June 8th, 2009
04:22 PM ET
9 years ago

Blunt: Public health care option a non-starter

Missouri Republican Rep. Roy Blunt spoke out Monday against the public health insurance option that Democrats are advocating for as part of their health care reform proposal.

Missouri Republican Rep. Roy Blunt spoke out Monday against the public health insurance option that Democrats are advocating for as part of their health care reform proposal.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Missouri GOP Rep. Roy Blunt, who is heading up health care efforts in the House, said today he has made it clear to Democratic leaders that pushing for a public option in health care legislation is a non-starter for House Republicans. "That is a problem that is virtually insurmountable because we just don't think that it leads to real competition," Blunt said Monday.

President Obama sent a letter to Republican leaders last week responding to their plea that the GOP be included as a healthcare bill is developed. Blunt noted that the letter doesn't disclose any details, but makes it clear the president wants a bill passed by the House by August 1.

Blunt called that date an "artificial deadline" and said "we can't be part of the discussion if you won't let us in the room." House Republicans plan to unveil their own alternative healthcare legislation in the coming weeks and Blunt pledged that it will cost substantially less than the Democratic proposals.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. John in Ohio

    "interesting that the same people who went crazy over the abuses and poor management at Halibuton and the Pentagon……….and who perpetually condemned the in-efficiency of government…….are so eager to turn their health care over to the government……have you been to the Post Office or DMV lately…………………..right, I want those people planning my operation"

    Interesting that the same people who idolize and blindly trust the military to kill people don't trust the government to provide health care.

    June 8, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Republicans never had solutions for eight years!

    June 8, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Sniffit


    Sure, competition is a good thing when it's between businesses trying to provide the better mouse trap, but the health care industry is significantly different than regular commercial enterprises. When it's just the mouse traps, consumers don't end up dead or with cancer or birthing still born babies because the corporate side cut corners or invented something shoddy (then forced you to mortgage your home to pay for it). Name another industry in which selling crappy products and services generates even more need for people to buy more of your products and services or, worst case, removes you entirely from the pool of protesting consumers.

    June 8, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Dante in Madison, WI

    The G NO P would rather have "competition" to let the "free market" profit off of the people who need healthcare but don't get squat for health care coverage because of all of the administrative overhead that these so-called health care providers covet.

    They'd rather see corporations profit than the most valuable assets of this country–the People–get good health care coverage.

    It's time to vote these losers out of office one by one. Stand up for what you want. Vote them out next election.

    June 8, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Roger


    Healthcare in England is mainly provided by England's Public Health Service.

    June 8, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. I can see Canada from my house!

    The door has always been open, Blount, you just have to walk through it. If you have ideas, bring them with you, but don't lay conditions on an issue like this.

    @ phoenix88, I would rather have a single-payer system then the one that forced my wife and I to go through a bankruptcy. I was fortunate enough to find a job that pays well enough so I could emerge from the bankruptcy 2 years ahead of schedule, but I will never accept a market-based approach that forces families to be worked to death to pay for healthcare. As it stand now, private bureauocrats determine who gets covered and who does not, so your DMV analogy is amusing at best and worst, insulting.

    Its mind-boggling that you willingly accept private insurers deciding what you will get, yet the thought of having government coverage scares you? Private insurers are no more responsive than any government program, and in many cases, less so. Neither solution is perfect, but to dismiss one out of hand ignores the simple fact that we need viable alternatives, and the health insurers have more than enough money! They get their cut in my pay stub every week, and I never see my coverage improve, or my premiums go down.

    June 8, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Republicans never had solutions for eight years!

    Of all people claiming that they are there for the small businesses when we all know what hurts the businesses are the healthcare costs. The longer the delay the longer the recovery will take for small businesses to get back up again...but then again the republicans can claim that nothing is done for small businesses...pathetic political games!

    June 8, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Randolph Carter

    Actually, Obamavictim, last time I went to the DMV I had to change from an Illinois to a Georgia license. I was in and out in a half hour. The U.S. postal service has never let me down. Last year, I shipped a very large, fragile item USPS and it arrived in one piece in a timely manner. And it was cheaper than Fedex.

    So we should continue letting HMOs and insurance companies determine what treatment we get and when? Get a clue, these people do not have your best interest at heart. Have a nice day!

    June 8, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. changing my screen name to see if it help getting my comments posted

    First of all, the health care system is so messed up we are not getting competition even in the private markets. There are way too many market failure situations in health care for things to run efficiently through the free market on its own.

    Second, if Blunt thinks public options are a "non starter" then he should get rid of his government, PUBLIC, health insurance.

    Third, Phoenix86, a single payor system (if done correctly) is the best system for health insurance for consumers because there is only one buyer of health insurance. It is the opposite of a monopoly. A single seller can dictate prices, so can a single buyer. As far as your DMV comment, that is already being done by HMO's and PPO's. I gaurantee you that if you have a huge health bill your insurer will fight tooth and nail to find a loop-hole so they don't have to pay it.

    June 8, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. BigPoppi

    Republicans are bad... Republicans are evil... Wow time to sing a new tune. Instead of constantly bashing one party why not tell us why the push for a Nationalized Health Care system is needed. While most of you are quite good at name calling I get the feeling most of you have no idea what that means.

    June 8, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. Had It

    My aunt gets aricept in the US for $6.00 per pill

    She gets the generic Donepezil from Canada for 60 cents per pill.

    The US recognizes Donepezil, but won't allow it's sale here. Gee, wonder why. INSURANCE and PHARMACEUTICAL Companies are making a fortune from our hardship and sicknesses.

    June 8, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. Sue Dubya, MI

    Here's what Blunt and the rest of the Republicans, and those who believe them, refuse to acknowledge: WE'RE SPENDING MORE ON HEALTH CARE IN THE US AND GETTING WORSE QUALITY THAN THE REST OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD!! Just look at these 2007 World Health Organization data:

    Infant mortality:

    US: 6.4 deaths per 1000 live births
    UK: 5.7 deaths per 1000 live births
    Canada: 4.6 per 1000 live births

    Life expectancy (both genders):

    US: 76 years
    UK: 78.7 years
    Canada: 80.3 years

    So I don't know about you, but it looks to me like Canada and the UK with their single-payer systems are doing much BETTER than we are in health outcomes, not worse as the anti-health care crowd would have you believe. So wake up, America and don't let the conservatives once again lie you into working against your own self interest!

    June 8, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. Bill

    Mr. Blunt and his family, as well as all Congressmen and Senators, Democratic and Republican, benefit from public financed healthcare. Does Mr. Blunt have a problem with his healthcare options? Are he and all Republican House members willing to surrender their taxpayer financed healthcare?

    Maybe Congressional Republicans should join the great, private insurance bureaucracy they seem so enamored with. Fill out never ending forms, get denied, get rejected for coverage, etc., etc.,. It's great. Only someone who doesn't deal with private insurance directly can image it actually works well.

    June 8, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Dyan

    Why are Repbulican lawmakers against the average American having the same type of health care that they get? And make no mistake, the health care that our elected officals enjoy is "public" in every sense of the word.

    So why can't we have the same?

    June 8, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Emma

    Of course the Republicans are complaining loudly about the health plan proposal that President Obama wants Congress to pass. Tell all those Republicans in Congress that I want the same health care they receive.

    Let's have public care, the argument is that we will put private carriers out of business. SO LET IT BE! They have robbed the American people long enough and they have received profits off the backs of the poor and middle class everytime they reject a claim. I do not feel sorry for them, let them go bankrupct!

    You Republicans and some elitist Democrats are being served financially from the health industry and there is no incentive for you to look out for the common good of the American people.

    I repeat, LET THEM GO BANKRUPCT, they have stolen enough of my money.

    June 8, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Just Mark

    Republicans love to wail about the evils of government. But the VA Hospital in my area is dearly love by Veterans who come from a hundred miles away for health care that they do not pay for. The local VA center is a model of efficiency and customer satisfaction. Republicans simply don't care about the poor, the sick and the needy. They have emotiona blinders that tell them other people aren't real and don't matter.

    June 8, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Leah

    Every person on a health care plan is now paying just over $1 000 into paying for the uninsured. Where is the coverage on the socalled health care plan of the Republicans which would give an inadequate tax credit and then tax the rest of people's health care coverage??

    The Republicans are effecting throwing 45 million citizens under the bus.

    Phoenix86: America is presently ranked 34th in health care in the world with the greatest cost. I wouldn't exactly brag about that standing. You should read up on universal health care plans where the DOCTORS who decide on the treatment for patients; presently in America it is the bureaucrats of for profit health care comapnies who are rated/rewarded on a scale of keeping costs down who make the decisions.

    June 8, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Kate in SW Fla

    I still have no idea of the connection between insurance and health care. It is stupid. The drug companies make a profit – fine, they create a valuable product, and do a lot of research. The doctors, nurses, therapists, hospitals- fine, they actually provide valuable and necessary services. Not to mention the medical appliance companies, and people who sell everything from bandages to heart monitors – fine, fine, fine. But Insurance companies? What do they contribute? Nothing but obstacles. But they keep a huge part of health care dollars. For NOTHING!!!! There is absolutely no rationale for them being the "middle man," deciding who gets what and how much it should cost. It is absurd and we need to cut these moochers out!

    June 8, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. kevin

    34 out of the 35 developed nations in the world created a Government paid Healthcare plan.
    How many of those nations switched back to private only healthcare?

    But I guess the GOP are right, its not like the heathcare corporations would take financial advantage of poeple that are willing to PAY ANYTHING to save thier loved ones.
    American corporations are NEVER greedy.

    June 8, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. Kelby In Houston, TX

    You know what's gonna be a non starter for Republicans? The 2010 election cycle. If you thought you lost a lot in this last election cycle...
    We want universal health care. WE WANT IT NOW!
    We live in a country where if ya get sick, you can get bankrupt!
    EVERY OTHER ADVANCED NATION HAS UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE and we the leaders of the free world cannot overcome cooperate greed to provide for our citizens?!?
    Thank God the GOP can't stop us.

    June 8, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. The Unshrub


    You are an idiot. You don't have a clue about what the Democrats and Obama what to do. Instead of actually reading the facts you choise to mouth off without one bit of truth.

    June 8, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Bjoerlingfan

    And the GOP plan will come in the form of tax credits, requiring very little actual restructuring of our broken health care system. Can't wait for this one!

    June 8, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. a little sad

    "That is a problem that is virtually insurmountable because we just don't think that it leads to real competition," Blunt said Monday.


    If this is all about competition, why is the health insurance industry so frightened of competition from a government run payor system?

    Unless they realize that they cannot compete, because of their bloated administrative costs and their failure to add any value to the entire process.

    Let an insurance company process claims as a third party administrator, but don't continue the industry oligolpoly which has an inherent conflict of interest since serving the policyholder means decreasing shareholder's profits.

    What is needed is good affordable healthCARE, not good affordable health INSURANCE.

    June 8, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. Suzzie

    What has competition in health care gotten us? Higher costs, more personal bankruptcies due to health care costs, and 45 some million uninsured? It only makes the rich richer, and the poor and middle class poorer and sicker. Time to reject once and for all this Republican scare tactic. Get into the real world where every major country and many minor ones provide health care as a right–not as a privilege.

    June 8, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. judesuper

    Who cares that the repubs don't want a public health care option? We do. Come on dems, don't let these guys get their way, again. Or all of you will be out a your jobs come 2010 elections, not just the repubs.

    June 8, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
1 2 3 4 5