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. Jose

    And if we followed the Republicans blindly, we'd be right back where we were for the past 8 years – doing nothing and idly sitting by watching do nothing take place. I'm a life long republican that doesn't feel the party I belong to represents who I am.

    July 26, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. nea-nea

    These Democrats are doing exactly what the Republicans want them to do s-l-o-w- down. I mean slow way down then maybe just maybe in the next election maybe 4 yrs from now or 8yrs from now when they have the whitehouse then they will have their own plan.A DO NOTHING PLAN because they dont see anything wrong with what we already have.The republicans dont have to really do anything but sit back and hope that the democrats keep putting it off and keep fussing, that way they wont have to be accuse of voting against healthcare.Then the dems can take the blame.

    July 26, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. Ken in Gainesville

    I watched Senator McConnell this morning. My impressions:
    1. He often did not answer the questions asked. He dodged or changed the subject, and the moderator did not hold him to an answer.
    2. The only suggestion the Senator had when asked what he would do were tort reform and tax credits for private insurance. Neither of these address the health care crisis. If he really does not understand this, he is not very bright, and he is incredibly out of touch with working Americans. Of course, he has health insurance, and he has made a fortune off insurance lobbyists and pharmaceuticals to "alleviate" their liability in lawsuits.
    3. My son is a subcontractor in the housing industry. No health insurance. He can't afford health insurance (so tax credits are a waste) and tort reform will not help him at all. I want McConnell and all the other smug Republicans (and blue-dog Democrats) to explain to my son what to do for health care? Business as usual is not an option, folks.

    July 26, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. JB Sullivan MD

    As a physician in practice for 25 years, the best health c are plans are medicare and Tricare, both government administered and financed. No for profit plan can match them. And medicare [ays more to physicians than the private plans. Why do Americans want to fear and defeat a change that is needed? Another public option for small business owners would allow my office to provide full health care coverage for my four employees. At this time the cheapest plan is over $600 per month for each poerson with a large deductible of $5000.00. The republicans are very short on honesty.

    July 26, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Post always rejected by CNN

    You know we could all send this little squirrel some nuts. How about it.

    July 26, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Post always rejected by CNN

    I forgot to add pictures of nuts....don't waste time on real ones.

    July 26, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. democrat no mas

    Are all the people wanting a public option OK with paying what the premiums will cost? Or are they really wanting someone else to pay the premiums for them? The public plan had better work smoother than medicare, medicaid, or tricare. In our area fewer doctors are taking them because of low reimbursements and overwhelming regulations. What good is a public plan if noone will give you an appointment?

    July 26, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Blue Dog

    Yep, the pharmaceutical industry is reaping great rewards for the $40 million dollars in lobbying from April to June.

    The GOP is still up to its usual tricks of hypocrisy, lies, fear and smear to screw the average American while their wealthy campaign and PAC contributors shower them with bribes, I mean contributions, and laugh all the way to the bank.

    Actually, Mitch, GOP ultimatums are a non-starter for the American public. So, shut your greedy, lying, hypocritical pie hole.

    July 26, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. LacrosseMom

    GOP= lies, fear, hate, & division.

    52% of Americans polled said they do not know who their leader is.

    July 26, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. gl, Pittsburgh

    Why do John King keep asking McConnell the same question on Health Care. We all know he is against the public Health care plan so why do we have to hear it every Sunday. Okay, we get it all ready. Repulicans don't like to help average American. Move on already John King. Hey, John King, do you think if you keep asking McConnell about Health Care Reform, he is going to give you a different anserwer? I am sick of John King. I do not watch his show.

    July 26, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. alvino

    What else is new for the party of "No!" Their antiquated look at America and lack of ideas makes them worthless.

    July 26, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. Ben

    Are their any republicans out there that can make rational arguments? Every post by them is about how Obama wants to be supreme overlord of the universe. Seriously people, what are you loonies so scared of?

    July 26, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. gl, Pittsburgh

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

    This rich fools is more worreid about private sector then American People. We get it all ready. We the people don't care what your party feel about what Public option would do to privated Health insurance. We don't need to hear from you every Sunday scaring people with your lies. GOP-RIP.

    July 26, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. emma

    Just shows these idiots are out of touch with reality. the bill will pass with or without your input. move over evil party of NAYSAYERS.

    July 26, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. alvino

    Will he and all of his repub cronies lose the millions in contributions from the pharmaceuical and health insurance companies if health care reform passes?

    So much for this slime ball doing what is good for the country.

    July 26, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. JS007

    Yeah, there is bipartisan opposition because the insurance companies own all of the GOP and a part of the Democrats. The American people finally have a friend in the White House and they need to support him by calling the members of Congress (like McConnell and the "blue dogs") who are sabotaging reform and telling them that making health care fail means the end of their term in office.

    July 26, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. Ray from Fl.

    John, The Gov runs the Post Office and you have great competition from UPS and FED EX, Two fantastic large and very profitable companies. You also have hundreds of thousands of small franchies supporting their effort and making a great living. Its dumb for my Republican friends to say we can not have competition when the Gov is involved. You have Medicare and hundreds of suplemental insurance compaines plus thousand of small business providing care supported by both Medicare and Private insurance Co. Please lets be Fair and Balanced. Thank you

    July 26, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. MaryanneAZ

    The GOP speaks with a forked tongue. They say simultaneously that we have the best health care in the world AND that we need to reform our health care system. How can both be true? The true issue is that they do not want to vote FOR anything that might help the Nation and increase President Obama's ratings. It has nothing to do with whether or not we have fair affordable and accessible health care for all Americans. Nothing. Fortunately, for the Dems, either way that this goes we will pick up seats in 2010 and 2012 as the majority of Americans wants something done yesterday. Just saying no is not going to win anyone re-election. Go Dems!!!

    July 26, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. annie s

    Of course its a non starter for the Republicans. It will actually create competition for the for-profit insurers and possibly force them to lower rates and become competitive. We wouldn't want their cash cows – the insurance industry – mad at them, would we? And for all of you people who have believed the Republican lies about a public option meaning that government would "take over" your health care, I have a great idea. Don't sign up for it.

    July 26, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Rick

    I have yet to hear, see, read, any GOP program ideas, other than to state that the DEM's are "wrong"!

    To McConnell, and other GOP party leaders, where is your proposal, documentation, counter offer, proposed legislation, new anything.
    PLEASE DO NOT wave a twelve, or twent page document stating "here it is"! WE ARE NOT THAT dumb. Besides, what did it get you last time?

    POINT TO POINT, why is your proposed program BETTER for the general public that the DEM proposal? Infighting within the DEM party probably indicates a health discussion. WHERE IS YOURS?

    Shooting from the side lines DOES NOT WORK! Fess up, present an alternative the public can and will embrace, ELSE you are just passing gas.....from where you can decide.

    July 26, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    Health care reform is a "non-starter" for the republican party. To help control for profit health insurance costs you need to do one of a number of things. Introduce non for profit competition (we don't have that now as 'competition' is similar to choosing between Verizon and ATT. This is the government plan), make all insurance companies non profit & cap salaries (would save 12% of the current cost) or goto single payer (would save 20%+ of the cost).

    July 26, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. B

    McConnell, show us your Republican plan that Americans can get behind. This person is all about partisan deadlock and nothing more!
    These people only want Obama to fail, period.


    July 26, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  23. Clay

    The republicans and the blue dog democrats are interested in one thing and one thing only: preserve the profits of the medical and insurance companies from whom they've taken "campaign contributions". If you want a list of every single politician on the take in this matter, just record all of the opposition votes and attach a name. It's as simple as that.

    July 26, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Will SouthDakota

    Mitch McConnell is a failure, his leadership is zero, he offers nothing to improve the Americans from the bottom up. same old delays, same old do nothing attitude but he sure does collect his paycheck paid for by us taxpayers and he still says NO to America. What a failure.

    July 26, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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