Extra Fizz: "Dirty Looks from Darcy Burner"

By Josh Feit June 15, 2009

In her new job as Executive Director of the American Progressive Caucus Foundation, former Democratic House candidate Darcy Burner is reportedly frustrating activists for progressive health care reform. 

Single Payer Action—a non-profit, grass roots group pushing for a Single Payer health care system—posted a story in their newsletter yesterday reporting that Burner tried to intimidate Nick Skala, formerly of Physicians for a National Health Care Program, out of criticizing (from the Left) President Obama's plan in a June 4 speech to the Caucus.  

From yesterday's report in the Single Payer Action newsletter:
He sent his presentation ahead of time to Bill Goold, the executive director of the Progressive Caucus, and Darcy Burner, executive director of the American Progressive Caucus Foundation.

Both were not pleased with Skala.

“Bill Goold emailed me after reading my testimony and materials I was going to present to tell me that they were not acceptable and that there could be no comparison between single payer and the public option with side by side comparison,” Skala told Single Payer Action. “Darcy Burner told me that they would construe talking about the public option  — even comparing it to single payer — as an attack on the members of the Progressive Caucus.”

“Now, I can’t see how honest discourse about whether or not a public option will work — especially when it comes from 16,000 doctors and the majority of nurses — as an attack on anybody who supports it. We see it as telling the truth.”

Despite Goold’s and Burner’s objections, on June 4, Skala went ahead and made his presentation to the caucus.

“During the presentation it was very nasty,” Skala said. “I got some very dirty looks from Darcy Burner. During the question period and once during the testimony, I was interrupted, told that the Progressive Caucus had taken a position on this issue and unless I had something positive to contribute, then there wasn’t really much point to answering my questions. At least one of my questions to the staff of the Chairman of the caucus was interrupted by the staff of the Congressional Progressive Caucus unfortunately.”

And what exactly was Skala’s crime?

He believes the public option being pushed by Obama and the Democrats will fail.

“The public option preserves all the systemic deficiencies that we see in the current system,” Skala said. “It maintains a finance system that is based on private insurance and private insurers and their drive to fight claims, issue denials, screen out the sick and make a big profit generate tremendous administrative waste — 400 billion dollars a year.”

I've got an email out to Burner for her comment.
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