June 8th, 2009
04:22 PM ET
12 years ago

Blunt: Public health care option a non-starter

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/08/art.royblunt0608.gi.jpg caption="Missouri Republican Rep. Roy Blunt spoke out Monday against the public health insurance option that Democrats are advocating for as part of their health care reform proposal."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Missouri GOP Rep. Roy Blunt, who is heading up health care efforts in the House, said today he has made it clear to Democratic leaders that pushing for a public option in health care legislation is a non-starter for House Republicans. "That is a problem that is virtually insurmountable because we just don't think that it leads to real competition," Blunt said Monday.

President Obama sent a letter to Republican leaders last week responding to their plea that the GOP be included as a healthcare bill is developed. Blunt noted that the letter doesn't disclose any details, but makes it clear the president wants a bill passed by the House by August 1.

Blunt called that date an "artificial deadline" and said "we can't be part of the discussion if you won't let us in the room." House Republicans plan to unveil their own alternative healthcare legislation in the coming weeks and Blunt pledged that it will cost substantially less than the Democratic proposals.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Ray

    The G NO P (Dante, that is brilliant!) plan:

    The wealthy can have all the healthcare they can afford.

    The middle class and poor are just sol if they can't afford any.

    The savings for the government – plenty.

    The profits for the insurance companies, drug companies and other wealthy Republican cronies – immense!

    June 8, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. Enough

    Gotta love the lack of intelligence on this blog. Looks like most of you could use a brain transplant, since you don't really understand how bad the Democratic proposal for health care reform really is. You really think you are going to get great Health care for everyone and it will be free?

    June 8, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. T KS

    WE ARE THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WITHOUT THE PUBLIC OPTION. Why? Because the health care lobbyists keep congressmen like blunt fat and well paid. Not because those like Blunt have the American peoples best interest in mind. Read last months time magazine article on health care and you'll understand we are all being given the short end of the stick while those in Europe live healthier and happier lives.

    June 8, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. Wendy in So. Cal

    Anyone who complains about healthcare reform obviously has it paid for through their employer otherwise they would be singing a different tune. Healthcare is a universal problem and we all pay for those who don't have it one way or another. My healthy family of four pays $15,000-$18,000 a year in premiums and copays for our private health plan because my husband is self employed, god forbid someone actually gets sick. You have to be completely ignorant or uniformed to argue that reform isn't needed, obviously the vast majority or Americans are fairly smart about it because we voted overwhelmingly for Obama and he is doing his best to keep his campaign promises.

    June 8, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. a little sad

    Can you name one thing that insurance companies ADD to healthcare in the US besides cost?

    They are just a level of administration that pushes money around. And keeps a tidy sum for themselves (Their admin costs run about 20% of the medical costs.) They are, in essence, middlemen.

    They do not provide healthcare.

    Afraid that if we change the healthcare system, your treatment options will be limited? The insurance companies are already limiting what procedures you can have (check your policy for coverage).

    Afraid that if we change the healthcare system, your choice of doctors will be limited? The insurance companies are already limiting which doctors you can see (check your insurance company’s list of credentialed health professionals)

    June 8, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. Wow

    Repugs say health care reform a non-starter.
    Ergo, GOP's chances in 2010 and 2012 are likewise a non-starter.
    Repugs oppose a public plan option which would require CONTRIBUTIONS by the policy holder.
    Isn't better for everyone to have people paying something for their health care instead of the current system where uninsured go to the emergency room for everything????
    According to the GOP if no company wants to offer insurance, you are just out of luck. That isn't reform, it is our current system. Repugs offer no solution at all to the highest-cost health care in the world which is a drag on our economy and the competitiveness of US business.

    June 8, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. RJ- GA.

    Can you believe Blunt ? When do the Republicans realize they were voted into office by the American people and not the insurance companies ! This party should be de-certified for Crimes against the American people ! How can a public option be bad ? The increase in medical costs has outpaced inflation, how can this be possible Mr. Blunt, I will tell you, IT IS GREED ! Thank GOD we can pass a bill without you idiots !!!

    June 8, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. I can see Canada from my house!

    @ obamavictim,

    I guess the private sector has NEVER made a mistake....remember Enron, MCI, AIG, GM, Chrysler, Shearson Leaman, oh wait, I forget thats all the fault of those terrible liberals who like to beat up on mulit-millionaires....

    No system is perfect. Its how we correct the mistakes that is the real issue, and doing solely market-based approaches does not work.

    June 8, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Lynn

    Why is it that people like Sue Dubya in MI can provide facts and statistics while CNN who claims to be the best in all things news is unable to provide these?

    Better just to fan the flames no matter what inaccuracy is being pushed like Senator Shelby with a straight face declared America's health care is the best in the world.

    June 8, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. phoenix86

    I am constantly amazed at how many individuals are eager to turn their lives over to the government. They must be at the very bottom rung of intellectual capacity.

    June 8, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Kevin B

    It is clear that Mr Blunt is in the pockets of the insurance companies, To believe for second that the GOP is going to look out for the best interest of middle class americans is laughable.

    BTW, why should'nt the for profit heath insurance companies have to compete?

    June 8, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. Randolph Carter

    Enough wrote: Gotta love the lack of intelligence on this blog. Looks like most of you could use a brain transplant, since you don't really understand how bad the Democratic proposal for health care reform really is. You really think you are going to get great Health care for everyone and it will be free?

    I was supposed to get a brain transplant, but my private insurance doesn't cover it. Have a nice day!

    June 8, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Lori reminds the GOP that Clinton and Bush had lower approval ratings than Obama and BOTH got re-elected!

    Yes, and under Republican rule our health care system has been excellent! Come on, Republicans. If you couldn't improve our system in 8 years, do you think we believe that you actually have all the answers now?

    June 8, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. jeb b

    ANOTHER red state GOP CONGRESSMAN , who family is set for life w/ insurance and doesn't have to worry about his familly and the cost. just another [red] plantation state where if you are republican chances are extremely good that you got good health care due to the fact that persons of their ilk are the first hired and the last fired. red state republicans don't care about no one else suffering its a gene identified as a INDIFFERENCE GENE its just their nature. its the nature of the BETTER HALF.

    June 8, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. SimplyPut

    Enough, nobody said it would be free. But a public option WOULD be cheaper and more efficient. The main Republican argument against it is essentially "but then private insurance companies would be unable to compete". Don't you get it? THAT'S THE POINT. Health care should not be a for-profit venture. It is about the well-being of us all.

    June 8, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. Mick

    Yawn. Another Republican stooge for the merchants of misery, the Health Care Industry and Big Pharma. Can anyone guess which special interest group spend the most money lobbying our legislators at the Federal and State level?

    Why are the Republican apologists for the Health Care Industry so worried about people being able to opt into a government run program? If private insurance is so great, people will be able to stick with their provider. The President's plan, as articulated during the campaign, was to offer a government program as an alternative to those who don't have private insurance. If a government run program is truly as awful as the Republican fear merchants make it to be, people won't buy into it except as a last resort. If people decide they want personnel at a for-profit enterprise deciding what health care is best for them versus someone at a non-profit entity, then they can stay with a private insurer.

    Methinks thou doest protest too much, Rep. Blunt. Perhaps your true fears are an end to big campaign contributions and all expense paid junkets by Health Care and Big Pharma lobbyists. Money prestige and power are being taken away from a politician. Of course it's a non-starter for him.

    In other shocking news, the sun will rise in the East and set in the West tomorrow.

    June 8, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. Marcus, Great Lakes, IL


    No, I don't think that it will be free, but I do believe it will be afordable for people like my sister and her husband who, because he was laid off and they didn't want to use COBRA (because of my sister's heart pre condition they were afraid that after coming off COBRA they would never be able to get any insurance) ended up having to get a loan against their home to pay for their health insurance. Talk about stress!

    It is not right to let them slip through the cracks because of something they had no control over.

    Our people deserve better.

    June 8, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Dear Mr. President, Please let us into the conversation about the health care plan so we can tell you that we don't want a health care plan. We demand a seat at the table so we can criticize your efforts to create a health care plan and put forth no ideas of our own. Then we will call you a failure. Love, The GOP

    June 8, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. Craig- Easton, PA

    So how come only the Repub Party gets to have non-starters? And why do insurance companies see the government option as a threat? Surely the grossly inefficient, wasteful, bureaucratic Federal govenrment couldn't compete with a private sector insurance company. Could they? And no one would want to put the government between them and their doctor. Oh wait, the alternative is to have a friendly efficient and understanding insurance company between you and your doctor. Too bad such an institution doesn't exist.

    June 8, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. Lynn

    Why are the Repugs always crying and whining that they want to come to the table? When they come to the table they have no ideas and nothing to offer. They can't stop this train so it will have to run over them. The only work they want to do is the kind that continues to make the rich richer and the country whiter.

    Go to the table with something constructive rather than insults and attitude and you might learn what is going on – people don't like you and they aren't voting for your party!

    June 8, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. Darth Vadik, CA

    Living up to the Grand Obstructionist Party legacy, keep it up, lets see if Dems can pick up one more seat in the senate and then you can cry your poor insurance companies woes oll the way to the smoke rooms.

    June 8, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. GB in Kansas

    Way to go, Mr. Blunt. If you rummage around in your brain (assuming you have one) you'll no doubt recall the GOP's plan to allow workers to manage their own retirement plans via the stock market. Had that boneheaded idea become reality, just think what would have happened to those who chose that option over Social Security.

    Letting the "free market" "competitive" system we have now continue to "manage" our health care system is a really great idea, right? One could argue effectivel that your thinking so demonstrates that you have the intellect of a Tic-Tac!

    June 8, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. michaelam

    We most certainly need a universal health care plan that will address the needs of all citizens. I just don't get what the issue is?! Oh, that profit/greed thing....yeah, that always seems to be an issue for the

    American families are losing their homes because of inadequate and expensive insurance! Bankruptcy! Students are forced to leave their parents' plan at the ripe age of 23.......coincidentally, around graduation......but, since jobs are slim, they have no coverage.

    Senator: Get over it! The citizens spoke loudly and clearly the last election. We no longer want your failed policies!

    Carry on, Progressives and let's get the job done!

    June 8, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. Miles

    I don't care about competition. I don't care about profit. I care about health care.

    June 8, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. jo jo

    Now all of a sudden, the repubs are concerned about heath care for the people, just like they are now concerned about the budget? Yeah, right! They had their turn to prove how much they cared for the ordinary person and guess what, THEY FAILED MISERBLY! So, now all of a sudden we are suppose to believe they’ve had a change of heart? How dumb and gullible do they think the American people are? Where were they eight years ago? Where was all this display of concern then? Now that we have someone in office actually doing something other than blowing a lot of hot air, the repubs are putting in their two cents. Like the saying states, “action speaks louder than words”, and for eight hard years, there was no action on behalf of the average person. If it didn’t occur to them we needed a health care reform and a balanced budget eight years age, how are we to believe anything they say anymore? Well, I don’t and anyone with any amount of sense shouldn’t either.

    June 8, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
1 2 3 4 5