Obama calls on unions to support health care


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Chicken and tri-tip were on the coals and the Teamsters were in a bit of a hot spot over statements from their president this week that a public option is not vital to health care insurance reform.

"My opinion is that he's trying to get something done, some reform put through, and there's compromises involved and that's a piece of it," Lou Marchetti of the Teamsters Local 70 said. Marchetti is the political coordinator for Teamsters local 70.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D) came to the picnic to tout the importance of keeping the public option.

"We're talking about bringing the cost down of health insurance, the cost of premiums down for the 85 percent of Americans who already have insurance, we're talking about eliminating the pre-existing condition requirements," Lee said.

Lee and 60 other House Democrats have been urging the president not to back away from a government-backed insurance plan.

"I talked to him twice in the last couple of weeks, several members have, and of course the speaker has indicated that she doubts that a bill could pass if we did not have a strong, robust public option in the House bill," Lee said.

The mayor of San Leandro says the president ought to tell opponents to "stuff it."

"There is no bipartisanship so take the bull by the horn and go ahead and pass it with Democratic votes and move forward," Tony Santos said.

The vice chair of the California Republican Party says go ahead and try.

"The numbers don't add up, the American people recognize it doesn't add up and the Democrats keep pushing forward, and again at their own peril; they will lose the Congress next year if they jam this down the throats of the American voter," Tom Del Beccaro said.

Del Becarro says with the Teamsters ready to pull the plug on a public option, the president should get the message.

"Socialized healthcare doesn't work; even in Canada they're talking about privatizing a portion of it because it's not working even in a small country like Canada," he said.

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