From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Rep. Jim Cooper, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and someone who also taught health-care policy at Vanderbilt, laid out his arguments for the revisions needed to current health-care reform legislation making its way through Congress.
Cooper told Dr. Nancy Snyderman on MSNBC's "Dr. Nancy," the bill has to be "deficit neutral" in less than 10 years and "bend the cost curve in the right direction."
Video: Details of the congressional health care overhaul are filtering out. What is President Obama doing to push through his plan? NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman talks with Reps. Peter Welch and Jim Cooper.
At issue is the House bill making its way through the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Democrats have argued that the bill, over time, would reduce costs. But the head of the Congressional Budget Office testified that's not so -- that, in fact, costs would go up as a result. As a result, in part, markups on the bill have been delayed twice now -- yesterday and today -- to accomodate negotiations with the Blue Dogs.
Cooper, who is not a member of the committee, said the Blue Dogs want "real, scorable savings," an indication that the moderate group will give weight to the CBO.
Cooper added that getting health reform passed is important and disagreed that there had to be some form of "rationing" if reform is passed. He said there is enough excessive waste that, if cut, would lead to affordable and quality care.
He added that the Blue Dogs' meeting with President Obama yesterday was a "very productive session."
Cooper said he is personally in favor of a public plan, though Blue Dogs are not. He is also in favor of taxing health benefits, though the president is not. He is also in favor of mandates. And said Medicaid can't be completely free forever to the states.