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Lynch Headed to White House After Blasting Health Care Bill

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) is heading to the White House this afternoon for a visit with President Barack Obama after ripping into the Senate health care bill Thursday and expressing serious doubts as to whether it can be fixed.

“I just think it’s a very poor bill,” Lynch said. “We’re trying to be convinced by some that we can fix this bill. A $1 trillion bill should not require fixing.”

Lynch, a former union president and active union member, called the Senate bill a “surrender” to insurance companies.

“There is a difference between compromise and surrender,” he said. “This is a complete surrender. … We’re paying the ransom, and at the end of the day, the insurance companies still hold the hostages.”

Lynch said he could vote for a bill “if they put reform back in the health reform bill,” but he said he’s been told items that he would like to see, like the public insurance option and an elimination of antitrust exemptions for the insurance industry, which were both stripped from the bill in the Senate, cannot be added with the reconciliation bill.

“You need to have competition, you need to have cost containment,” he said. “There is none of that here. … This is a great bill if you are an insurance company or a drug company.”

Lynch also said he doesn’t like the talk of using a self-executing rule to deem the Senate bill passed.

“You can only do one bill at a time,” he said, predicting that the deeming maneuver would not work and may be unconstitutional.

“I think we should try and maintain some level of credibility with the voters that we are going to vote with some transparency,” he said.

Asked about Lynch’s complaints that the bill wasn’t tough enough on insurance companies, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said: “They’re not going to have reform at all if this goes down. They are not going to get a better bill.”

Waxman also said Massachusetts would benefit financially from the millions of dollars that would flow through its health care system.

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