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. Ohio river gal

    Since the single payer payer is very much the same thing as medicare, I would opt for that as first preference.

    Good luck Congress. Stay strong and give us reform. We are scared about change right now, but down the line the public will act like they're entitled to it. (i.e. don't take away my medicare!)

    August 18, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  2. Melissa

    Give us a public plan. Most people in the country want one. Give us one, instead of giving in to the fear mongers.

    August 18, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  3. Stephen Brady

    Finally someone with guts!

    August 18, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  4. Robert

    The socialists aren't going to pass up a chance for more socialism in the US unless they have no other alternative. Fortunately the American public is voicing its outrage over all this socialism being forced on us.

    August 18, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  5. Butch Dillon

    The president has settled into a routine of weekend golf and holiday style tours in the west, along with a Martha's Vinyard vacation when it should be show time on health care reform. Someone needs a spine to ram through a proposal that includes Weiner's version of a strong public option, but it's not to be found in the WH. Given the nature of the Senate with its disparate democratic caucus, the House needs to start raising the heat and becoming a very vocal majority to push the right legislation. Keep up the good work Congressman Weiner et al.

    August 18, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  6. reggiedistrictheights

    Change is not coming to washington, if he does not make the Congress pass a public option.

    August 18, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  7. William

    Finally a voice of reason. Forget all the right wing nut jobs. Obama ran a campaign promising health care reform and if he drop the public option, the bill would be worthless and the insurance industry will have won in its public relations campaign to undermine his plan.

    August 18, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. Kitchen Police

    Medicare for all, now!!!

    August 18, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  9. Mississippi Mike

    All socialism or no socialism. This is what we've come to. What about listening to the voice of the people instead of playing ideological games with our money and health?

    August 18, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. Pat in Omaha

    GOOD!!! Don't let the public forums (attended only by the protesters!!) be the voice of the country. I was invited to one of those meetings with a telephone call...I didn't go because it was being held by a Bush-puppet and I can't be bothered with him! Now I think I should have gone just to let him know there are people who WANT the public option, etc.
    I really hope the democrats don't blow this thing!!!

    August 18, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  11. Brad

    Who gives a flying rip about what some idiot from NY wants? Its called give and take and this guy appears to be a complete taker.

    August 18, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  12. Realist

    Yep, cant disagree with a liberal, no compromise, what he wants or nothing. Typical. To bad not even 50% of America is lined up behind yet he wants to push this on all of us.

    August 18, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  13. tony

    Americans are idiots why are you coming against your own interest these insurance companies are going to kill you I repeat they will kill you. do you people read watch the news e.t.c because if you do you will get a clear idea as to who will benefit more with the status cuo, let me inform you it will be the insurance companies with record 400% profit margins ceo paying themselves 12,000,000 a year, the system right now is rotten to the core, wake up dumb asses and fight for a gov run health care system i was a part of it still is being a vet and it is excellent coverage. my conclusion is some people do not care about health care reform they just do not like the fact that their Commander in chief is black, so they are out to see him fail.

    August 18, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  14. CJCD

    And this makes you know more than anyone and makes you smarter than anybody because???? Keep up the good work. It is you extreme libs who will take down the democratic party and if allowed, the country. Your arrogance will be remembered. Knock yourself out!

    August 18, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  15. John Y Des Plaines IL

    Public option is a must.
    Single payer is a must.
    Non-Profit healthcare is a must.
    Every LEGAL AMERICAN CITIZEN with full health coverage equal to the current congressional plan is a MUST.
    Anyone in Washington who doesn't back the above WILL NOT RECEIVE MY SUPPORT BOTH VERBAL AND MONITARY no matter what party they are a part of.

    August 18, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  16. demwit

    My way or now way..., change you can believe in??

    August 18, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  17. Scott Peters

    Say what you will about President Obama, the Democrats, the Republicans, the House, the Senate... but what is certain is this- healthcare reform is extremely complicated and virtually NO ONE knows the exact solution. SO those out there who are complaining. for whatever reasons- simply don't have the answers... Give this TIME and DEBATE...

    August 18, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  18. Ellen Northy

    Every politician both, Demarcate and Republican, for the pass 20 years have been talking about fixing the cost of Medicare and Medicaid. If both programs were rolled into the “Public Plan” wouldn’t that help to finance these entitlement programs? Right now we the taxpayers pay for the health care for the highest risk, sickest and most expensive people, the old and the poor. If we add more, healthier people into the plan we lower cost and spread the risk.
    By the way I have notices that a lot of the people I see at the town hall meeting protesting a Public Plan appear to be older citizens. Why doesn’t anyone point out that they are already have a “Public Plan” for their health care.

    August 18, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  19. tony

    Mr weiner I am with you on this let us do this by reconciliation 50 or more votes we cannot let simple minded Americans mostly right wingers, and racist derail this health care reform.

    August 18, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  20. fdande

    I'm with you on that one...Its change not a matter of accommodating Republicans that don't care much about the Main street but the same OLD interests that define the grand OLD party. They had 8 years and all BUSH cared about was WAR !!!...I'm not sure but i wont be surprised if he never mentioned the word HEALTH CARE for the 8 years the fat cats got fatter in Washington and Texas plus all big companies.

    August 18, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  21. Juge

    My sentiments exactly! Either Obama is HOPE or he is a WIMP!

    August 18, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  22. The Dude

    The government is not a fair competitor. It would be like if I was playing poker with a group of people but I stacked the deck in my favor, how would that be a fair game?

    August 18, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  23. cristina mcmartin

    I just can't understand why the private health care industry is so afraid of a goverment insurance option.If they believe they are serving the people well, they should fear nothing.Hope people think twice before rejecting the president program.If the insurance industry win this battle, insurance policies will trun into burning hell for many people, specially for people like me that pay high primiums in order to cover those who uses an emmergency room for a minor need.I believe that many of the people against this plan, are the ones that don't have to pay 850.00 per month plus 3,700.00. deductable.They have someone like me and you (emploeeys of cnn) to pay a lot in order for them to have all for free. I'm tiered of this, and I'm hoping that the media do what is right, telling the truth about the public option.

    August 18, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  24. Joe

    It is interesting that as the Health care bill has had time to be digested (instead of being forced to a vote by Mr. Obama with little time to actually read the bill), many conflicting views have resulted due to the ambiguity of the language and my feeling is that if a bill is crafted with such ambiguous language that so much of it can be left open for interpretation, then it should not pass! Once we let the Government in, they will define it however they feel fit and whatever Mr. Obama is saying now he could easily go back on. Be careful America, this administration has only one agenda; CONTROL.

    August 18, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  25. fdande

    I campaigned for Obama tirelessly in 5 states and this is the 1st time i Am sooo offended by him even thinking of the idea and making matters worse by mentioning it in PUBLIC !!!!

    August 18, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
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