Obama on policy, "you have to be very careful that the potential of President Obama's presidency not be destroyed by this debate."

So Congressman Kucinich held his nose, swallowed hard, and decided to change his mind.

For the President, it's big.

The Kucinich announcement wasn't the only good news for the President about health care. A group American nuns who, despite their opposition to abortion, came out today and urged Congress to support the Senate version of the health care bill.

The nuns run through their arguments about why the bill is needed: The investment in preventative care, it will bar insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, it will serve poor women and children, and, "despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions.... This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it." We'll have the latest on the health care reform debate and upcoming vote, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, the flooding and the power outages are still problems for thousands of people in our area. As the rivers recede, some folks are going back to their houses to discover - well, you can just imagine. And for a fifth consecutive night, thousands are still without electricity. We're with them tonight.

And we're following the latest staffer heading towards the exit in the administration of New York Gov. David Paterson. This time it's his press secretary, Marissa Shorenstein, the fourth departure for the troubled Governor.

She says she's quitting because she's unwittingly become part of the story involving allegations against Mr. Paterson. Shorenstein's email, first disclosed by Eyewitness News investigative reporter Sarah Wallace, was directed at the woman who claims a top Paterson aide assaulted her. Did Shorenstein do the Governor's bidding to try to get the woman to drop her allegations? That's part of the investigation.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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