August 30th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
5 years ago

Public option not likely to pass in the Senate, Hatch says


WASHINGTON (CNN) – Just two days after sharing his fond memories of longtime friend and Senate colleague Ted Kennedy, Republican Orrin Hatch said Sunday that one of the main provisions of a Democratic plan for health care reform – a public policy initiative that Kennedy had referred to as the “cause of my life” – stood little chance of passing in the Senate.

“Is there any chance – despite the passing of your friend – is there any chance that a bill with a public option is going to pass the United States Senate?,” CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked Hatch Sunday on State of the Union.

“I really don’t think so,” Hatch bluntly replied.

The Utah Republican noted that health care accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy and that the country faces projections of mounting budget deficits in the next decade.

“Our senior citizens are scared to death,” Hatch said.

One of Kennedy's Democratic colleagues, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state, suggested on the same program that a public health insurance option was one way to introduce competition into the insurance market.

A public option “is a very key component” to controlling costs, said Cantwell.

Cantwell also said the status quo was unsustainable because of the rate at which health care costs have been increasing.

“Doing nothing and thinking that we’re going to get out of this expense is not really an option,” the Democrat said.


Filed under: Health care • Orrin Hatch • State of the Union
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Dennis in MN

    Gee, I wonder who's bright idea it was to scare the senior citizens.

    August 30, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. vic nashville , Tn

    Form No spin Poll

    Will Obama’s health care plan bankrupt America ?

    58 % No

    Time for us to pass health care reform

    August 30, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. howie

    I am a republican who is spporting health care reform, HOWEVER I do not support the public option. Let's keep the government out of it. The government run programs such as VA, Medicare and Medicade are good reasons to keep the government at a far distance for running the health care program.

    August 30, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. Candy Wilson

    If as Sen. Kennedy called it "the Upper Crust" has anything to do with things, nothing will pass. The Rich Rebuplicans will continue to side witht the Rich Insurance/drug companies and the Middle class will just get Poorer.....

    August 30, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. JonDie

    As much as some might like a "public option" for philosophical reasons, if we assume that 45 million are uninsured (probably high), that's 15% of the population, so a public option might not make sense.

    Instead, the insurance companies should be FORCED to cover everyone, which means we'd all have to pay 15% more ($100 -> $115) and wait 15% longer (1 hour -> 1 hour 15 minutes).

    Since the uncovered often end up in the emergency room, and we all pay for them anyway, it would be cheaper to pay more up front.

    But we still need to deal with runaway costs that are bankrupting Medicare.

    August 30, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Buckeye

    without the public option this is nothing but a windfall profit measure for greedy insurance companies

    August 30, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Debbie

    If Hatch knows that health care is 1/6 of our budget then he also knows that the costs of health care are not coming down.

    He has a moral obligation to the people to reform care, take care of the poor, and those in need.

    He is obligated by his faith, his patriotism, and as a citizen.

    August 30, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. Terry from West Texas

    The Democratic Party never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

    1. Break the healh care package up into smaller units: one for child health care, another for single moms, another for families that have children with severe genetic defects like autism, etc.

    2. They should call for a vote on each one and let the Republicans filibuster.

    Conservative leaders do not care about the health of the nation or the health of the men and women who vote for them. They care only about more power for themselves and more wealth for their wealthy constituents.

    August 30, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. RR

    medicare, medicaid, and social security are projected to bankrupt this nation nicely WITHOUT a public option, thank you very much.

    August 30, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. Post always rejected by CNN

    So the republicans ARE IN THE MAJORITY in the house and senate now...I didn't know that. Hatch might wanta be but the way they are acting with their obstruction, and denying and lying there AIN'T gonna be even a few republicans left in congress.

    The public will kick them out the door. They are tired of a party that is for the rich and big business and steps all over the real Americans.

    August 30, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. ex-republican

    Go ahead dems!
    Pull this thru without republicans. We all see that repugs are not interested in any reform, so just forget them.
    Mr. President, get a big stick and remind those "Blue dogs" that they should vote for the people, not for insurance companies!

    August 30, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. D. Tree

    Its too bad Republican Senators like Orin Hatch are such greedy hypocrites: he liked the insurance plan he gets from the Federal Government, but won't let the rest of America have that same choice!

    August 30, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. Alfred E. Neumann

    Money Driven Medicine – read the book or watch the film.

    Hatch is correct. Corporation will not permit meaningful health care reform.

    In developed countries, health care is a social responsibility.

    In America it's a for profit business.

    No coverage or underinsured, no problem. The cost just gets passed along in higher premiums to the rest of us. And who gains, corporation America. Who suffers – the poor and the recently unemployed.

    Americans are too stupid and/or greedy to understand.

    August 30, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Wow

    Senator Hatch needs to try to keep up. Poll after poll shows that the public supports the public option. Why not just man up and say I don't want to cooperate. I don't want healthcare for everyone. Why not just say that healthcare is only for the rich and that it's not a right?

    August 30, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Jane G.

    We need a public option. Please keep this on the table.

    August 30, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Sadly, this is a clear demonstration of how Senator Hatch expresses his loyalty to his close friend Ted Kennedy. Shame on you, Mr. Hatch,

    August 30, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Barbara

    Sen. Hatch says "senior citizen's are scared to death." How much sense does that make? Easy for seniors and senators to say. They both already have access to a great health insurance system, but apparently they don't believe anyone else has a right to it.

    August 30, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. pat c

    i am so sick of the republicans lieing and spreading fear about president obama's health care reform. for god's sake party of NO, think about we the people that are out here hurting because we can not get coverage from any insurance carriers due to pre-existing conditions. stop thinking "rich white men" need to run healthcare, because the republicans think a tax break for the wealthy fixes everything....well it doesn't!! all the tax cuts in the world will not help any of us that have been turned down from current companies, so give the' tax cuts is the way to go' thng a break...join the real world!!!!.

    August 30, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. Jane/Seattle

    What else would we expect from a Rethuglicon? What a bag of wind! Glad you have come onboard with us Sen. Cantwell. Now please talk to Patty Murray.

    August 30, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. 4 and the door

    “Doing nothing and thinking that we’re going to get out of this expense is not really an option,” the Democrat said.
    ________________________________________________________
    This is a lame excuse for the bad decision of a Public Option. The Public Option does not decrease costs, it just passes them along to already beaten down taxpayers. The Public Option does not increase competition. It inevitably leads to a government takeover of health care which will be a disaster in terms of cost and quality.

    Americans have already made themselves clear about the Public Option. It's not going to happen.

    August 30, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Jane G.

    Jon Dee, what you've calculated is not quite correct. Even with your numbers, you are missing the fact that public option brings insurance costs down across the board-cutting the cost for those who already have insurance. Everyone benefits from a public option, not just those who aren't currently covered.

    Forcing insurance companies to cover everyone only means they'll raise costs faster than they already do now. This is not the solution.

    We need the public option.

    John dee said: "As much as some might like a "public option" for philosophical reasons, if we assume that 45 million are uninsured (probably high), that's 15% of the population, so a public option might not make sense.

    Instead, the insurance companies should be FORCED to cover everyone, which means we'd all have to pay 15% more ($100 -> $115) and wait 15% longer (1 hour -> 1 hour 15 minutes).

    Since the uncovered often end up in the emergency room, and we all pay for them anyway, it would be cheaper to pay more up front.

    But we still need to deal with runaway costs that are bankrupting Medicare."

    August 30, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. katiec

    Without Public Option Health care reform will be a farce. It is the only thing that will make insurance companies become competitive and perhaps bring back some integrity. When you read the salaries, bonuses and perks the CEO's in health care get it makes you sick.
    Hmmm, did Hatch mention in his interview that he has received, so
    far, $3 MILLION from health care entities??
    The republicans will never support public option because big
    business does not want it.

    August 30, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. Uche

    I keep reading and see on air GOP's opposition to the health care reform debate. The question I want to ask is, Is the Public option the only relevant portion of the reform worth talking about or ONE of the key portions?
    During the August recess, lot's of time was wasted talking about and bedunking "Death Panels", "Pulling the Plug on Grandma", etc only for the everyone to find out that there was no provision in the package saying that but just GOP distraction talking point and the gullible media fell for it instead of highlighting every portion of the bill for viewers to see and decide for themselves if they support it or not.

    Again, where is the total healthcare reform package being proposed by the GOP? Who benefits?, What is the total cost in 10years? How do they plan to bring down the escalating cost of Medicare and put it under control. These are the questions to be asked and not the talking points going on right now which has no single relevance to the debate input or output.
    The GOP keeps calling the Public Option Government Run healthcare and that they don't have to be involved, I dare ask then What is Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare SCHIP, CHIP are they not government healthcare programs? Even the healthcare for Congress, is it not government program? If government need to hands off running healthcare, then do aaway with DH&HS, medicare, medicaid tricare and let the private companies run it.

    August 30, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. terry

    Sen Hatch always reiterates that Utah has the best health care in th US. In 2008, in nearly 217,000 cases, Intermountain facilities and physicians directly provided approximately $131 million in charity care to people who were unable to pay. (See table below.) Charity care does not include bad debts of approximately $177 million in 2008. (Bad debts are defined as uncollectable bills from patients who were able to pay or who have not provided the documentation to qualify for charity care.)

    That sounds like great care.

    TB

    August 30, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Reformed Republican

    The rethglicons want to kill more Americans by denying us affordable and universal health care than they kill young Americans getting us into "elective wars".

    August 30, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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