August 2nd, 2009
10:58 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain faults how Dems have approached health care reform

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. John McCain has some advice for Democrats: have a “true sit-down” with Republicans on health care reform legislation.

“Well, first of all, unfortunately, there was no input by Republicans in the writing of the bill,” McCain said of the version of the legislation that came out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “It was all a Democrat proposal. That’s not the way you want to begin if you’re really interested in a true bipartisan result.”

“It's got to be a true sit-down,” McCain added. “OK, what are you going to concede … how we can come together? Not: here's the plan, how can we fix it so it satisfies enough of you to call it ‘bipartisan?’

“That's a huge difference.”

Saying President Obama needs to be more specific about the reform proposals he favors, McCain also faulted how his former rival is handling health care reform.

“The president has laid out some ideas,” McCain said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “But I think the president has got to be more specific when we come down to exactly what these proposals are.

“And I don't think he's done that.

“I think they may have over learned the lesson of the Clinton proposal in '93, McCain added, “where they were totally specific proposals. Now there's not enough.”

Despite his criticism for the way Democrats are handling health care reform, McCain did express affection for one colleague on the other side of the aisle.

“Oh, yes,” McCain said when asked whether Sen. Ted Kennedy presence was missed in the health care debate on Capitol Hill.

“Senator Kennedy is an institution around here that is unique,” McCain told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “and there's no such thing as a senator who's irreplaceable.

“There's no one who comes as close to that word as Ted Kennedy. And we are philosophically opposed, but I have grown, over the years, to have the highest respect and affection.”

Kennedy, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee has been absent for most of the 111th Congress because he is battling cancer. In his absence, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd largely took over responsibility for shepherding health care reform legislation through that committee, on which McCain also sits along with Dodd and Kennedy.

Filed under: Health care • John McCain • State of the Union
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. evman


    August 2, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. mark fro dover

    How can it be bipartisan when republicans offer no ideas and simply walk away from the table ie orrin hatchet

    August 2, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. jacob az

    The loyal GOP is doing everything they can to scare the American middle class. I have never heard so many lies told by Rethuglicans over decent health care for all of us.

    They sound like they are all foreigners from some hostile country. They don't sound like they are Americans. They act like suicide bombers.

    The Rethuglicans no longer have America's our best interest at heart.

    Is it time to resurrect the House committee on unamerican activities?

    August 2, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  4. Alan

    Its easy to be a Monday morning quarterback.

    August 2, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Larry

    John ... your a JOKE

    Like all your Republican buddies ... all mouth ... no action


    August 2, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. Never Repub again

    McBush would have given the Insurance Co's more power to charge us more and give us less for it. If we are so screwed with Obama; what would we be with McBush? .................Attacked from inside again.

    August 2, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. Independent

    Senator McCain, why don't you give up your Insurance that we pay for????? I have no Insurance, can't afford $600-$800 a month...I know you can...

    Why don't you put a bill before the Congress that after all Congress people retire or are voted out no longer get Insurance coverage and paid for by the people.????

    As I read this, I'm still wondering like some of the others, where is or are your ideas to make this work, I just seen NONE.....

    August 2, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Clint Lynnwood Wa.

    To Crash & Burn, and the Party of NO.

    Bipartisan does not mean, OUR WAY OR NO WAY.

    August 2, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |

    The economy is just now showing some signs of improvment. The fact that it is has the GOP running scared. So thye are foced to TELL LIES to try to scare their base into actions that are counter to their own best interests. Health Care is for EVERYONE and the lies told by the GOP are a new LOW for even them. But the GOP had over 8 years to do something for heaqlth care and did nothing so now they must prevent a BLACK MAN from shoing them up

    August 2, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. chubby

    The Republicans have repeatedly put forth options for Health Care but the liberal democrats(pelosi)will not allow it to come to the front and have a vote on it because it is not government run. If you think the government can run health care check out medicate and the VA, both run by the government and both screwed up. How the change working out for you so far? Not good I bet.

    August 2, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. Burnsville, MN

    Why is John King still there?

    August 2, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. laura

    McCain has great health insurance.......he doesn't have an approach at all....nitwit!

    August 2, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. McCain is a hypocrite

    McCain need to look at his party when he's placing blame. From the moment Obama took office Republicans goal was to stop his policies good or bad.............they made no distinction. So, McCain please stop the nonsense. Republicans are after Obama and in doing so put the need of Americans on the back burner. Most of them (including McCain) are hoping they can really do damage to this administration at whatever costs. So, spare me the concern and look in the mirror if there is no cooperation in congress senator.

    August 2, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. pt

    People, learn the truth. Republicans were not wanted, token invited, and slammed aside. From the very beginning, Pelosi snidely stated they did not need Repbulicans. These Democrats deserve all they wanted and demanded. I want true Democrats who actually look out for the people and not their own power, money, and ego. Unfortunately, I think that will not happen until the people rise up against them.

    August 2, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. Allison

    Notice John McCain STILL has no answers and no solutions.....and he thought he could be President...ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    August 2, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Allison

    Now, John thinks he has all the answers....he didn't have any last elections. Get a grip McCain, you bombed!

    August 2, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. roger

    For someone who has been on the gov't free health care, as a mil. dependant, ret. navy, and senator, McCain doesn't have any experience to qualify him to judge a health care program! His method would be to retreat to one of his many homes and ignore the problem, hoping it would go away. Talk about hypocracy!

    August 2, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. tigerakabj

    They had 8 years and did nothing.

    They sure can drum up enough money to go to war and install missile defense Cold-war systems, but healthcare for all Americans?
    Nah, that's socialist/marxist/communist stuff. After all, we commoners shouldn't have the same medical coverage our congressman have (paid for by our tax dollars).

    Obama and the Democrats need to do like FDR and the democrats of his time, and get on with helping the American people out of the ditch. FDR passed Social Security and it has been one of the most successful pieces of legislation ever passed. LBJ passed Medicare, and seniors enjoy it immensely.

    Lastly, Obama needs to release more information about the last 8 years (torture, war crimes, etc) after the healthcare is passed to put the GOP out of existence for good. They are of no use to America except pain. The last 8 years proved that.

    August 2, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  19. pt

    Ex-president Clinton ensured military retirees paid for their health insurance. It is not cheap nor free, but has wait times, denials of service, limited services, and rationings. Also, they must pay full price for medicines/supplements their doctors say they need but the insurance does not cover. Ask the retirees with serious health issues!

    August 2, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. Frank

    Why should Democrats "sit down" with insurance company shills?

    August 2, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  21. Steve-O

    If McCain and his party have such good ideas about health care reform, why didn't they propose something, anything, when they controlled congress for 12 years? The only things McCain and the GOP did with health care reform was kill it, blame everything on the lawyers and watch costs rise exponentially. Now they complain that they aren't involved? The only agenda the GOP has with health care is to finger point and bemoan how the media, the lawyers, the everyone else is why costs are going up.

    August 2, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. chubby

    It seems the liberals are the only ones wanting free health care because it will be free to them because usually they are to lazy to work and obtain their own. They complain they cannot work because of their bad back but the bad back is from carrying around their lazy rear end.

    August 2, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. matt

    i marvel at you loonies who can somehow blame the republicans for not getting health care pass when democrats have total control of washington and can pass anything they want. seriously, how is it the republicans holding this up??? the problem is it's a bad bill. why do we need to re-structure in one fell swoop 20% of the amercian economy...where 3/4 of the people like the health care they have. How can we cover 50 million more people by spending less and having better care? we can't...all of his goals are inconsistent with one another. has anyone thought fixing some of the problems in the current system before letting the government run the whole thing? show me you can reform medicare first and then maybe i'd let government run some of healthcare. telling me the governement plan will be like medicare and then saying there is $300 billion of savings from medicare by preventing fraud doesnt make me want to hand the system over to the feds.

    August 2, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Zero.

    Too many millions of people, and not enough –
    millions of nickles in the Pot...

    August 2, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. Luke

    John McCain has had the public option his entire life- but obviously it is too good for the rest of us. He is now a spokesman for the insurance companies and big pharma. Please go home to one of your numerous homes, old man, and let America have the health care that the rest of the civilized world has. Forty five million of us without health insurance? What a disgrace. McCain you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Vietnam Veteran

    August 2, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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