Your morning jolt: If no public option, count Johnson out of health care reform

Count U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Decatur) among those who think President Barack Obama would be making a mistake if he dropped a public option insurance program as part of a health care reform package.

Johnson, in fact, says he’ll vote against any measure that doesn’t include government-based competition for health insurance companies.

In an interview with Denis O’Hayer and WABE (90.1 FM), Johnson said:

”I don’t think it would create the same level of competition for the insurance companies as would a public option. The co-op idea certainly would allow groups to negotiate with insurance companies for health care for their members.

“But if you don’t have insurance because you can’t afford it, that concept does nothing for those people.”

O’Hayer asked Johnson if he would oppose a measure that included only non-profit insurance co-ops:

”My position is hardening as we speak. There’s got to be a different way other than to appease the millionaires and the insurance companies. We are at an [impasse]. Anything we do is going to cost money, so why should we take half-measures….”

Johnson conceded that the issue could very well be put off until next year.

The boys and girls at PeachPundit have come across an effort to draft state Democratic party chairman Jane Kidd into the U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson.

See the petition Web site here.

Take this seriously. As was the case in 2006, Democrats are extremely worried that a less-than-stellar candidate will jump in and win the top spot on the party’s ticket. Two years ago, party activists virtually pushed Atlanta attorney Jim Martin into the contest against Saxby Chambliss in order to deny then-DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones the spot.

As a candidate, Isakson — because appeals to many Democrats — would be harder to knock off than Chambliss. And Kidd has never run a statewide race.

But this time, the ballot situation is even more sensitive. A governor’s contest is at least within reach.

In the Democratic race for attorney general, former Dougherty County prosecutor Ken Hodges has scored a coup with an endorsement by former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador Andrew Young.

Writes my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

In a statement, Young praised Hodges for “his commitment to equal rights and the fair application of justice during his years of service
in Albany.”

Hodges, Young said, “developed successful diversionary programs that still today keep our at-risk young people in school and out of prison.”

Young’s endorsement is particularly key for Hodges as some still blame him for the failure to prosecute a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black motorist in Columbus. Hodges was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case of Kenneth Walker’s 2003 death. Walker, 39, was killed after the SUV he was riding in was pulled over. Walker was pulled out of the car and was shot.

The officer in the shooting, Deputy David Glisson, never faced trial after a grand jury refused to indict him.

While you ponder the above, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:

  • Man carrying assault weapon attends Obama protest.
  • Ex-DeKalb County police chief Bolton’s termination upheld.
  • DeKalb County educator faces firing over cheating scandal.
  • U.S. Supreme Court orders new hearing for Troy Davis.
  • Alabama governor agrees to water talks.
  • Metro Atlanta growing, but slower than in the past.
  • AJC moving from downtown to Perimeter Mall area.
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • Pro and con: Will health care reform hurt American senior citizens?
  • Ex-cons seldom as lucky as Vick.
  • U.S. aid must be transparent, accountable and show results.
  • Elsewhere in Georgia:

  • ABC: Atlanta ranks 11th for income level.
  • And beyond:

  • WP: Some Democratic lawmakers call public option, express concern over future of health care reform.
  • NYT: Mental stress training is planned for U.S. soldiers.
  • WSJ: Cops use an old Brink’s truck called the “Armadillo” to shame suspects.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    4 comments Add your comment

    Ga Values

    August 18th, 2009
    1:04 pm

    What has Johnny done for Georgia in the last 5 years? He is just not covered with slime like Saxby.

    Tom Ga Values hunter

    August 19th, 2009
    2:03 am

    Ga Values was the Saxby hater of the last election cycle. Since Johnny is up next…. I guess he is his new target. He may also post under the name flip wilson and others. He claims to be a conservative, but he is a paid democrat operative. He is to be ignored like we ignore Will Jones. They have the same mental disorder.

    As far as Johnson, he will vote on the health care bill as directed by Obama and the Speakerette Period. He is a fraud hack lib, but not as bad as the liberal hack, anti-jew racist he replaced.

    CONFEDERATED SOUTHERN GOP LOST IN SPACE

    August 19th, 2009
    9:16 am

    Time to draw the line 51 in senate 218 in the house and pass it . Next up!! we won period. they will get over it!

    Kenny Ramsbottom

    August 28th, 2009
    10:12 pm

    Ken Hodges is now an Obama loving liberal, certified by Andrew Young.