Republican Sen. Charles Grassley may be negotiating health care reform as a member of the "Gang of Six" group of senators looking for bipartisan compromise, but back in Iowa he is soliciting political donations based on his opposition to what many say is a Democrat must-have: a government option.
In a fundraising letter written early last month, Grassley, the ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee, wrote, "I had to rush you this Air-Gram today to set the record straight on my firm and unwavering opposition to government-run health care. And ask your immediate support in helping me defeat 'Obama-care.' ...
"The simple truth is that I am and always have been opposed to the Obama administration's plan to nationalize health care. Period," he wrote.
In the letter dated before Sen. Ted Kennedy's death, Grassley invoked the late champion of nationalized health care.
"I'm sure you've been following this issue closely. If the legislation sponsored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the House of Representatives and Chairman Ted Kennedy in the Senate is passed it would be a pathway to a government takeover of the health care system," he wrote
Adding underlining and emphasis in the letter, Grassley said the plan supported by President Obama "would turn over control of your health care decisions to a federal bureaucrat ... and take it away from you and your personal physician. It would mean government rationing in the name of cost controls."
Grassley has never been in favor of anything but a non-government option. He has been a staunch supporter of market-based reforms, including co-ops, which are private, non-profit groups of shareholders who hire doctors and split costs.
Grassley had downplayed his opposition to the president's preference prior to the August recess, but his work in the Finance Committee continues toward a non-government option.