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. razmataz

    Looks llike health care reform is doomed again. The libdems won't support it without a public option, the bluedog dems won't support the public option. Republican alternative plans which make much more sense and would cost half the money aren't even seeing the light of day under the present Dem stranglehold on Congress.
    Oh well, 2010 and 2012 will see big changes in the make up of our federal government.

    August 18, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. paul coke

    Politics is a game of compromise. this attitude of its' my way or the highway is utterly stupid. Health care needs to be reformed, and competition is one way to ensure insurance giants don't marginalize health care. Those who scream and yell at townhall meetings are misrepresenting the reality about health care. They often forget their own plans don't cover them, and their anger is something else and not about health care reform. Progressive leaders in the Democratic party need to remind the blue dogs they are democrats and if they want to be right wing conservatives, well become a republican.
    Big insurance do not want competition and they told the politicians in their hip pocket to make sure it doesn't happen. Greed is a powerful weapon.

    August 18, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Ashley

    Yeah, let's have a system like medicare that is going bankrupt.......sounds like a great plan!

    August 18, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  4. Vic of New York

    You GO bro!

    It's sad that so many Americans are being misled by the GREEDY healthcare industry and their puppet stooges the Republican Party.

    I've seen my healthcare costs triple in the past ten years - while my income has actually gone down! I've also seen the most egregious of corporate consecutives around America stuffing their faces with bonuses and outlandish salaries while many Americans are loosing their homes.

    Meanwhile, these politicians – and ESPECIALLY Republicans are lining their coffers with Healthcare Industry lobby money as payment for badmouthing and trying to kill the bill?

    Bullzit! I'm ready for a revolution. ANY healthcare bill is better than what we have now. AND a public option is the only way to keep those thieving healthcare executives honest.

    August 18, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. T'SAH from Virginia

    If EVERYONE in Congress and the HOUSE have their OWN – SAME opinion – it's a WONDER why nothing gets done!!!

    Everyone wants to be recognized as the CREATOR in order to earn BROWNIE POINTS......

    If you read all of the TICKERS concerning HEALTH CARE – EVERYONE is saying the SAME THING but in different words and/or style....

    GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER – SAY THE SAME DOGGONE THING in the SAME DOGGONE CONTEXT – and get this DOGGONE BILL SIGNED!!! Jeez!!

    Stop making ONE doggone little part of the doggone bill a BIG doggone ISSUE – when it is only a doggone FRACTION of the entire doggone BILL – My Lord!!!

    August 18, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. Hugo

    The liberal left Democrats still haven't figured out that they are a minority. They still think a majority of the American people voted for Obama on his campaign promises and his "progressive" agenda. Time for the wake up call Nancy and Harry, it is NOT what America wants or needs and I think we will show you in 2010. We can only hope the damage these people do to our Nation is repairable, what a bunch of kooks! Single payer = FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Who in the United States that is not on the receiving end of a handout check thinks that the Federal Government can manage anything, look at Medicare!? Government should be regulating lawyers and insurance companies in this, NOT our freedoms! Funny how a politician wants to hold an insurance company accountable, when are politicians held accountable?

    August 18, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Howard

    I think the "best" option would be for Anthony Weiner to worry more about trying to get something passed than about his own political ambitions.

    August 18, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. smokey

    You go Democrats ! Way to stick with the American People..It's about time, that our voices are heard...I can;t believe that we are about to scrap HealthCare Reform on a count of a few right winged republicans who have always stood for big corporations..This is our time to really make a CHANGE for everyone, and we should stick together and do what the majority of the people want..

    August 18, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Roland

    That is what people are really upset about: "best health care option would be a single-payer plan, like Medicare for all Americans."

    Why would any politician believe that the 85% of American who have their own insurance should switch to something like Medicare.

    The public option should only be an option that the working poor would be forced to pay for through employment taxes, such as an extra 2, 3 or more percentage points above the Medicare tax that all working Americans pay. If that does not pay for it, then maybe add another percentage point to the Medicare tax that all working people pay.

    American will never accept "universal health care," so the socialist pin heads who think they are "liberal" should forget about.

    Everyone that works should be required to have health insurance, just like everyone who drives a car is required to have at least liability insurance. If you don't work, you don't get health insurance and the only choice is charity. Medicaid should only be available for children or the elderly who have run out of money (and not allowed to give it away to their children sponges) and in which Medicare is not enough.

    August 18, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. hr

    We need a single -payer plan for all americans . Medicare has worked . Insurance companys have made money also. Why let our low income people die.Everyone needs insurance.

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

    Everything the government runs turns to you know what. Social Security will be completely broke just a few years down the road, along with Medicare and the Post Office and now they want to attempt another failure in the making with Health Care.
    The cash for clunkers isn't working with only 5% of the money paid to the auto dealers and you have to wonder, if they spent the billion already and are talking about throwing 2 more billion into that hole, then why haven't the dealers been paid? Where is the billion dollars of our tax money?
    Then there is the trillion for patching up the economy with only about 5% spent and they are already talking about another couple of trillion.
    Where is all this money disappearing to? Nothing but pork, and more pork is what it is and probably all for Democratic projects.
    Wake up people and stop this mess from going further. Talk to your Senators and Representatives and let them know they will not be re-elected.

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

    This is why no progress can be made in America. Far left democrats and far right Republicans will never compromise, and thus nothing will every be accomplished. The second President Obama signals a willingness to compromise on the public plan, the major stumbling block for Republicans, he gets his legs cut out from under him by his own party. Do Democrats truly believe that they can get everything them want, all the time? I respect Obama expressing that this health care reform is not about a public plan, but about reforming a system that is failing to help a significant portion of Americans. But bipartisanship cannot be achieved from a top down approach. The only way bipartisanship works is with buy in, and so far, house and senate Democrats and Republicans has certainly shown that they are more interested in their own pet projects and personal re-election rather than what is good for America. For once, can we have a moderate solution to a contentious topic? Can someone finally stand up and say that we need to come together to fix a broken system? I don't know what the solution is, but I know that Congress has failed, and will fail until centrists republicans and democrats come together and reject the radical views of the far left and far right. Health care reform should not be about political leverage, it should be about helping Americans.

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

    Without the public option, there is no point. This whole mess was nothing more than an out of control debate for no reason.

    August 18, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. Ron In California

    No public option now.

    August 18, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. Doug

    I wish people would call this bill what it really is – Health Insurance Reform. This bill would not effect the cost of medicine as some of these politicians predict. As this bill has been presented, it would get a few peope insured but it won't effect the cost of medicine. As of right now there isn't enough primary care/internist doctors out there to support the insured as of now and we are planning to add to that number.

    What real Health Care Reform needs to address:
    1. Tort reform to get the mdeical malpractive insurances down that doctors have to pay out.
    2. More primary care doctors.
    3. Get the costs of perscription drugs under control (some drugs cost upwards of $1000 or more)

    Until we get the costs of medice under control, this version of reform will be bankrupt just as Medicare is bankrupt now.

    August 18, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  16. Mark Halpert

    The House Democrats represent a vocal and very committed minority

    The conservative Republicans represent an even more vocal and committed minority

    What if the American people want a better system, that covers more people, but moves forward with a strong and effective cooperative - if the House Democrats kill such a bill than 2010 will make 1994 look like a good year for the Democrats

    A strong bipartisan bill, with a solid cooperative may be what the country needs, and if liberal Democrats inside their way or the highway – the highway looks awfully appealing

    August 18, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  17. unshrub

    The Democrats are going to let the republicans divide and conquer them. How sad.

    August 18, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. RR

    Liberal democrats blocking reform!

    Can't blame the GOP if this fails

    August 18, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. Ken from missouri

    If you provide a service like the insurance companies do what is wrong with making money our country has free enterprise system
    which gives people the american dream and government run health
    care or insurance is one step more to canceling the american dream
    which seperates us from the rest of the world.

    August 18, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. Becker

    I have to laugh. Trouble in paradise..

    August 18, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We need the public plan. This is the only way that some people can get health care insurance. If it is kept limited and low for the poor and those that are denied, then it might work. I would like everyone here legally covered with health insurance, but that is a tall order since it cost something from everyone. Unions should think about doing some kind of cooperative with the businesses so that all the workers and businesses pay a little in to a non-profit organization like that which could work across state lines (and around the world).

    August 18, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. Jim NJ

    I am happy to see that the liberals are finally entering the fray on healthcare reform. When the Republicans controlled the Congress, they did not worry about what the Democrats wanted. As the party of inclusion, we Dems sometimes try to include at the risk of loss of the issue. I am all for learned discussion of the issues regardless of party affiliation. What I have seen at the town hall mtgs though indicate that the citizens of this country do not understand how healthcare works. Fact: 60 cents on every healthcare dollar has a government source for it now so whats the big issue with the government getting involved? The decebil level of these town hall mtgs should not direct our leaders. They need to be smarter than the electorate and do what is right for the country. That is why we elected them, they are the ones that should know better. Thats what I expect of them anyway.

    August 18, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  23. AndyB

    This is typical of the do nothing panty waist Dems. Stab your President in the back, just like they did Clinton. It's stupidity like this that made me leave the hypocrite Party of NO and the Party of scared panty waist dems. Ahnold said it well, Girly Men, but that applies to both party's. They don't care because they gots theirs.

    August 18, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  24. ike

    I hope Obama administration does not plan to fail. A health reform bill without a Public option is a disaster President Obama should not allow. The president should remember that it is a promise that must be kept with American people who made him president.

    August 18, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. sammieb51

    Come on Dems - grow a set - put the public option in it and let's be done with this mess. The people who are so hard fighting against this are and will collect all they can from the govt when their time comes under SS and medicare, no matter how much they 'protest'. If we had waited for the Republicans to get on board with civil rights or medicare reform in the 60's we would all still be waiting for the whiners to get the facts straight.

    You Dems were elected to fight these GOP jerks - get with the program.

    August 18, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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