July 2nd, 2009 5:33 pm | by HANK STERN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

What Ron Wyden Thinks About What President Obama Thinks About Wyden's Health Care Proposal


There were a couple of "money quotes" in today's story in The Oregonian about President Obama's response to the Healthy Americans Act proposed by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Obama was quoted in the roundtable with The O's Charles Pope and other reporters as saying he agreed with "90 percent" of Wyden's thinking on the topic but that parts of the plan were too "radical" for the country.

Guess which part Wyden focused on when WW reached him this afternoon for his comment on the A-1 piece in The O.

"Whenever the president of the United States says he agrees with 90 percent of what you're doing, I say with a smile, 'Mr. President, that sounds pretty good. Let's go get the other 10 percent,"' said Wyden, a former colleague in the Senate with Obama.

As for the president's comment that the plan is too "radical," Wyden pushed back by questioning how that could be when the Congressional Budget Office has concluded the bill — unlike other proposals floating around the Capitol — would be budget-neutral and has support from 14 Republicans and Democrats.

Obama is not alone among Democrats or their union allies in shooting down Wyden's proposal, which would de-couple health insurance from employment by giving workers their health benefits in the form of a pay raise (along with tax deductions for that pay increase) — making them responsible for going out and buying their insurance.

When asked how his bill could survive given that the president wouldn't support it, Wyden responded, "I've never said the legislative process is my way or the highway ... The president says he's for 90 percent of what we're thinking and we've got 14 senators, I say we've got a lot to work with."
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