Conyers: Obama Suffers from ‘Rahm Emanuel Factor’--On Health Care, White House is Willing to ‘Make a Deal About Anything'

By Nicholas Ballasy | July 27, 2009 | 3:15 PM EDT

( – When it comes to health care reform, President Barack Obama has succumbed to the “Rahm Emanuel factor," meaning he will make a deal about anything, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) told reporters at the National Press Club on Friday.

Rahm Emanuel is the White House chief of staff and a top political adviser to the president.

Conyers was complaining about President Obama not pursuing a "single-payer" health care system as the goal of his health-care reform efforts.  This is a system that Conyers supports and that he says Obama also used to support.

“I can remember when Obama agreed with me,” said Conyers.
As for why Obama changed his mind and now supports the health-care reform proposal under consideration in the House (which would create a "public option" government-run insurance provider to compete with private insurance companies), Conyers told the reporters:

"I'm just guessing now, because we haven't talked about it, but he wants it because of the Rahm Emanuel factor. Okay. I'm glad you asked me. The Rahm Emanuel factor, to quote him, is that, look, we want success, and we're willing to make a deal about anything. Does that make you feel pretty comfortable about health care?"


“And that’s the whole idea, is that he wants a bill," said Conyers. "He wants to win in the off-year elections. He [Emanuel] wants our president reelected the next time he comes up, and so do I. But I don't want anything that's stamped ‘reform’ and let it go at that.”
Conyers then said that the approach President Obama is taking now will not achieve its objective of holding down health-care costs.

“This will not hold down costs. It will not cover everybody,” Conyers said in reference to the current health care legislation on Capitol Hill.  
“It will not take away the misery of hundreds of thousands of people who have been caught--we have so many horror stories about people having to go in bankruptcy,” said Conyers. “Well, we're having a hearing on it next week in Judiciary--about the major cause of personal bankruptcies is health care bills, hospital bills, doctor bills--and the tragedy of people not being able to eat or pay rent, or even get their pharmaceutical prescriptions.”