November 22nd, 2009
04:14 PM ET
5 years ago

Fiorina: Obama might have to 'eat his words' on health reform


Washington (CNN) – A day after the fragile Senate Democratic Caucus rallied to move the Democrats’ health care reform bill to the Senate floor for debate, the woman who wants to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer said Sunday that President Obama will have to “eat his words” on health care reform if the bill becomes law.

After telling CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that she does not support the health care reform bill crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Republican Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina took on President Obama over his top domestic agenda item during the first year of his administration.

“If you listen to what the President Obama said about this health care proposal, even he agreed with me. He said he wouldn’t sign into law a bill that increased the deficit. He said he wouldn’t sign into law a bill that increased the cost of health care. If this bill goes through, President Obama will have to eat his words or break his promise.”

Depending on what time frame is used to analyze the costs and revenues associated with the bill, Republicans and Democrats dispute whether the Reid bill is deficit-neutral. And Fiorina’s assertion that the Reid bill would increase health care costs is the criticism often leveled by conservatives against the new taxes that would be levied in order to pay for some of the bill’s costs, and to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office which found that premiums in the public health insurance option would be higher than average because people taking advantage of the public option would be sicker than the rest of the population.

“I agree with the goals of health care reform,” Fiorina also told King. “What I strenuously disagree with is [the idea] that this bill, or the one that made it through the House, solves the problem in any way.”

Fiorina, a breast cancer survivor, also took issue with new recommendations from an independent task force as to when and how often women should get mammograms.

“Had I followed these recommendations... I could well not be sitting here,” Fiorina told King.

“The truth is all of these preventative techniques… are saving lives. Who is to say that a nameless, faceless government bureaucrat in Washington, D.C. should determine that my life is too expensive to save?”

In response to the report, Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the guidelines do not set federal policy and don't determine what services are covered by the federal government. “Keep doing what you have been doing for years - talk to your doctor about your individual history, ask questions, and make the decision that is right for you,” Sebelius said in a statement.

Pressed on how health care reform could achieve cost containment, Fiorina responded that the focus should be on providing quality care.

“First, the decisions about care should rest between a patient and their doctor, the people who know the science. Second, if we would focus more on quality of care, we would lower costs. That’s been proven over and over again.”

“I don’t see this debate really focused, frankly, on the real issues,” Fiorina also said Sunday, “quality and let’s make sure that everyone is covered. Sadly, we have a business case [for health care reform] that doesn’t add up, quality isn’t going to be improved, and costs are on the rise.”

Fiorina has her sights set on challenging California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer who is up for re-election in 2010. To do so, Fiorina must first win the Republican nod in a primary race against conservative California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. Fiorina is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. She was also an adviser to the 2008 McCain presidential campaign on economic issues.

soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. Kevin, Evansville IN

    We already have nameless faceless bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions. We have a Wall Street run health care plan. It's designed to maximize profits, not save lives.

    November 22, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. Ted from Calif.

    Do you really trust numbers and rhetoric from a person who was fired by Hewlett Packard? HPs stock lost more than half of its value during her tenure and that was long before the economic meltdown.

    This sounds like the same old fashioned failed Republican policy pursued for the last ten years..

    November 22, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. StevieB

    Please, you wouldn't have bothered to vote at all. That's who you are.

    November 22, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. Joyce in South Carolina

    As I see it, she is just running for election.

    Another Candidate from the "Party of No"!!!!!

    She doesn't have a clue how average people live!!!!!

    I bet she has never been without insurance!!!!!

    November 22, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. JJ

    "Pres. Obama agrees with me..." LOL. Yeah, I'm sure Obama is thinking "I agree with whatever Carly says because she's so relevant!". She's a joke. Big disaster at HP, but she sure lined her pockets.

    November 22, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. pam

    Carly, how about bringing back those jobs that you sent to China? We could sure use those jobs now.

    Pam and Skip in Oregon

    November 22, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Houff

    She is simply pointing out that Obama promised one thing and will break that promise. When Bush was president that was called LYING. Apparently anyone who disagrees with Obama is to be hated and insulted. Cannot someone disagree without being reviled as stupid or hateful?

    November 22, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Seeitthrough

    Irrational, unobjective, and irrational liberals like those below me: you have already discredited yourself by attacking her personally and with generalizations.

    Obama has already lied regarding transparency, supporting the troops w/resources, not raising taxes, and healthcare.

    Federal healthcare will bury the common man, not help him, and will allow widespread abuse by those that don't feel like working. The "Obama is going to get me a car, a house, and health insurance while I do nothing or the bare minimum" mentality will flourish. It would be far wiser to take a system that is 95% good, and make changes to it.

    Your children thank you for saddling America with a deficit far greater than the war, economic downturn, or lending crash was able to provide.

    November 22, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Mr. Jeter

    “What I strenuously disagree with is [the idea] that this bill, or the one that made it through the House, solves the problem in any way.”

    Well with that said Ms. Fiorina what are your ideas on what will fix the problem??? Just as most of us though, you've come up with no ideas of your own. I wish these people would stop talking unless they have something productive to say!

    November 22, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Patrice

    What angers me is the fact everyone has something to say about this healthcare bill, and it's all negative. Considering the fact that NO ONE has done any better with getting health care reform going, I really don't think they have to much to say one way or the other. Quit talking about what's wrong with it and start making it right. If you can't do that, shut up and don't say anything at all!

    November 22, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. R. Grayson

    What a bunch of maroons.

    It doesn't matter who she is or where she came from or what party she associates with. Personal attacks are getting old.

    The question is this, "WHAT ARE THE FACTS?"

    Do you really think that if you :

    – give insurance to people with serious health issues
    – add 40 million people to the number of people covered, and
    – upgrade the "quality" of health care

    that it's going to cost less?

    For once can we quit lying, quit the personal attacks, and tell the truth. It may be a good thing. It's going to cost a fortune. It will add trillions to the national debt.

    That's the truth. It doesn't matter what party you are from.

    November 22, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. Ken in NC

    Well you people must admit that the Bush Health Care plan did not add one dime to the deficit. Of course it did not do anything else either. It's funny how Republicans now say they have all this stuff that is better than what Democrats are proposing. If it is so much better, why didn't they ram it down our throats with all those war spending bill they rammed down our throats?

    This woman Fiorina out sourced all of the high paying jobs from her company over seas and then left and now she wants to do the same with US Government jobs. Well Democrats might not fix the problem but I can say Republicans sure as hell made it worse. Right now the problem with Democrats is that they cannot agree on which direction to go and I fault President Obama for that. His campaign went in the right direction and as soon as he took office he let go of the reigns and the entire Democratic herd scattered. I must admit that Republicans will be back in power starting in 2010 because Democrats are to busy fighting themselves.

    November 22, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Mike, Albany

    The republican party has apparently changed their slogan from "Country First" to "If Obama's for it, we're against it."

    November 22, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. annie s

    There was a time I had great respect for Ms Fiorina – that is, until she nearly ran her company into the ground and took a huge payoff to leave it, until she supported McCain, and until I learned she doesn't even vote! She's right, though, that the pathetically watered down public option may cost more than private insurance – but it will also mean that those self employed people who can't get insurance otherwise will have somewhere to go. Of course, if the Dems didn't cave into the conservatives – like Fiorina – we'd have a robust public option that would aggressively compete with the greedy for-profit insurers.

    November 22, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. Carole

    Doesn't she have a job to get fired from somewhere again?!

    8 years of a mess...No, No, No, No and they want people to vote for them?

    November 22, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Larry

    She wasn't even born the last time the full Congress got to vote on a major health care reform bill. Eight years of Reagan, four years of G.H. Bush, and eight years of G.W. Bush, many of which were with Republican-controlled Congresses, produced HOW many health-care reform bills? Zero!

    November 22, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Pkm i noticed that barbara boxer has tried to help the middle cllass working person how does a person like florina that is so rich know what it is like to survive day by day if we have one more supper rich gop person in office in caiifornia will all be on welfare

    November 22, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Jerry in NC

    Am I the only one who has noticed that those who vigorously oppose health care reform, are those who have great health care coverage???? It's easy for this woman, and hundreds of thousands of other people, whom have adequate insurance and are financially secure enough to continue to pay premiums that are skyrocketing, to say that the proposals that are being presented in congress are unacceptable. I, like millions of other citizens, are hopeful that this country is no longer in the control of the "HAVES" only! They could care less about the rest of us at the bottom of the ladder. The current bills that are being presented by the democrats, can and should pass through as law, so that the mutitudes of people, can have the same quality of life, as those who have lived high off the hog at our expense. I hope and pray that the health care reform, when it passes, is funded primarily through higher taxes on those "HAVES", who are fighting so hard to keep the backbone of America down!

    November 22, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. CBR

    Carly Fiorina has had the best health insurance available to her. She would have no idea how others are struggling with health care costs. I am sure she did not concern herself with health care costs when she was a CEO.

    It would be nice to interview real people for their opinions. Look no further than the thousands of small business owners who cannot provide insurance for themselves or their employees because of the cost.

    If California wants to elect Carly Fiorina then all the more power to them. The citizens there face severe economic problems. Not sure she understands what that means.

    November 22, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. danel

    Lucky for Fiorina she has a cadillac healthcare. That is why she can't sympathize with someone who does not have health care coverage.

    November 22, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Why even interview this woman? She won't get 30% of the vote in California. Do Republicans have any actual ideas at all?

    November 22, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. Mark

    Obama is a DISGRACE!

    November 22, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  23. k gard

    Wow it still amazes me that anyone given the information that is out there would go along with this disaster of a healthcare bill. Please tell me what Government run program has done well?? Social Security? Oh wait that's bankrupt....Medicare? Medicaid? Or right that's bankrupt also....the Post Office?? Oh yeah, that's bankrupt also. So let's let the Government run our healthcare. Get educated about this or you will be in for a rude awakening. This is not about better healthcare but Government control. And the rationing has already started with the mammogram issue. Take heart America and get your head out of the sand.....Also ask yourself, if this is such a great plan then ask Congress why are they exempt from this Healthcare and why (when Obama said this would be an administration of transparency) have they not posted the bill so we, the people the bill is being shoved down our throats, could read it??? I am sure not even Congress has read the over 2,000 page bill. Give me a break!

    November 22, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Susan in NC

    Carly is NOT trustworthy - she's proven it again and again - she's just more negative talk - lots of statement, NO answers!

    November 22, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. Mark

    She can say this because she doesn't have to worry about paying for excessive insurance rates. It's easy to have her position when you have money – what about the millions of people who are not in her position... She can't be so self-serving and expect to represent the public at the same time... she has no clue...

    November 22, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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