September 30th, 2009
03:09 PM ET
5 years ago

Public option: 'Nothing is ever dead on Capitol Hill'

Sen. Max Baucus says he likes the idea of a public option, but he doesn't think he can get the votes with it.
Sen. Max Baucus says he likes the idea of a public option, but he doesn't think he can get the votes with it.

(CNN) - As lawmakers huddled this summer to put together the framework for health care legislation, it quickly became evident that the battle over President Obama's top priority would be neither quick nor easy.

After months of debate and missed deadlines, the public option has emerged as the main sticking point.

From the beginning, some Democrats said they wouldn't pass a bill without a government-sponsored, public option, while other Democrats and most Republicans said they'd say no to any plan that included one.

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Filed under: Capitol Hill • Health care • President Obama
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. George

    Public option is what America wants. But America doesn't have the money to buy a representative like the drug compaines do. Just think how many lives could have been saved had the drug companies payed their lobbying money on patient's claims. They would rather have their CEO's get rich by denying claims. Wow when will our elected representatives represent us, instead of the money spenders.? Of course insurance companies fear anything that will make them be honest. Honesty doesn't bring in money!!!
    And republicans and a few dems that are bought off by the greedy should be ashamed of themselves. Cowards with cash!!! They will sell their souls to the devil to stay in office. They have fine insurance so why should they worry?

    We need a PUBLIC OPTION!!! Not more death by greed!!!

    September 30, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. southerncousin

    Without the public option it is an honest reform, not the socialist takeover, waste of tax money and give away to the dope smoking, non working, Oprah watchers. It will be interesting to see how the democrats go. I saw where 40% of the public supports the public option, that has got to be the 40% of the population that does not pay taxes thanks to the libs.

    September 30, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Rosie, Crestiview, FL

    Well, any bill that gets passed w/o a PO will not lower costs for insurers. There will be no impetus for private insurance companies to lower insurance premiums. The only way to stop the rise of premiums is to have competition or strict regulations. Congress cannot even pass strict regulations on the banking industry, so I think that the chances of strict regulations on private insurance companies will probably go nowhere.

    September 30, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Bush_Low_I.Q.

    2000 to 2008: -----------------
    Health Care Reforms ==================== 0
    Regulated Banking ====================== 0
    Wars ================================= 100
    Katrina Hurricane Relief ================== 0
    Economy ============================== 0
    Jobs ================================= 0
    Homeowners Mortgage Protection ========== 0
    Corruption, Loot, Lethargy & Idiocy =========== 100

    2009: --------------------–
    Now these Republicans are Talking ========= 0
    Republicans are Idiots =================== 100

    September 30, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    The Dems are the ones that started this dying for the elderly.
    And to take medicines instread of having surgeries. Thats a fact.

    September 30, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Steve (the real one)

    Other than civility and putting the country ahead of politics, nothing is dead on Capital Hill

    September 30, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. obummer, 1 and done

    As a republican, I am not against a public option, but let's be smart about it.

    A government run public option that lets the government run a healthcare operation that does not have to make a profit and the government will support a loss, is unfair competition to the insurance industry and will eventually become the only option for anyone since all others will not be able to compete. This will lead to less choice, less medical care, longer lines, rationed healthcare, etc. And let's face it, the government screws up anything it does, (ie. banking, housing, postal service, medicare, need I say more).

    So how's this. have a public option but make them make a profit set at say 5% after tax. That tells the other insurers they can make a profit to compete, but not go overboard if they wish to stay competitive with the public option.

    Does this make sense to anyone?????

    September 30, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. Steve (the real one)

    Sorry make that Capitol Hill!

    September 30, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. John

    If he liked it, he should have voted for it. This is a medical-industry-backed liar trying to have it both ways.

    September 30, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. Kim

    As long as we have "Business" running this congress we will never have reform. They will put all of this crap in a bil,l call it reform, however untill we get true represenation, you will just have the crap.

    This idea that 65 percent want a public option, yet they won't vote that way, is just wrong. A public option would have to support itself and be fincially viable without needing support.

    You can still keep what you have and chances are your policy would be more complete for less money. Fair competition creates a choice, having 3 companies in bed together is not competition.

    Untill we have lobby reform this country is ......

    September 30, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. keith

    we in countries with universal health-care are just shaking our heads at Americans for not following what the rest of the modern world has found: universal healthcare (paid mostly by the richer folks using a consumption tax) is exceptionally desired by all and we'd never return to an American style medical system. Do not believe the ads by the GOP and corperations that our countries have poor medical systems.

    September 30, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. Paris Patt

    I'm from Fl. and I voted for Obama. Why not do this: Have the G.A.O.
    ( Government Accounting Office), make a list of both Republicans AND Democrats, now serving in congress, and the amount of MONEY that Insurance Co.s and their colleauges have given them EACH for their campaigns. This should give the American people a very good look as to why these horses asses are fighting to give the Insurance Co.s Both Bailouts and Special treatment. We as a people are going down the preverbial "Creek without a paddle" due to these, lilly livered represenatives of us. My kids and grandkids are going to grow up in a third world country. WE CAN'T LET THIS HAPPEN.. WAKE UP AMERICANS!!! THROW THEM OUT IF THEY DON'T DO YOUR BIDDING !!!

    September 30, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Ken

    The only thing "dead" that I've seen on Capital Hill over the last 14 years is the space between [R] congresspeople's heads. They are the very poster children for the phrase "Dead from the neck up".

    September 30, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  14. Stephee

    From the looks of this debate, I'm starting to think no matter how great the public option may be for everyone, we might not get it. Democrats and all Republicans will vote against it because they don't care what we "Americans" want. No matter the situation we are in, don't we have a say on what we want? We will be going through hell if this Health Reform passes that will make us sell an arm and leg to buy health care.

    These congressmen and senates are bought by health industries to kill the public option. No matter how they see we are in need, money wins the debate. It shows you how greedy and corrupt our government is. No matter what President Obama tries to do, we have morons who don't care and rather have citizens suffer. This is not fair and is definitely not the American way!

    September 30, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. Mike in MN

    It's clear to me that the ones obstructing health care reform are the liberals who are insisting on a public option that the pubic doesn't want.

    September 30, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. work on it

    keep working on something that helps americans. It is very disappointing to see republicans try to sweep healthcare off the table and hope that no one ever mentions it again. One wonders if Grayson was absolutely right. There are millions of americans without healthcare(working americans! so let's please not enter into some debate about who works and who doesn't work) while the senate finance committee has cadillac healthcare. It's just really not right is it?

    September 30, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. Not waiting to beg for Insurance pay out

    Public option Dead

    It will take careers with it.

    No Public Option No Health Care Reform

    Jokes' over.

    September 30, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. katiec

    Baucus needs to start representing the American people rather than support the health care entities who have donated more than $4 MILLION to his campaign.
    Along with many politicians that are putting campaign funding, personal gains and interests over the welfare of us and our country.
    The days of big business, etc controlling, running our country has to end. Let the politicians know!!

    September 30, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. D. Tree

    Senator, you say you "Like the idea" so why don't you stand behind it?

    Apparently you know the Public Option is the right solution, but you lack the backbone to stand up for it.

    September 30, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. Peter E

    Without a public option we'll just get the status quo, except we pay even more money to the corrupt private health insurers. Do we really have to wait until private insurers start hurting the upper class until Congress finally starts treating this as the crisis that it is?

    September 30, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Have you noticed that most of the vocal protesters against a public option in Congress, or at town halls are ones who get Congressional health benefits and Medicare respectively? Both of them government run programs. So they want their public option, but they cry bloody murder if anyone else gets it? Hypocrisy alert!

    September 30, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I hope the public option isn't dead. That, I feel, is the most likely way that people who are currently uninsured will get insured. I can't imagine anything else that would get the insurance companies motivated to cover people and provide lower cost service.

    September 30, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  23. Tony

    It is dead. The reasons? 1. Nobody wants it, that understands what it will do 2. The Dems already on a death march to next year's election for the blunders of cap and tax and the porkulus bill, know that this would be the final nail in the coffin. 3. The "excuse" for it is to provide competition. Allowing insurance to be sold across state lines is instant competition and ITS FREE.

    September 30, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Emma

    Baucus is a snake in the grass! He slithers based on the which way the "wind is blowing." MoveOn.org, go after Baucaus and remind him who elected him, not the special interest....Insurance companies, they only pay him BIG BUCKS to vote their way.

    Let's take away the medical insurance we tax payers provide Members of Congress and their families. American taxpayers, let's start a revolt and insist that the IRS does not collect funds from the American taxpayer to pay for the insurance of our elected officials, after all they are doing their civic duty. Why should we pay for their medical insurance.........after all they are serving their countries!

    September 30, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. g

    insurance company won american people 0

    September 30, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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