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Franken tells Axelrod that Obama needs to do more on health care

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Al Franken pointedly told senior White House adviser David Axelrod Wednesday that the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to advance health care reform.

The exchange, first reported by the Huffington Post, occurred at the end of a closed-door question-and-answer session between Senate Democrats and White House officials Wednesday. Sources familiar with the meeting confirmed the exchange.

Franken asked Axelrod what the plan was going to be going forward, and was there going to be more coming out message-wise. Axelrod’s response talked about the importance of health care reform, an answer Franken reportedly didn’t find satisfactory. At that point a group of three to five senators jumped in to agree with Franken, the source said.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders confirmed his involvement to the Huffington Post. A White House spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Franken has advocated for the House passing the Senate’s health care bill if senators agree to fix the bill using the reconciliation process, which would require just 51 votes, telling a group of health care activists that he fears it’s “now versus never” for health care reform.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Ed Miller on 02/05/2010 - 09:35 am.

    It is a pity. I don’t think you can blame Obama though. You’d think a few of the Republicans could have thought with independently with their minds instead of just as clones and voted for it. My only gripe with it was that it was a bit too heavy in helping the poor who already have several entitlement programs. It needed to target the middle class a bit more. And until the public accepts that some of the more pricier items available nowadays in healthcare, like transplantation, open heart surgery, etc. may have to be rationed it will continue to be hard to get passage. On the other hand, as the burden of support coninues to grow on the middle class, and/or the quality of the system starts to deteriorate, there may yet become a time when passage of a one-payer system comes into being.

  2. Submitted by dan buechler on 02/05/2010 - 10:25 am.

    I am actually quite impressed with Al Franken. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up some of the energy of the late Paul Wellstone.. We will see in 4 years if he is still as energetic it will be hard to keep it up but I wish him well (even though I thought erroneously Ciresi would have been the better candidate).

  3. Submitted by pati connaughton on 02/05/2010 - 02:56 pm.

    What Franken needs to understand is that the rest of the country did not vote him into office. Also, to use the reconciliation process for this illegal. It is intended for budget resolution. Study the constitution Franken.

  4. Submitted by Angelique Golden on 02/05/2010 - 08:00 pm.

    Ms Connaughton, where in the Constitution does it mention Senate rules, particularly the reconciliation process?

    Congratulations, Minnesota, on having a Democratic senator who isn’t suffering from terminal Nice Guy Syndrome.

    As for Tennessee, well, I can’t speak for the whole state, but on my own behalf, I apologize for Messrs. Alexander and Corker. Not to mention our past sin of Dr. Frist.

  5. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 02/06/2010 - 09:21 am.

    Ed Miller (#1). It’s not that the middle class gets less than the poor. It’s that the poor have much greater needs and, even with increased help to pay for premiums, will still have co-pays and deductibles they are unable to pay.

    If we had single payer health care everyone, rich and poor, employed or not, in kindergarten or on Social Security, would share a common benefit set. No one would be left out or asked to give more than others; there would be no co-pays or deductibles or restrictions to “in network” providers for anyone, and we would save $400 billion per year besides.

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