June 23rd, 2009
12:59 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama: public health plan will help discipline insurance companies

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday having a public health insurance plan is "an important tool to discipline insurance companies" and will help control spiraling health care costs.

Republicans have argued that a public option will drive private insurers out of business.

The president said that the top priority of health care reform has to be to control rising costs that currently threaten to undermine the country's long-term economic prospects.

The president made his remarks during a news conference at the White House.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Arkay, MI

    Republicans have argued that a public option will drive private insurers out of business.

    Isn't this the same republiicans who claim that any private run company is more efficient than government run agencies? How can public option drive private insurers out of business? Has the USPS run Fedex and UPS out of business?

    June 23, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. Melissa

    Yes, it will. It will force them to compete, lower wages, and lower prices. Its about time they were forced to behave. Profit does not rule all, and should not.

    June 23, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. Deborah from KC/RN

    It is an absolute must for us to have a not for profit system available for people to choose. Weather the government runs it, or gives incentives for others to run it; We must get the profit out of the system to reduce costs.

    June 23, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. JDM

    Money travels in three cricles: 1 For Profit, 2 Non Profit, 3 Gov.
    -For Profit companys are in it for to make money$$$$
    -Non Profit companys are in it for moral reasons using the money$$$
    -Gov. must are in because of is what expected of our Gov money$$$

    For to long our health has suffer for profit $$$. I'm willing to see what Gov. can offer or a Non Profit in my city can do!

    June 23, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. m

    The market is already set with the current insurance companies. They compete with one another for customers. People will shift back and forth from HMO to PPO and from UHC to BCBS.

    He's talking about artificially controlling prices. The government has a tendency to make up their own "free market" rules.

    Make no mistake, it will kill the health insurance industry as well as the medical profession.

    June 23, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Just My Opinion in Texas

    No .. the "public/government" plan will bankrupt private plans. After all the "public" plan can simply dictate compliance where private insurers cannot.

    After all ... the "public/government" plan will simply tell providers what the plan will pay .... whether or not that amount even covers the doctors' expenses is apparently of no concern.

    And THIS is suppose to be an improvement in healthcare??

    Yeah .. and if you believe this drivel, I have a nice beach house just west of Odessa I'd like to sell you!

    June 23, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. Pauli

    The questioning of President Obama's comments seems to be ones that downplays his methods and ways of handling the issues we face as a people. The questions do not follow a trend that allows for answers that will better our lives or the systemic structure we live in.
    Many of the questions dictate furthering policies that continues to keep the trend of keeping monies in the pocket of those already financially empowered instead of ways to spread the wealth around for those who are struggling to get their finances structured to live daily and survive in this country.

    June 23, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Private insurance companies have run amok for years. They neglect to pay benefits when needed, they often choose which procedures you can or cannot have, which medications you can and cannot have, and which doctors you can and cannot see. The system is corrupt and they are worried about going out of business? If I were President Obama, I’d say to insurance companies “starting walking the line or get in the unemployment line.”

    June 23, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Hugo

    Free open markets discipline business, not government mandates and bureaucratic intervention. Competition, supply and demand control the market place not more burdensome regulation by a Government that can't and wont enforce our laws! What if everyone canceled their health insurance at once, do ya think the price might realign?

    June 23, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. peggy

    obama needs to leave washington and go to holywood he would be better there

    June 23, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. M from Minnesota

    Here's our situation....both my wife and I hate our jobs in the city. We would love nothing more than to quit and move up north to start our business. Reason we don't – health care. There is no way we could go out on the open market and get the health plan our employer offers for us and our two small childeren. You almost become a paid slave. How many people do you know that say...."ya I'd love to quit my job and do this or that but I can't afford to leave"

    These health insurance companies just keep running up the costs and there's really nothing to stop them. They're worse than the greedy bankers on Wall Street. Even insurance "provided" by your employer – nobody gets a "free" plan. Every year they take more out of pocket, higher copays, less coverage. Little by little.

    June 23, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    Someone needs to. The top 17 CEO's in the health insurance industry raked in a combined total of $208M in salaries, bennies, etc., last year. That's enough for 5,200 people to receive cancer treatment based on average cancer treatment costs. That's alot of families taking a back seat to $30,000 office commodes.

    June 23, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. Larry

    As long as the Republicans have a say in this issue ... the insurance companies will ALWAYS have people on the inside fighting behind quiet and dark little doors

    For when Insurance companies lose money ... so do their Republican buddies in the halls of our Government ...

    It works the same way with OIL ...

    There is no justice when a greedy few have say over so much ...

    June 23, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Jim

    It's not the insurance that is the problem. Just like in other crimes if you follow the money you will discover who the criminal is. It is amazing to me that our politicians and just about everyone else does not recognize that it is the persons at the end of this chain that make health care expensive. If Hospitals and Doctors charged less insurance wouldn't be so expensive. If hospital suppliers and drug companies didn't charge so much insurance wouldn't be so expensive. If hospital and clinic construction wasn't putting up palace after palace insurance wouldn' be so expensive. Why do you think so many foreign Doctors and Health Care Professionals come to the US to practice, IT PAYS BETTER! In the US it is either pay up or suffer and/or die.

    June 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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