September 6th, 2009
02:06 PM ET
5 years ago

Pawlenty: With trigger, Dems 'will shoot themselves in the foot'


(CNN) – Even as members of President Obama’s fractured party appeared to warm to the notion of putting a so-called “trigger” on any public health insurance option in health care reform legislation, Minnesota’s Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the approach was a bad idea. He said it would not help create the bipartisanship the White House and some Congressional Democrats – particularly those in the Senate – are looking for in order to pass a health care reform bill by the end of the year.

Related: Senator signals possible health care compromise

“There’s lots of things we could agree to on a bipartisan basis,” Pawlenty said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “the public option isn’t one of them. The trigger option simply kicks the can down the road.”

Under the trigger proposal, a public option would become available later, should the private insurance industry not meet certain benchmarks on coverage and cost.

“If the Democrats embrace the public option,” Pawlenty also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “even in the form of the trigger, they’re going to shoot themselves in the foot.”

Asked about the alternative of non-profit health care co-operatives, an idea championed by North Dakota Democrat Sen. Kent Conrad during bipartisan negotiations in the Senate Finance Committee, Pawlenty rejected the idea that co-ops could solve the problem of rising costs in the country’s health care system.

Co-ops, which are prevalent in Minnesota, “have helped a little bit at the margins,” Pawlenty told King.

“So to think that is the solution, I think defies what we know about – the experience with co-ops already. It hasn’t substantially altered the trajectory of health care costs,” Pawlenty said.

Pawlenty replied, “I don’t know,” when asked whether he thought President Obama would meet his new goal of getting a health care reform bill passed by the end of the year.

The Minnesota Republican cited medical malpractice reform, embracing greater use of electronic medical records and electronic prescriptions, allowing the purchase of insurance coverage across state lines, and focusing on pay for performance rather than the volume of treatments as areas where Democrats and Republicans could work together towards some bipartisan agreement.


Filed under: Health care • Minnesota • State of the Union • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. IndependentfromTexas

    Oh shut up Pawlenty; stop crawling your paw. You aren't smart or any ideas. Sick of you guys. Hate mongering rethugs.

    September 6, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. mark

    Republican Gov.: nuff said.

    September 6, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. Pepou

    The Republicans know very well that if the Democrats sit and do nothing on health care reform, they will eventually lose the elections in 2010 and later. So I will say to Democrats : either you get your act together and PASS the bill WITH a strong public option, or you indeed shoot yourself in the foot. And big time !

    September 6, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Nea

    Republicans stop looking to 2010 and 2012 and look around now we need you to help President Obama to get this country back on track now not 2010 or 2012., NO,NO,NO, is all we hear from you and complaints and criticism well its time to stand up and fight for the good of the country the American people,Democrats and Republicans and if you are not here to help this country then leave and go somewhere else the same way you get fired on a job if you are not doing it. The American people are tired and we that voted for this President knew what his agenda was when we voted for him and we want what we voted for and the ones that are against his agenda stop complaining so much and come with a solution to the problem.

    September 6, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. Mike Wagner

    maybe mr. governor can drive north a couple of hours into the looney bin, otherwise known as michelle bachmann's district. then he can see firsthand what a whacko, vigilante group he has in his state.

    September 6, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. AJBF

    What has Pawlenty been smokin'? Obstructionist Republicans have made it very clear that bipartisanship is not something they have ever entertained. 77% of Americans want a public option. It seems to me that if anyone is doing any shooting in the foot it's the Republicans. They've been doing it for years at see where it got them. (Not that the Democrats are not good at the foot shootin' thing also!)

    September 6, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Mark Cartwright

    So the Democrats will shoot themselves in the foot with a "Trigger bill". Well, from this progressive Democrat, I'd say that without a robust public option the Democratic Party will shoot itself in the head. Progressives & Independents will pull that "political trigger" if Obama chooses Corporate Amereica over the voters who put him in office.

    September 6, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. mary from minnesota

    Well, then, Tim, what would work? Quit saying "No" and put forth a plan. Although I don't know why I think you would – you never did as Gov of Minnesota.

    September 6, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Larry

    Its funny the repubs keep going on about the cost of health care reform.
    Hoping that we will all look at the future they say will be created rather than the past that they left us with ....rising health care costs and a broken health care system!
    One is speculation and one is the fact of the matter.
    To the repubs it seems as long as they can speak fast enough they hope we will forget the last 8 years! People, they think you are stupid and well you are if you buy any of their nonsense!

    September 6, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. wikwox

    Truth is Conservatives are terrified of the Public Option, they know it will be extremely popular once people get used to it much like Medicare and Social Security. Hence thier dire predictions for the Democrats, as if the care!

    September 6, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Mike R

    “There’s lots of things we could agree to on a bipartisan basis,”

    -Democrats want to work on energy efficiency? Republicans want to dig for more oil.
    -Democrats want to allow gays in the military? Republicans want to label them as sex offenders.
    -Democrats want to encourage public schooling? Republicans want to ban the president from the classroom.
    -Democrats want a public option in health care reform? Republicans want absolutely no reform in health care at all, instead wanting to compound the problem further by giving more power to insurance industries.

    These Republicans are incapable of doing anything bipartisan, and their party has not produced one useful piece of major legislation during this entire administration. Their pitiful versions of a reform bill will do absolutely NOTHING to lower health care costs, while continuing to allow millions of Americans to live uninsured. They need to either get on the boat or shut up and get out.

    September 6, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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