July 26th, 2009
11:41 AM ET
5 years ago

McConnell: Public option a nonstarter for Senate Republicans


WASHINGTON (CNN) – The views of the top House Democrat and the top Senate Republican suggest that the Obama administration has a long way to go in achieving its goal of health care reform legislation by the end of 2009.

“I think I can pretty safely say there aren’t any Senate Republicans who think a government plan is a good idea,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

McConnell also suggested that the creation of a public option would destroy private health insurance companies and the competition that currently exists between them.

McConnell’s comments followed an interview by House Speaker by Nancy Pelosi that also aired on State of the Union where the California Democrat said the public option was “an alternative to give much more leverage to the individual.”

McConnell also chided congressional Democrats over their various proposals for financing health care reform.

“They’re having a hard time selling it to their own members,” McConnell told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “The only thing bipartisan about the measures so far is the opposition to them,” the Kentucky Republican added.

But McConnell suggested that the two parties will eventually work together to achieve some sort of consensus on health care reform.

“At some point, they understand that in order to comfort their own members and to have broad support among the American people, it will need to be bipartisan,” said McConnell.

“We’d like to start over with a genuine bipartisan approach,” he added.

On the day that she is set to transfer power, McConnell also weighed in on the future of Alaska’s Republican Gov. Sarah Palin.

“Boy, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Sarah Palin. She excites an awful lot of members of my party. They’re anxious to see what she’s going to do next and so am I.”


Filed under: GOP • Health care • Mitch McConnell • Sarah Palin • State of the Union
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Lee

    No American should accept any health care that is anything less than what the Senators and Congressmen get. Why should we be paying for them as they decline to give us what they have? The "party of NO" says it's too expensive to give everyone health insurance. Then how com most of the rest of the world can do it?

    July 26, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. wmcauth07

    McConnell is just another of the "say no, GOPers who care as much about a public option as they do public opinion.

    July 26, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Jeremy from Victorville, CA

    I think it goes to show just how far the private health care lobby is into the pockets of our elected representatives that we can't even consider a health care provider "alternative" from the public sector... not a replacement mind you, just a competitor that would compete to lower prices in a real market environment.

    I'd like to see CNN put up statistics of how many of those elected congressman and senators are supporting, on-the-fence, and opposing this legislation and how much of their campaign contributions come from the health care lobby directly or indirectly. I bet you'd see a real shift in the debate then.

    July 26, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Pam

    The republicans are running around whining about Obama's healthcare reform whlie coming up short with a plan of their own. WAKE UP FOLKS....these clowns want the status quo...NO CHANGE in the health care system///republicans are so far up the rears of lobbiests they don't know daylight when they see it. FEAR FEAR FEAR and more FEAR plus DOUBT is all they are accustomed to selling the American people. SOS. They want this President to fail at the expense of people in need of healthcare coverage. WAKE UP FOLKS. Last time we snored Bush and CHeney caused the biggest mess this nation ever seen while the republicans watched quietly.

    July 26, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. Doc

    No to Social security.

    No to Medicare.

    No to Affordable Health Care for All.

    Republicans have been consistent through a few generations, and now they are more radical than ever. No to ANY republican, even if it's for local dogcatcher!

    July 26, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. Brian Rich

    Private insurance is completely unaffordable for regular people. Why are we struggling so hard to protect it? People who get their insurance from their employer don't need to worry about a public option because their health care won't change. It's only going to help the uninsured and those paying for private insurance, which is insanely expensive.

    July 26, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Darlene S.

    If the public option is so repugnant, then it should be mandatory for all Representatives and Senators to purchase their own health insurance - just like the rest of us. How long are we going to continue to allow the idiots we've elected to do whatever they please - or better yet, what the fat-cat lobbyists and big-business tell them to do? It's time to take back our government!! And, for all of you who are so eager to libel Pres. Obama - he has only been in office for six months. Where were all of you for the past eight years?

    July 26, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Unworthy News

    Fareed Zakaria asked the question that John King doesn't have the guts to ask......................I wish McConnell appeared on his show to be properly challenged. 1) The statistics McConnell exspoused is questionable 2) how can you use an argument using a friend of a friend told me of his experience. This is the republican leadership. you would think with all the money they pay their aides that he could get them to come up with better arguments then this schoolyard garbage on national tv. But that is the fault of the media who would rather talk about Palin, Obama and Gates/Crowley conflict then be investigators/reporters like Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.

    July 26, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. Post always rejected by CNN

    Of course the republicans don't think it is a good idea. I mean after all half their money comes from health care and drug lobbyists. If they help get the general public health care, the big companies would go broke and you know what that means for republicans.

    And by the way, why don't we all vote to stop giving republicans and the blue dog democrats (democrats??? republicans are more like it) their own health care paid for by the public taxpayer money. If they had to go and fend for themselves, find affordable health care that would accept them, they wouldn't be so quick to deny it to the rest of America that's not covered. I say kick the republicans out for good in the next election. Start over with members of congress that really work for the people and not big business.

    July 26, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. tisgoogle

    Just another wingnut gop! Its all about politics for these people! Boost them out of office!

    July 26, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. JDB

    Just another glowing example of how out of touch the republican party truly is.

    They're covering their contributors – the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. They have obviously forgotten who they were elected to represent.

    The republicans primary interests aren't those of the American people. For the republicans, it's party first, self second, country third. Actions speak louder than words mr. mcconnell.

    July 26, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. niyi

    What competition?, did he mean the competition to see who can screw the American public faster. You republicans are a joke, so once again, tell us how you are the party of the people. GOP is simply the party of NO.

    July 26, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. Steve, Columbia SC

    I am disgusted at the government trough mentality some many are wanting. If you think this "public option" will be better than what you have, or what our congressional representatives have, or what you don't have, you're sadly mistaken.

    Thank you Senator McConnel and others for taking a firm stand for sanity and fiscal responsibility.

    The demoncrat "reform" for the sake of reform makes me ill.

    July 26, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. Tom

    Well the republicans had at least 4 years to do something about it. Now that they want to stop the dems from moving forward on it. WHAT DO THE REPUBLICANS WANT? Nothing it appears! Just let things go out of control!

    July 26, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. KO

    So what wrong with eliminating foreign investor profiteering off our illness, suffering, medical needs and health care. Why should our health care be compromised so someone can take all our money in advance and then not pay someone else's health care needs if it cuts into their profit margin.

    Controlling costs includes not be exploited by for profit insurance companies that pay investors not doctors, hospitals, nurses.

    July 26, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Bob of Lompoc

    He has nice Federal Health Insurance, as did hius wife when Sect. Labor, and they don't want to share. Typical wealthy Republicans. Print some news, please.

    July 26, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Nevada Joe

    McConnell-Bush-Cheney ...The all have one thing in common. They are LIARS...This is the rule for the Republican Party...LIE-LIE and LIE SOME MORE..

    Lets see if CNN will post this...

    July 26, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. Limbaugh is a liberal

    First they say a government plan would be too expensive and inefficient. Then they say it would be cheaper than private companies and therefore destroy competition. Make up your mind! You can't have it both ways! If the government plan is so inefficient and expensive then it should present zero threat to the corporations! But it's a threat because the corporations, and their paid off politician lackeys are lying! Private health insurance is bureaucratic, it's overpriced, and it's built on DENYING you needed services. It has failed us. It has robbed us. It has destroyed thousands of businesses and millions of families already. And now they want to keep doing what they've been doing? Hypocrites!

    July 26, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Peter E

    Millions of governement workers are already on the government's own health care. And that includes heavy subsidies for these politicians and their families as well! Our military has the best health care in the world and say what? It's GOVERNMENT run! It has no more abuses or malpractice than the privatized health care industry. AND they don't deny services based on 'pre-existing conditions.' Try to be a soldier with shrapnel in your leg or traumatic disorders and then try to get ANY private health insurance company to cover you! It won't happen! People who criticize the government plan refuse to apply the same standards to private industry. That's hypocrisy and double-standards!

    July 26, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Republicans are whiners who have no ideas. Their 'alternate' health care plan is a 3-page outline with NO cost estimates and 80% of its points are stolen verbatim from the Obama plan. Perhaps when republicans start THINKING and doing the job our tax dollars are paying them for then we'll listen to them. Until then they deserve to be ignored.

    July 26, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Peter E

    It's not as if any of these comments are going to make a difference. The $3 trillion health industry pays millions of dollars in lobbying to politicians AND in advertisements to main stream media to make sure things stay the same. They rake in the profits, and they deny you services. While 1 in 6 Americans doesn't have health coverage, about a third of the rest practically doesn't have it either thanks to the abuse and misleading by private health insurance corporations. But who am I to argue with their multi-million dollar lobbying and advertisement pay-offs?

    July 26, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. nick

    Oncemorethe GOPshowsthat money is more important to themthen the sufferings of their fellow humans. I am certainthe only reason they oppose health care reform is because the CARD CARRYING REBUBLICAN DOCTORS AND INSURANCE PEOPLE WOULD LOOSE MONEY AND, AS A RESULT, FEWER GIFTS WOULD FIND THEIR WAYONTO THE BACK PORCH OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS and REPRESENTATIVES!

    July 26, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. nea-nea

    I just dont get it can someone please tell me why,why do these same republicans and Democrats already have government health insurance that we as taxpayers are paying for but when it comes to the public OH! We cant afford it, its too exspensive it will run the insurance companies out of business and so on and so forth. EXCUSE,EXCUSES,EXCUSES.JUST SAY THAT WE WANT TO SUPPORT THE INSURANCE COMPANIES [REPUBLICANS.]

    July 26, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. hunt helm

    please post fareed zakaria taking mconnell apart on this today on GPS. please reply with link if i have missed it. thanks.

    July 26, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Jose

    And if we followed the Republicans blindly, we'd be right back where we were for the past 8 years – doing nothing and idly sitting by watching do nothing take place. I'm a life long republican that doesn't feel the party I belong to represents who I am.

    July 26, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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