August 18th, 2009
12:14 PM ET
5 years ago

House Democrat: Health care bill in doubt without public plan

 Rep. Anthony Weiner said Monday that President Obama will have a 'very difficult' time getting a health care bill passed without a public option.
Rep. Anthony Weiner said Monday that President Obama will have a 'very difficult' time getting a health care bill passed without a public option.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A liberal Democrat in Congress told CNN Monday that President Obama will have a difficult time pushing his health care plan through the House if a government-run insurance program isn't included in the legislation.

Asked if he would vote against a final House bill that doesn't include a so-called public option, Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that House Democrats "wouldn't even bring it to the floor."

"In the House of Representatives, without a strong public plan, even stronger than the one we reported out of committee, I think it would have a very difficult time getting 218 votes," Weiner said.

"Look, the president has to lead on this, and he has to say very clearly a public option is important," Weiner said. "That we hold these insurance companies accountable and provide some competition. I would love to be the one carrying the ball for him, but unless he says a public option is the way to go, I'm going to be a No [vote], and so are a lot of people."

Weiner maintained that the "best" health care option would be "a single-payer plan, like Medicare for all Americans."


Filed under: Anthony Weiner • Health care • President Obama
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. GOPer

    OK, let's not do what is in the interest of Americans and continue to let Insurance Companies and Big Pharma run all over us. I am 44 with high blood pressure and cannot get health insurance! I am spending my life fortune on simple health care. Why are we the only industrialized country not taking care of its people!?!

    These wealthy bearcats are selling us out!

    I am a life long GOPer and am standing behind Obama on this one.

    We must do the right thing!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 18, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. pat c

    the dems better get their act together and get this bill passed. they should not care if it is by-partisan, the rethugs have no intention of agreeing on anything from this president. democrats need to get tuff, pull together on this one an just move the hell on!

    August 18, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Doug, New Jersey

    It was great watching the bus loads of people rounded up, paid, programmed, and transported to town hall meetings by ACORN, as a conservative I respect their right of free speech. However, when average Americans who actually work have to take off of work and drive themselves to town hall meetings to voice their own true concerns while not receiving a dime for it, the Democrats call them angry, hateful, racist, Nazis and part of the right wing conspiracy.

    Apparently your average Democrat believes that hard working, honest Americans, who have never committed a crime, follow the laws, pay their taxes, and take care of themselves and their families who have real honest questions about what anyone with even the slightest historical and political knowledge can see as a socialist government take over are part of the right wing conspiracy. Be proud to be part of the right wing conspiracy, for if you are not a part of it, then you are a hateful, entitlement class lib/academia elitist who champions lies, hate, distortion, division, race baiting and taking away American's rights, freedoms, and money. Don't blame the messenger, the Democrats have defined it this way.

    August 18, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. Miguel

    I absolutely agree that at minimum a public option plan must be passed. Otherwise no meaningful change is going to occur. We voted for a majority of Democrats in Congress and a Democrat for President, we didn't vote for stagnation and the status quo.

    August 18, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Diane

    Rep. Anthony Weiner states that the "best" health care option would be a "single-payer" plan, like Medicare, for all Americans. I assume he means this would include the President and members of congress as well. If, in fact, it doesn't, then the public better wisen up fast and start demanding answers.

    August 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. Sylvia

    The President has never said that there would not be a Public Option in the health care bill. MSM, you keep trying to divide the Democrats and unfortunately, some of them are taking your misinformation as fact.

    August 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Chris

    Finally. A Democrat with gumption and a spine!

    August 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. ronbw

    Finally!! It's about time someone reminded the president that he was elected with a mandate for universal healthcare. And the president had promised a strong public option during his campaign.

    August 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. Bob in Pa

    Hmm, and would Mr. Weiner be willing too force himself and all the other house dems onto a Medicare style plan ?

    August 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  10. John W. Racine, WI

    That is what I WANT!

    That is the ONLY WAY Oblama is going to get my vote for a SECOND TERM!

    August 18, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. Freedom

    I think we can have a health care bill without the public option. Goverment controling the health care will be terrible. We will be like the VA grandfathers waiting 2 months to see a doctor. Or soldiers from IRAQ waiting for MRI their some change for you. Goverment will not run this system well. And I can you add 45 million people to the system and no have shortage in health care workers? NOW THAT IS SOME FUZZ MATH.

    August 18, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. Franco

    Please pass the public option...use the power of the last election! You have a majority. Empower We the People with choice in our health care. Without the public option, there is no competition with insurance companies. The market showed health insurance companies glee at the possibility of no option. It's wrong for them to decide what we deserve as appropriate to our lives. The insurance companies already serve as "death panels".

    August 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. George in Pa.

    Why would you use Public Option instead of Goverment run 0ption unless you were try to confuse the people.Theres a big difference between Reforming Health care and a Goverment run Program

    August 18, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. Shannon,Dallas,Texas

    YES!!!

    If the Republicans think that there's no support for a government run health plan, let them propose that Medicare be dismantled.

    PS - If Arlen Specter has the courage to vote for a bill with a public option, God help any other Democrat who chooses not to support the party platform they touted when they were on the campaign trail, Senator Bayh.

    August 18, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    and now we see who our representatives will back
    not the american people .they back big insurances
    they don't want anyone to have a choice .just keep making the
    insurance companies large profit and that is the way it goes
    and for the american people ..you allowed this to happen by believeing in the leis threats and fear .

    YOU CANT LEAD A HORSE TO WATER

    BUT YOU CAN SHOW HIM THE WAY

    AND CONGRESS HAS LIED AND POINTED
    US AWAY FROM THE TRUTH
    GOOD JOB CONGRESS AND BIG INSURANCE
    YOU WIN AGAIN AND AMERICA LOOSES
    bunch of bottom feeding selfish ass's

    August 18, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. gtekam

    We voted in 2008 for Public option single payer healthcare reform. Yes we will.!!!!

    August 18, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  17. Ren from Baltimore

    I too agree that the insurance companies need competition. Can the Pentagon help? Army, Air Force, Navy Research Labs???

    are there _any_lessons learned from the financial crisis that can be brought to bear on this industry? The free market itself is _supposed_ to result in price-adjusting competition. Why aren't we seeing it here? Are the regulations out of date? Are the regulators out of touch?

    Or, are the insurance companies so far ahead of government watchdogs, with such exotic computer programs and products that no regulator today can do any better but see the after-effects of likely collusion?

    Maybe the solution will take more of a military approach to tracking the threat forces, "faster than real time" as we say-using sophisticated algorithms and specialized data and data sources to anticipate and uncover illicit behaviors. We already have several defectors from the industry, and no doubt others who can come forward. Isn't this "spying for the sake of national defense" in the best sense, after all?

    August 18, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. Mike

    Good for Rep. Weiner! At least there is one Democrat with a spine. Nothing will change until the government lets the insurance companies know that their "golden age" is coming to an end.

    August 18, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. John Z.

    This will be a key moment in Obama's presidency to see what his dominant style will be. On the issue of health care reform, will he be a leader who stands on principle or a conciliator in an effort to consolidate power? At the moment he seems like he is leaning towards the latter and it is already costing him support. But then in electing Obama, America was taking a chance on a largely untested political figure and it is unfortunate that we will only now get to know what stuff he's really made of.

    August 18, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. Randolph Carter

    A public option would be nice. But it ain't gonna happen. Your average ignorant American is too brainwashed into fear of "socialism" by their corporate masters. Oh well. Wait ten years or so when nobody can afford private insurance any more. Then maybe, just maybe people will be ready. Hope ya don't get cancer before then. Have a nice day! XOXO

    August 18, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. Mike in SA

    So who is the "Party of 'NO'" now?

    August 18, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. Soren

    Emanuel and Jarret –

    You are getting closer and closer to disaster.
    For Christ's sake, show some tough leadership.
    Or take the job as social secretaries instead!

    August 18, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  23. FRANK, Las Vegas

    We need the Public Option, Period. No matter how much the republicans are given, they are not going to vote for it. So it's time for the Democrats to find their backbone and do what the American people elected them to do. Write and pass the best bill, knowing that no one in the GOP is going to support it and go it alone. Forget about trying to get any GOP on-board. Do what the American people sent you there to do. The GOP can either join in or get out of the eay. The American People will support you if you stand tall and give America the health care it needs and wants.

    August 18, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. Claire Petuck

    I was just waching CNN live this morning...8/18.. and saw a town meeting from somewhere in Texas. It consisted of MANY senior citizens. I presume they were mostly GOP as they were all against Obama's health care reform. One old crock stood up and said "keep government out of my life". Does he mean to give up his Social Security???????? Will he also give up his Medicare which most seniors, including myself have??? It's ignorance like this which legislators must ignore and pass health care reform. We old crocs are not all as stupid as this group seemed to be!! I am for reform of the system and wish that at least ALL THE DEMS would stand up and vote for President Obama's ideas. I believe he is on the right track. We all know the insurance companies hate the idea of any change or competition....eapecially if it might lower their bottom line a bit!! I am a white,fairly liberal Democrat from NH and I really like Obama.

    August 18, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. has to say very clearly a public option

    last I heard, you were not pres

    you telling the pres what he must say?

    How about you run for pres

    August 18, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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