EXCLUSIVE: Rangel: Robust Public Option Will Survive, Despite Waxman Deal

Personal Health

When Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., the powerful chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, stepped into the session of another powerful committee chairman, Henry Waxman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the photographers went wild. The occasion of Rangel's visit was the ongoing mark-up of health care reform legislation.

Rangel's visit was no mere courtesy call; it was a signal to committee members that Rangel intends to make his mark on the final result of House deliberations, regardless of any deal that Waxman may have struck with conservative Blue Dog Democrats.

As I reported earlier today, Waxman made an accommodation with four of  the seven obstructionist Blue Dogs on his committee that analysts say will weaken the public insurance plan in the tri-committee bill that was passed by Rangel's committee, as well as the Education and Labor Committee led by George Miller, D-Calif.

When the session recessed for lunch, I caught Rangel in the hallway, asking him if he could assure AlterNet readers that a meaningful public insurance plan would be part of any final legislation that makes it to the House floor.

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