Obama Takes Liberals’ Temperature on Health Care

Posted September 4, 2009 at 3:44pm

President Barack Obama reached out to liberal House Democrats on Friday in advance of what many consider a make-or-break speech next week to revive his health care overhaul.

Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus participated in the call and reiterated to the president their support for a strong public insurance option, said Progressive Caucus Co-chairwoman Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.). Obama did not make any definitive statements and asked for a follow-up meeting Tuesday or Wednesday, Woolsey said.

On Wednesday night, Obama is set to address a joint session of Congress on health care. Democrats are hoping he will use the speech to lay out more details about his plans.

Obama faces a difficult task given that many liberal Members have publicly vowed to oppose any bill that does not have a public insurance option, while skittish moderates, many of whom have been pummeled at town halls over the August recess, have sought to include a “trigger— that would only allow for a public option if private insurance plans fail to control costs.