August 2nd, 2009
10:58 AM ET
11 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. lkb

    As anyone can see from this blog....all you idiots are in favor of a bill that will further bankrupt this country and who cares about the 20% paying taxes who will carry the burden. Those 20% are not all wealthy....they are the middle class and hardwrokers. Aside from the fact that the government cannot manage successfully Medicare, you expect them to add this to their mess. Stop buying things not in your budget, don't worry about what your neighbor has and live accordingly. You'd be surprised how your life would change and not at my expense. I grew up very poor, have work ethics thanks to my parents, never expected handouts and never heard my parents whine like the people today.This country is going to h.ll in a handbasket!
    Dem=free handouts!

    August 2, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. True Alaskan

    Common sense. Bush got us into this mess by overspending. What's making the left nuts think we can get out of it by spending even more? Good grief

    August 2, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Luke

    Why do the die hard Republicans continually lie that Health care reform will "bankrupt" our country. The insurance companies are making billions of dollars for acting as paper pushers and middle men. I was just told that they won't cover a procedure to remove a simple squamous clee carcinoma. The insurance companies are all about making huge profits- they could care less about our health. Other countries have private care insured by non profit nationally backed companies They spend half per capita that we do. Why can't we have the same?

    August 2, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |

    Those who talk about how much the health care reform will cost do not stop to consider how much it will cost if we do nothing!!

    The current system gets more expensive evbery year. Soon not even the middle class will be able to afford insurance and the small busniesses that the GOP alwasys talks about will be forced to stop providing health care or go bankrupt. GREAT IDEA but that is all the GOP can copme up with.

    The cost of doing nothing will be worse than any of the bills currently being considered.

    But you won't understand the problem until you have to go to a hospital and your insurance company refuses to pay. Then you will say "WHY DIDN:T SOMEONE DO SOEMTHING"!!

    August 2, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |

    ONE BIG LIE that some tryh to spread they keep saying the FREE HEALHT CARE.


    Just like your current insurance the public options has a cost and must be paied but it could be less than what your current insurance cost is.

    But It is clear that the GOP works on the idea of " don't cnfuse me with the FACTS I have my mind MADE UP"!!!

    August 2, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. John

    McCain misses Kennedy...two for the wrecking yard. John, go home to Arizona and take your little spoiled mouth piece with you.Blah blah blah. If I didn't go to work all year....well let's see.....I'd get fired. Here's your pink slip Teddy. I wonder if Teddy would give up his health care plan for the load of crap they want to force us into. What gov. health care plan would treat Teddy's brain cancer at his age, how about none. I have no health care insurance, a big gamble for my wife and me but we'd rather have no insurance than a gov plan because i REALLY CAN'T AFFORD THAT PLAN.

    August 2, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. John're right IT WON'T BE FREE or anything close to affordable. by the way try spell check or at least a public school education

    August 2, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. RO

    Ha! At least this is the first time, since Clinton ( but was shot down quickly by the Rep and the ins industry) , that an administration is truly trying to fix this health care system... may not win "popularity"votes but this HAS to be DONE soon! Never saw any of the Repubican administration try...just all talk.. now it is time to DO something. We are in a crisis mode in this area.

    August 2, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. kishen c.rao

    This old coot does not have any kind of thinking power...he lost it long time ago when he got defeated with humiliating is truth...just ignore this dude...America benefits...

    August 2, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. John in WV

    Why talk to the republicans about health care reform when you know they are completely against it in the first place? The GOP had their chance to reform health care 8 years ago but preferred to do nothing but watch the insurance companies rake in millions while many of us were going bankrupt trying to pay for it.

    August 2, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. rosanne

    the Republicans are only willing to work together if it's their way. It's not the way America voted. We wanted change and they are doing everything they can to be destructive instead of constructive. I am disturbed when I watch the committes on C-span. The grand standing and drama is childish and shamful. Grow up Senators and Congressman. Work together and get Health care done, we are watching and waiting.

    August 2, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. Bob Bucklin

    Have we lost our moral compass? During my lifetime, over 70 years, I have seen an erosion of the philosophy that we as Americans help the less fortunate. What strikes me is that those who profess to be Christians often are those who resist helping the people who their teachings say they should help.

    August 2, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Tom

    Firstm, over 140 amendments proferred by Republicans are in the bills. Second, it is clear that for over 50 years the Republicans (backed by their big donors) have opposed any and all form of reform of the health care system in the US. Third, where was McCain's health care bill, I must have missed it. Fourth, the Republicans keep attacking a bill that has yet to be fully written or finalized for discussion. That in itself says the Republicnas are not interested in any reform of the system. There is a reason they are the party of the 21%'ers, the self proclaimed "dittoheads, the party of No, and on and on. If they would just get out of the way and let the real leaders, elected by a large majority of the voters, pass legislation that is suppoted by over 70% of the country we could move forward. They should follow Sarah's example and just quit.

    August 2, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. joe

    Why don,t you all go hame and read the thousand page report for health care and the DOCTOR be hind it. Don,t comment if you haven,t. Anyone on medicade every fiveyears Must go before and learn how to end ther life. Thats are parents Hello thats ho they get to pay off the debts. Don,t for get the children with deffects. Across the board!!! All insurance will be lowered Look at the a report under Fred Thompson the reporter Go Under

    August 2, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. T KS

    He really just faults that they have approached health care at all. The Repubs have no interest in changing anything especially not the corporate run Health Insurance pyramid scheme we currently have.

    August 2, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. Rosella Merkel

    The Blue Dogs have let the American people down. I do not want Obamas' health care program. I will vote every blue dog out and so will other American. They have Taxed us to death, no jobs, can't pay bills. Student and college grads can't pay college loans. Credit cards taking advantage of low wages, raising rates. Obama gets an (F) for everything he has touched. Black, Handsome, Great talker an (A) Him and his staff (F). Congress (F) Dems and Republics. Read the constitution, follow it. Get out of our faces. Even the non-polictics personalities are listing now. Healtcare NOT WANTED.

    August 2, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Ed Chapman

    I don't understand why we need health care reform. Just give all Americans the same plan that those in Congress have. I'm sure that you would get a bi partisian consensus and the media would have to find something else to talk about.

    August 2, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Joyce from South Carolina

    I thank the good Lord every day that John McCain is not our president............same goes for his vice presidential nominee. That would be pretty scary.

    August 2, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    I gave up wanting bipartisanship the month after the election. The GOP is the party of no ideas, no solutions, and no credibility. Why should we listen to them? They've proven time and again just how uncooperative they are willing to become to satisfy their ever decreasing base of voters.

    When no one other than this base listens or take their ideals seriously, the GOPers only recoarse is to collectively whine and cry about being "left out" of the decisions being made.

    Why coddle the 22%? This group is certainly not helping to broaden the GOP appeal and is only creating more agnst. I say cut them all loose and start rebuilding the party. Sooner rather than later.

    August 2, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. John

    On another note Sen. Dodd will be undergoing prostrate cancer treatment soon....hey Dodd care to trade you congressional plan for the "public option".

    August 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Smiff

    If you think any repub or democrat has the best interests of our people at heart you are as crazy as you look. NOT ONE person from Oblama down gives a rats fluffy butt about your precious health. Its either whats in it for them or their adoring minions. GET REAL PEOPLE!!! Gushing about how special one is and wringing your hands over the meanies on the other side only stokes the fires of discontent. HOW ABOUT YOU VOTE ALL OF THEM OUT AND START OVER. Havent we had enough of govment that panders to SPECIAL CASE PEOPLE WHILE THE REST OF US WORKING STIFFS PAY THEIR WAY!!!! Ask your self the old question "WHO LOVES YOU BABY?" If you think dems who can pass ANY LEGISLATION THEY WANT.......just put the binky back in your pie hole and wait for your something for nothing!!! GOT BRAINS????

    August 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Joe in KY

    So. I've read all the tripe on here, but no response from the liberals as to how you think the gov can pull this off when they can't even get Medicare and VA right?

    August 2, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. JDB

    I don't really place much value in what mccain says. He's been a blatant obstructionist. He went back on his word (again) and isn't working with the president as he said he would. Party first, right john.

    August 2, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |

    John McCain; your five minutes of glory has passed. You are no longer relevant and your poinions are as old as your scars.

    You should remember your back peddeling on immigration that caused the Hispanics to run away like they saw fire.

    Your picked Palin and caused many Republicans to change party. I wonder why anyone with sound mind wants to listen to you.

    You should be happy you still have your Seante seat but that may not be the case soon. Ride into the Sunset champ!

    August 2, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Cynthia

    Thanks but no thanks john mccain if the dems need any advice from you then you would have been in the whitehouse instead the other way around. Please keep your lousy advice to yourself.

    August 2, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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