July 26th, 2009
11:41 AM ET
11 years ago

McConnell: Public option a nonstarter for Senate Republicans

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The views of the top House Democrat and the top Senate Republican suggest that the Obama administration has a long way to go in achieving its goal of health care reform legislation by the end of 2009.

“I think I can pretty safely say there aren’t any Senate Republicans who think a government plan is a good idea,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

McConnell also suggested that the creation of a public option would destroy private health insurance companies and the competition that currently exists between them.

McConnell’s comments followed an interview by House Speaker by Nancy Pelosi that also aired on State of the Union where the California Democrat said the public option was “an alternative to give much more leverage to the individual.”

McConnell also chided congressional Democrats over their various proposals for financing health care reform.

“They’re having a hard time selling it to their own members,” McConnell told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “The only thing bipartisan about the measures so far is the opposition to them,” the Kentucky Republican added.

But McConnell suggested that the two parties will eventually work together to achieve some sort of consensus on health care reform.

“At some point, they understand that in order to comfort their own members and to have broad support among the American people, it will need to be bipartisan,” said McConnell.

“We’d like to start over with a genuine bipartisan approach,” he added.

On the day that she is set to transfer power, McConnell also weighed in on the future of Alaska’s Republican Gov. Sarah Palin.

“Boy, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Sarah Palin. She excites an awful lot of members of my party. They’re anxious to see what she’s going to do next and so am I.”

Filed under: GOP • Health care • Mitch McConnell • Sarah Palin • State of the Union
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Peoples Voice

    I understand why he is against the public option. He does not want us to suffer the terrible health care plan he and his family enjoy.

    Thank you for protecting us from your health care plan and leaving us to the magnanimous tenderness of private insurance companies. I shiver with pleasure of being so protected.

    July 26, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Jonathan

    Why are we letting republicans dictate what the people want or don't want, this shouldn't be an issue. More than 70% of the people want a public option, period. There shouldn't be any negotiating with them. Let's just get the job done.

    July 26, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. katiec

    Of course the republicans do not accept public option. That would make THEIR insurance companies have to become competitive and accountable. They want their campaign contributors continue to have record breaking profits.
    Have yet to see a workable, acceptable idea or policy come from the republicans that would benefit the American people.
    We cannot continue to support politicians who want and let the insurance companies, drug companies etc, lobbyists and special interests run our country and make crucial decisions for us.
    We will no longer accept their politics as usual, party first, win at any cost tactics to continue to destroy our country.

    July 26, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Cecilia Walker Modesto Ca

    These old senior's has some form of clueness of what the american people voted for and that is health care reform. And if they want to help why don't they work out a bill or is that to hard for these mindless senetor's to do. Maybe they can go to 'C Street' for guidiance to open their thought's or maybe that's hard for the family of true value's. That's why you loss and will keep on losing when you have no clue's of what people want in this country, and that's health care reform. And not just say no to the President on every level. How many times did you say no to Bush who you helped put this country in this mess and now you dnn't want to help get us out. Thank's but no thank's for your kind of help rethug's.

    July 26, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Chipster

    McConnell, here's a "starter" for you and all of our elected officials:

    How about if you cancel your taxpayer subsidized health insurance? Health care is not a crisis for you and your family because we pay about 75% of the cost for you!

    A grassroots movement is needed to demand that our elected officials pay for their own health coverage until they feel the crisis that uninsured Americans feel. That means no sleazy midnight salary increases to cover their costs. Maybe when they understand they problem with pre-existing conditions and 84% increases in premium costs, they'll get a taxpayer perspective.

    I resent paying for their health coverage when so many American families are suffering, losing their homes, and losing their lives!

    July 26, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Charlie in Maine

    "Public option a non-starter for Senate Republicans"

    Which is eaxctly why I will never vote for them. But that is not really the case. MY Senator Olympia Snowe is for it. I hope Sen Collins will join her. I would vote for them both if they follow through.

    July 26, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. Marty, FL

    Sen. McConnell LIES again. "Shocking" for a Republican wanting to maintain the status quo for his corporate interests.

    Recent reports indicate that most Americans support a public option to improve competition, but Sen. McConnell would rather support his greedy interests in the insurance industry (nearly $1 million in donations to his campaigns).

    McConnell also lied about the bipartisan measures, considering many amendments have been included/supported from his Republican colleagues, which he should know about, or is he playing more political games with our health care?!

    July 26, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. Anna, Missouri

    I thought that polls showed that 72% of Americans want the public option to be available. Please explain why the Republicans can remain so out of touch with the American people and still think that they have any chance of regaining any power in the future. Yes, the American people want to make sure that things are paid for, but that doesn't mean that they have turned their back on the public option. Americans want the Republicans to work with the Democrats and come up with solutions, not just be against everything that President Obama is trying to do.

    July 26, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    McConnell, since 2005 you have received $705,000 from various Health Care Organizations; $409,000 from lobbyists; $410,000 from Pharmaceutical/Health products; $314,000 from Insurance Companies and $274,000 from Hospitals/Hursing Homes to ensure you keep your seat in the Senate.

    It's understandable why the status quo in heal care is acceptable to you.

    Sick people in this country who aren't as corrupt need heal care reform.

    July 26, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. mother and sister of a soldier

    Thank God their are some rational individuals who understand Obama's plan is a disaster. This country was founded on the principle of NO BIG government. His control of my health, banks and auto industry should scare everyone. Look to Europe and see that this does not work! Educate yourselves dems...don't be sheep any longer. If the gov cannpot manage social security, medicare and verterans health care, this plan will surely destroy our economy. Gee, could that possibly be what Obama wants to gain total control of the people?

    July 26, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Mark

    Do you ever notice that they never say what a starter for them is? Everything is a non-starter.

    July 26, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. BubbaNH

    what a tool...this guy should give up HIS 'public option' if he thinks they're such a bad thing...people in this country are in great need of SOME RELIEF from this disgraceful status quo...if you are just a working stiff you are on your own, and that's how the Rs wantt to keep it: they got theirs already; screw the rest of us...

    July 26, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Alicia

    @ Jonathan....I agree. Why do we care what they think? They shoved the Iraq War which costs TRILLIONS$$$$$ down our throats.

    Of course, he wants to keep the insurance companies with business as usual bleeding Americans.

    These Republicans have a history of NO to Social Security when that came about; NO to Medicare when that came about.

    Bottom line, Republicans are for the big health care greed. Republicans take a vacation while others suffer. Republicans do NOT care. They just want to break, not put on brakes DeMint, Obama.

    July 26, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Jeff, Huntington Beach, CA

    The Republicans and many Democrats have shown they are in bed with the insurance industry lobby and do not care about us. We the People are being fed a bunch of lies about a public option and unfortunately, many are buying into the misinformation campaign. (ignorance)

    Healthcare costs continue to rise at an alarming rate and will be the death of many of us, financially or literally in the coming years. I do not know how our "public servants" who sell us out at every turn can sleep at night. I hope there is a special place in hell for their kind.

    July 26, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. observer

    There surely should not be a debate on the public option, this is the only way to keep costs low and get insurance companies to clean up their act.

    July 26, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. say what?

    Mitch McConnell, how can you understand what the average American is going through right now in regards to health care?? You have your cushy health care plan that WE (the average American taxpayer) pay for you. So why don't you take your vow to be a public servant seriously for once and think about the public that pays you for once, instead of just towing your party line. We need more than this out of our public servants. What are we really paying them for? To keep big industry in charge??

    July 26, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Kevin

    Apparently the 47,000,000 Americans that don't have health care don't vote or are not old enough to vote, or the republicans would not want to stand in their way.

    I just don't understand why the republicans are so indifferent to these people.

    July 26, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. RR

    the GOP does NOT have the votes to block anything. If any health care bill fails, no one can blame the GOP.

    The GOP should just ask to bring their plan up for a vote, and when it fails, sit on the sidelines and watch the dems implode.

    July 26, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. Ryan

    USA health care insurances are the highest over the whole world but the service provided is just above average .

    Having said this, people really do not know that there are medical save havens all over the world where people travel to for their medical care.

    These pockets of high service are even much cheaper and can be found anywhere.

    Examples: Eye lens laser treatment can be done in portugal for three times less ( your health care company will love to pay that bill for you)
    There are cardiovascolar experts in high-end hospitals in India ( it is more like a 5 star hotel in comparison with your thorax centre).
    You can get dental care in the Caribbean of equal quality but for 10 time less pay.

    Having said this all, is medicare expensive because you pay your insurance a lot , or is your insurance high because medicare costs a lot ?
    The answer is : both side's feed each other but not equally , it would have been better if something could break their ass and bring more players to the field resulting in adjusted payment in accordance with the service received.

    July 26, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. joel palmer

    No, Mitch McConnell is a non starter for the US of A. He will be lucky to squeak by the next election

    July 26, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. Brad

    A public option would "destroy" private insurance companies? Oh no! You mean the Republicans would no longer get all their kickbacks from these fat cats? Oh no! You mean ALL Americans would actually have a chance to get health care? Wouldn't that just be awful? Sorry, McConnell but this interview really shows your true colors and makes me support the Democrat plan even more. What was his idea for health care reform? Oh, that's right, we are still waiting to hear it.

    July 26, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. joel palmer

    There are two plans:

    1. Health Care Reform The Democratic Plan

    2. The staus quo The plan of the fat cats, the rich, the covered, the powerful and the Republipigs

    July 26, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. Larry

    McConnell, since 2005 you have received $705,000 from various Health Care Organizations; $480,000 from lobbyists; $410,000 from Pharmaceutical/Health Products; $315,000 from Insurance Companies and $274,000 from Hospitals/Nursing Homes to ensure your seat in the Senate.

    You've also been a leading voice against campaign reform laws.

    You're also on Crew's "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" List.

    I understand why you're not a big fan of health care reform and why you're such a fan of capping Malpractice Lawsuits.

    July 26, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. Southern Gentleman

    Are you trying to say only you can have the public health option?? By the way no tort reform, if my doctor messes up and I die, I want my wife and kids to be rich. I am worth more than $2 million!!!

    July 26, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. DennisG

    Of course the republicans are against anything that might limit the exorbitant profits of the insurance companies no matter how those profits impact the common american citizen, that's who they are. And as usual they preach that we should trust industry to do the right thing, that the corporations will compete and reduce costs but can't compete with a government plan. Of course they can compete but then they wouldn't be able to do the price fixing that's resulting in their profits. These republicans are either one of two things, disgustingly greedy for "campaign contributions from the insurance companies, or simply stupid enough to believe that corporate america will ever, ever do something to actually benefit america and not their bottom line.

    July 26, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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