By Kevin Diaz
Apparently Sen. Al Franken has been saving it up on health care. Arriving in the Senate too late to take part in the Health Committee’s deliberations on health reform, the freshman Minnesota Democrat has been denied much of a direct role in the plan coming together in the past few weeks.
So Tuesday was his chance to uncork his first lengthy speech on the Senate floor, a sweeping indictment of the current “irrational” health care system, with anecdotes, and a call to arms for comprehensive health care reform – including a public option.
“Even if you have coverage, you could still be only a diagnosis or an accident away from bankruptcy,” he said.
Franken also likened the proposed health insurance exchange, the centerpiece of the Democrats’ reform plan, to “a Travelocity for health insurance.”
It was not Franken’s first floor speech (actually, it was his second). But at some 4,660 words – about the length of a longish magazine piece – it was certainly the biggest statement of his Senate career so far. And the most passionate.
This is the sort of grand pronoucement his liberal base has been waiting for. Noting that it was his first floor speech on health care, Franken warned his colleagues: "I have a lot to say."
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