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. IQ test for all voters

    Delay and defeat is the ONLY plan the republicans / insurance corporations have in mind.

    The insurance industry REQUIRES reform but unless theres a LOT of extra kickback money involved then the republicans simply dont care. Theyre in it for the money and to hell with americans who need actual leadership!

    August 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  2. didi

    I think we need to have a public option...these GOP and Insurance companies are being bribed to halt this needed legislation...well, now we know...GOP is almost half dead with sonia sotomayar appointment...if it is not passed with public option I think GOP will be totally dead...washes out...from the map....GOP do not be idiotic...you are the biggest idiots, sold out with big lobbying...nation needs health care reform with public option...co-ops do not work at all....co-ops is a myth...they rob tax breaks...ok...ultimately tax payers will be sufferers...America, wake up...nation needs public option in health care...don't be idiots...god bless...we need public option...pres. obama, stick to your guns...god bless...go for public option...ok

    August 18, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. Jazz

    I am a strong supporter of the public option who will get vociferous with my Senators if they don't support the public plan. I have already sent them e-mails to this effect, will follow up with phone calls, and then with a visit to their offices. I refuse to have these healthcare bureaucrats in the private insurance industry continue to get between me and my physician. If there is nothing else that I've fought for with great passion before, it will be healthcare reform with a public option.

    August 18, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. Rob from MO

    As a physician, I consider the public plan crucial to successful healthcare reform. The public plan will be funded by premiums paid by enrollees just like the private insurance plans. Enrollees in any plan with incomes below a certain level will receive government subsidies to afford the premiums. Thus, the public plan will not be anymore subsidized with tax money than other plans. The difference is that virtually all money raised by the public plan will go to pay for medical care. Currently 25 to 30% of the revenue of private for-profit plans is diverted to non-medical expenditures (ie, executive salaries, dividends, administrative costs). We should have the option of a plan that applies virtually all revenues to our healthcare, rather than having some of it syphoned off for other purposes. For years, defenders of for-profit insurance plans have argued that the profit motive creates efficiencies that compensate for this "overhead". Now we can put that claim to the test.

    August 18, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. Truth Teller

    The President needs to go full ahead with the public option plan, and not let those in the minority sway him. We need this option. Those that want to keep their plan, keep it, if you think it suits you better.

    August 18, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. Oscar Santos

    Finally! A congressman with the fortitude to tell it like it is and to stand by his principles rather than selling out to the private Health Insurance industry. It Thank you Mr. Weiner. Congratulations voters of Brooklyn and Queens. It seems you are one of the few districts with a true Representative of the people. Single payer is the way to go, indeed. Now if we could just get the ingorant folk to see past the Hitler death panels.....

    August 18, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. CS

    When he says there should be a single-payor plan for "all Americans" is he including himself, the rest of congress and the President and all of their families? Funny how the insurance companies need to be made accountable, but the congress get's a pass on this one.

    August 18, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  8. rev

    Without a Public Option, the politicians are only selling America further down the river to the HMO's, Insurance Companies and Lobbyists. This type of conservative greed is what got us into trouble in the first place. America needs to fix our 'for-profit' health care system and the Rethugs need to stop lying about how we're going to fix their epic failures and egregious mistakes.

    August 18, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. Christ Zoga

    Hey guys this looks phoney to me.

    We have an in shape , young black male carring two military weapons outside the Presidents meeting. No one questions him and asks for credentials. It could be the tooth fairy or it could be the Secret Service but somehow Idon't think it was a threat to the President.

    August 18, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. Gus The Willie

    Why not let this health care reform become a dinosaur, and see what if the GOP can handle the issue down the road, if they don't become dinosaurs themselves. If this issure dies, we might see the demise of the majority of the white population, and the emergence of the minority of various ethnic groups. If it should happen, public supported healthcare will be a norm. The insurance companies will be but a memory too.

    August 18, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. Tania

    What a shame that there is such vehemence and hatred over this. Are all the people protesting the health program that secure in their insurance? Nobody has a "pre-existing" condition? Good luck!

    August 18, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  12. Peggy - TX

    Democrats must stand up in a show of conviction and strength to the bullying perpetuated by Republicans over health care reform. Many Republicans sincerely believe that Democrat politicians are inherently weak and will collapse under any opposition, which is why Democrats are being called derogatory names at town hall meetings, outrageous lies are being repeated callously, and a few people are even openly carrying rifles.

    Democrats can afford to be a little wrong if they sincerely make a strong attempt at fining a reasonable solution, but it is absolutely unforgivable to be spineless. They will not only lose the fight, but they will lose credibility and erode support from their base.

    August 18, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  13. Bill

    There is no health care reform without a public option.

    August 18, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. gary

    Given the sterling performance of the government in Medicare, Medicaid, Freddie and Fannie, I am sure a public option would at least as good as the USPS in providing guidance to the market place. Oops. Can't have real competition when there is a public option, the Tax Payer will have to pump money into the public insurance company to make sure they can continue to "help". All I see in the public option is a lot more government employees who can be counted to vote for more and larger government. A perfect tax payer funded perpetual voting machine, commonly referred to as the “Chicago Model”.

    BTW; we already have Universal Health Care, it was the result of activist judges deciding that no one can be refused service at an Emergency Room, another Unfunded Federal Mandate. Rather than address the problem honestly and have Medicare pick up the medical tab for regular treatment of the uninsured, something that would acerbate the current financial failings of Medicare, they propose to wreck the best health care system in the world with yet another equally flawed government program.

    August 18, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. B E in TN

    i totally agree with weiner!!! i have excellent employer insurance but i do care about those with no insurance, those without employer insurance and especially the ones who die because they could not obtain treatment in the country with the best health care in the world. i do not apologize for being a democrat and supporting the good will of the entire country rather than personal selfish greed!!!

    August 18, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. David from WI

    Oh this is great, the leftists in the Democratic party don't get one thing in a bill that isn't written and THEY won't vote for it?!?!?

    Now WAKE UP America and see the who is being petty and whiny now.

    This is so childish from a group that acts SOOOO superior and elitist. Could it be they are the group that are the problem with the Dems. NOOOO that would be the simplest answer.

    When the Dems and GOP will work together and because of this ONE issue the LIBERAL Dems will TANK the WHOLE THING?!?!?

    They are not superior but act as a child that has its ball taken away but their egos and arrogance will not allow them to see it.

    Obama has the big businesses of this bill on board but the people in rural and mainstream America has doubts and are painted as un America, Nazis, Dangerous, Nuts etc etc..... that is WRONG and we know it don't we?

    All they have left (the liberals) is threaten, ridicule, attack and demonize. They have become the true 'problem' in this brave new political world.

    Arrogant, elitist, libelous, slanderous and we trust THEM to have a say? They tear this country in two and that is the true danger they posses. Just look at the posts on these threads and elsewhere. Listen to the news and hear them attack fellow Americans. The more they talk the more the liberal Democrats dig deeper.

    Isn't it time for those in DC to grow up?

    August 18, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. Chris W

    Oh my god I can't believe I'm saying this but HILLARY would have had that public option rammed through the Senate and done correctly. Obama- why has thou forsaken us?

    August 18, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. old timer

    Good I hope this fails big time. Its time to put the brakes on Obama for good Maybe Cap and Trade will die also.

    August 18, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. Nathan

    The problem with democrats and republicans with respect to this and other issues are politicians speaking in absolutes. True statesman will argue their points, listen to the views of others and then work out an agreement in the best interest of the American people. President Obama's leadership is manifested in pushing health care reform. Congress needs to manifest its leadership by working as statesmen to pass meaningful legislation.

    August 18, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  20. Craig of LA

    We need a Public Plan for;
    1. The Unemployed
    2. The millions of Americans that live at or below the poverty level.
    3. The working poor struggling to pay for food and rent.

    How on earth can these poor and unfortunate people possibly afford to buy CO-OP, COBRA, or regular insurance? By God where is Republican humanity? The America I believe in takes care of its own.

    August 18, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. John

    Thank goodness someone is keeping Obama honest. This guy has more guts than Obama. Or should we call him Clinton II?

    August 18, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. Colin

    Come on guys, baby steps, we must take baby steps.

    August 18, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  23. James

    If there isn't competition in the insurance industry, why doesn't the government ENFORCE THE ANTI-TRUST LAWS!

    August 18, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  24. inuk of the north

    The premise that you can give 50,000,000 people healthcare and the overall costs will go down is nothing short of lunacy.

    I guess if you're going to tell a lie, it should be a big one.

    August 18, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. matt

    Health Care Reform is a government takeover of healthcare. People know this, and they are very upset. That is why it was such a big deal that obama had to have everything passed by the house and the senate before the august recess so he could sign it into law, before the american people had a chance to read it. Now that they have had a chance to read it they can't beleive this is the president they voted for and are very upset. We are now finding out that obama is no different from any other politician with his/her own personal agenda. We can reform health care without destroying it, and without taking any money away from seniors through their medicare. HR3200 states that $584 billion dollars will be taken from medicare over the next ten years because obama feels that it is wasteful spending. That is what I don't understand, no matter who you are democrat, republican, independent, white, hispanic, asian, black, etc., most everyone has parents or grandparents that they love and would do anything for because those are the people who loved, fed, protected, clothed, and educated us, and now we have a president and congress who say that money given to them through medicare is wasteful spending! That is wrong and the american people know it, it is obvious when the most recent poll shows 54% oppose this kind of reform to 36% who approve. Again, we can reform what we have without destroying what we have. This reform is more of a personal agenda than a real reform. I will fight for my grandma, and I don't care who is president, no one will tell me that medicare money spent on her is wasteful, and I voted for obama.

    August 18, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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