Democrat Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Melancon, roaming the state in a “listening tour” as he attempts to overcome a 24-point deficit to Republican incumbent David Vitter, told the Baton Rouge Advocate yesterday that the president and his party’s leadership has things all wrong on health care.
Melancon, who voted against the first version of the president’s “reform” scheme when it passed the House last year, says Obama should start over with a smaller bill which includes only the items on which a consenus can be found.
“They need to look at cost-savings and those things that generally Republicans and Democrats agree on,” he said while being interviewed at an event at the Pastime Restaurant in downtown Baton Rouge.
Those items of potential bipartisan agreement include portability – the ability to keep one’s insurance policy after losing or changing jobs – and coverage for pre-existing conditions.
He also said he and the other “Blue Dog” Democrats could have written a healthcare bill which would have passed.
“If you listened to us from the beginning, you might have a health-care bill that’s more palatable and acceptable,” Melancon said. “I’m not much of one who says, ‘I told you so,’ but I think ‘I told you so’ fits here.”
The congressman maintained a “moderate” and nice-guy persona even while attacking Vitter.
As he talked to a TV reporter, Melancon said Louisiana needs a U.S. senator who is “less partisan and will work with people.”
“People can help you get things done for the state of Louisiana,” Melancon said. “He (Vitter) does harm when he attacks people personally.”