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. Simmy

    Sen. McConnell, if a government plan is not a good idea, will you please give up yours? If you and your cronies (Blue Dogs) don't come together with the rest of the Americans in Congress and pass a public plan option, voters will kick your butts down the road like a group of rusty cans......Kapeech?

    July 26, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. Tim Hatton

    Stop your whining people!
    1. If you don't want politicians to have a good healthcare plan, please let some lobbyist group or PAC offer them free doctor visits or some very helpful insurance that conveniently gets better or worse based on how they vote. That would make it easier for lobbyists at least.
    2. Use your real name, "Peoples Voice". You don't speak for me.
    3. Insurance companies give money to both sides of the aisle just like lawyers and other industries that make healthcare prices higher than you want.
    4. Lobby groups are good. If your party wasn't represented well, you would at least have someone in D.C. fighting for your interests.

    July 26, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    well reading most of this article responces shows that we are tired of the lies and big business crap .. so we need to tell our servants in washington that the president is right and make a program that takes the control away from the insurance giants and gives the control to the people . insurance companies make way to much profit . because people like Mc connell have protected them for ever .

    time for CHANGE ..

    July 26, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. dan, MI

    Thank God, we have leaders like McConnell and other republicans. Otherwise we would become socialist Russia in the last six months.
    Let us not get carried away by Barack Obama's big talk. He is indeed a radical president we had in our history.

    July 26, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. cramit

    Have any of you read this bill? It's like and operating manual for a Nazi death camp as it relates to elderly and special needs kids. If heath care is a right why are they left out and why does a right need to be forced on people .

    July 26, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Phil

    There is more concern on the part of Republicans, for the suffering of the insurance companies than there is for the American people, and there always has been. Look at former Republican congressman Billy Tauzin and you'll see a great example of the type of corn these chickens run to. They serve money, not the people.

    July 26, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. 4 and the door

    There are only a few small questions with this Health Reform being discussed that need to be answered. What are they selling? How much does it cost? and Who's going to pay for it?

    I defy any supporter of this to completely answer any ONE of these questions.

    How can you support something with no answers to the most basic questions? Certainly not on Obama's track record. That on it's own would kill any proposal. He's struck out several innings worth already.

    July 26, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    They objective of the "public option" is to destroy private insurance.

    July 26, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. B Lewis in Austin

    Why does anyone even listen to him? He has helped create a triumvirate of "Just say no at any costs" GOP leaders made up of him, Boehner and Cantor. Quit playing politics and do what is best for 'ONCE'!!!!

    July 26, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. Mary

    We need and deserve what the French, the Canadians and every civilized country has! We need a national health care option. Health care should be a matter of national security, not something only the rich and the lucky have access to!

    July 26, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. Annie, Atlanta

    Why should senate republicans be behind any health care reform plans. They already have theirs, and that's apparently all that matters to them. That and the campaign funds received from the health care industry to beef up their war chests. Nice guys, huh?

    July 26, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. Jeff D

    Choices?!?! Competition?!?! What is this guy smoking. There are no choices & even less competition. Well I guess if not having Insurance is a choice then I guess there are lots of choices. If you are rich you can get all the insurance you want. If not then forget it. The Public Option is the only one that will work. The US spends more, covers less than any other western nation. Ya, what a great system.

    July 26, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. indyred

    Why does anyone listen to these Repubs. They do absolutely nothing for the "little people." Never have–Never will. They only try to scare people so that no change will come for the average citizen and so the big corporations can make money and more money and more money and...

    July 26, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. GOP = 21st century dodo

    I'm watching the interview right now on TV. John King just tried twice to ask Sen. McConnell about the vitriolic language being used by Republicans ('Waterloo", 'going for the kill') and McConnell replied with a handful of familiar platitudes.

    I still don't know what McConnell thinks about DeMint's and Kristol's statements.

    July 26, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Bill Sampson

    How about surrendering YOUR government plan, Mitch? Right now. As a taxpayer, I demand an end to Congressional health care paid for by the taxpayers (a "public option", if you will). You need to be on your own, buddy. What is good for you is apparently not good for your constituents, right? You are appalling. How many citizens of Kentucky could benefit from low cost, quality health care coverage that would NEVER be cancelled? You do not represent your constituents, Mitch, because they don't bribe you like the "health" insurance lobby does.

    Universal healthcare is the only thing at works. "Health" insurance companies only prosper by DENYING health care, either through denying coverage or claims. Or by charging premiums that are not affordable. They are a for profit business and they don't want to pay any claims. They are a parasite on our society and we will go broke funding them.

    President Obama: No further compromise with these guys. They fix is in. They are bought and sold by the insurance lobby like heads of cattle.

    July 26, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. Phil

    4 in the door. I bet you didn't have that many questions when the Republicans sent our sons and daughters to fight a war in Iraq based on total lies. Obama has been in office less than a year dealing with problems that he did not create, and the cowards who created these problems are hiding as usual and blaming him for all of it. Shame on the Republicans who created this mess, and shame on the people who still defend them.

    July 26, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS have ZERO CREDIBILITY on the issue of health care reform.

    McConnell sounded pathetic in his attempts to convince the American people that all he and his fellow Republicans care about is working to reform the system for the benefit of average Americans. It seemed as though he couldn't even convince himself that he really wants to reform the broken system that works only for the few and makes so much profit for even fewer.

    On the other hand, John King was very convincing when he showed on the Magic Wall that several Republican Senators in "Blue" states (states that went for Obama in '08) are at serious risk of losing their Senate seats come Nov 2010.

    Maybe Congress should pass legislation that would require those who lose their seats to give up their Congresional health care packages the moment they get booted from office!

    July 26, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Linda

    If Tri-Care is good enough for the military why would a similar plan not be good enough for the citizens of this country who cannot afford a plan as expensive as what the good senators have. Tri-Care is a government subsidized insurance plan.

    July 26, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. John Meyers

    It's been said before Mr. McConnell: it's all well and good you can criticize, but what have the Repugnicans presented as an alternative> Do nothing? Status quo? Make sure all our contributor friends continue to make money off of people who can't afford what exists? No thanks, go play in another sandbox, no one wants you around here . . .

    July 26, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republicans sure didn't hesitate to have the government involved in everything they did when they were in power! I guess you have to be a Republican elitist to warrant having the government in charge of things!

    July 26, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. MN Observer

    This guy LOOKS like a liar and a thief. He looks corrupt. Despite this, this guy has a lot of power. Where are the people who voted for him? Get him OUT of the Senate. He has been there to long.

    It seems strange to me that the Republican naysayers like this guy can still garner so much press and cause so much trouble despite the fact that they never offer an alternative solution or suggestion. They simply keep saying : No, No Way, Not now. No. And, they get away with it. WHY!!!!!

    July 26, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. Stephanie

    The republicans are aginst anything that would cut into the obscene profits of the lobbyists and would upset their largest donors. This is the man who constsntly lies that America has the best health care in the world even when faced with all data that proves otherwise.

    The republicans are only concerned with regaining power with their pretend concern about the "little" guy who now has to line up overnight to get basic health care from charities that formerly only worked with third world countries.

    July 26, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Matt

    CITIZENS demand a public option.

    July 26, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. Tom in CA

    Ahhh...to hear the mutterings of an old white guy. It's true – he's a member of the Grand Obstructionism Party.

    July 26, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. adamandkanani

    Keep spreading your lies. You Republicans are so misinformed and ignorant and too busy playing politics to help America evolve. The system is broken . Health care does not work in America but you want to keep it the same because it fattens your pockets.
    Other countries are way more advanced and caring for their people.

    July 26, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
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