August 18th, 2009
12:14 PM ET
12 years ago

House Democrat: Health care bill in doubt without public plan

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Rep. Anthony Weiner said Monday that President Obama will have a 'very difficult' time getting a health care bill passed without a public option."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - A liberal Democrat in Congress told CNN Monday that President Obama will have a difficult time pushing his health care plan through the House if a government-run insurance program isn't included in the legislation.

Asked if he would vote against a final House bill that doesn't include a so-called public option, Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that House Democrats "wouldn't even bring it to the floor."

"In the House of Representatives, without a strong public plan, even stronger than the one we reported out of committee, I think it would have a very difficult time getting 218 votes," Weiner said.

"Look, the president has to lead on this, and he has to say very clearly a public option is important," Weiner said. "That we hold these insurance companies accountable and provide some competition. I would love to be the one carrying the ball for him, but unless he says a public option is the way to go, I'm going to be a No [vote], and so are a lot of people."

Weiner maintained that the "best" health care option would be "a single-payer plan, like Medicare for all Americans."

Filed under: Anthony Weiner • Health care • President Obama
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. ontario

    about time somebody starts to fight back against greed

    August 18, 2009 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  2. linda in AR

    Without a "public option" this is NO health care reform. I support Rep. Weiner up to and including the single payer plan.

    Without a "public option" the changes amount to a subsidy, carte blanche gift for the Insurance Industry and lawyers to figure out all the loop holes to continue delay, deny, defend. It is not even an effective health insurance reform bill.

    August 18, 2009 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  3. Tabeth

    We reached to the moon.
    we powerful military powers
    we invented automobile
    But no health care for its people!


    August 18, 2009 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  4. No Underwriters

    This guy at least has the guts to stand up and state the obvious. Without a public option, any meaningful reform of health care is dead.

    August 18, 2009 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  5. Tabeth

    We reached to the moon.
    we have powerful military powers
    we invented automobile
    But no health care for its people!


    August 18, 2009 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  6. Tom

    I'm an Obama supporter, but this guy is right. The public option works in countries around the world. We already have rationing–by insurance companies who are focused on making a buck. Let's give the public option its due. Countries where it has been implemented never go back–the people there wouldn't hear of it, because they know they will get care they need regardless of the cost. It's the only thing that makes sense.

    August 18, 2009 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  7. anti-liberal

    weiner is a fringe nut from NY who would destroy our healthcare system and its 2.5 million jobs. no one should take him seriously.

    August 18, 2009 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  8. Denise P Quinton

    Its about time one intelligent Democrat has the courage to stand up and speak for the majority of American citizens who do not want government controlled healthcare! As a lifelong Democrat, I am embarassed to say I am appalled at their intentions of proceeding, regardless of the will of the people, (of course I did not vote for Obama), precisely because I think he wants a socialist governement involved with all aspects of our lives.....I am approaching retirement age and will never even have the opportuntiy to enjoy life as my parents did, can you imagine what will happen to my grandchildren.
    Healthcare reform decisions must be handled by private insurance initiatives, and if Obama thinks his plan is so wonderful why doesnt he and his DNC members also want this plan of coverage?

    August 18, 2009 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  9. ran

    A single payer non-profit system is the only true way to provide affordable health care. Your money would go toward you health not toward multimillion $ salaries/bonuses for executives or dividends for shareholders or insurance companies' private jets.

    Non-profit is not a government run. You or your employer would still pay premiums, just your money would go toward health not toward unnecessary overhead which means your get lower premiums or more coverage.

    So people open your eyes and ears and demand a single payer non-profit.

    August 18, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  10. Susan

    I think the President has to be very clear on what needs to be in this bill, and be very clear with the Democratic leaders, and follow through! Get it done.
    And what is with these nut jobs bringing weapons, and now automatic weapons, to events? I am so glad that I am not in one of these idiotic 'open carry' states. I don't care what the 2nd amendment says: a loaded gun in a public event is a disaster waiting to happen. The Republicans are begging the rest of us to stand up and deny them their right to act like bullies...the second someone is shot, their right to act like Al Capone will go away. Do they think the picture of a guy with a big gun shouting anti-Presidential crap endears them to anyone but the Palin fringe out there? They scare me, and I vote too.

    August 18, 2009 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  11. Joe E.

    AMEN! Say it brother!

    August 18, 2009 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  12. Moroni

    I too think that a public plan would be the best way to go. It would be the best way to bring competition into the system and force private insurers to rework their current systems. The rate at which healthcare costs are climbing is out of control and has been so for some time.

    True that a public option is going to cost a lot of money initially, but think of it as an investment. You buy a home or a new efficient car with a big payment up front and then as time goes on that investment pays you back. The longer we wait, the more that up front cost is going to rise.

    August 18, 2009 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  13. jaye

    The republican Nazi's and their assault weapons at healthcare town hall meetings is about the worst thing I've ever heard.
    What has happened to our country? I'm sickened by these lowlife republicans and their tactics.
    And WHY isn't CNN reporting the outrage against these weapons at townhalls? Is CNN afraid of the republican Nazis???
    Shame on the media and our country for letting these ignorant republicans get away with their mob scenes and their despicable behavior.
    Glenn Beck, Shawn Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'reilly are trying to further ruin our country and our President – and all the while CNN just sits back and gleefully watches it happen.

    August 18, 2009 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  14. Jessica

    I am a liberal democrat who Voted for Obama, and supports his effort for Health Care Reform...but i can't for the life of me grasp where these liberal democrats in congress think or even believe that WE will not stand for reform that doesnt provide a public option.

    In my opinion, a Public Option should be the LAST OPTION...if we can achieve the same results for the american public, without a medicare type program...that is ideal.

    Where is the creativity? Are there seriously ZERO existing insurance companies willing to band together, become non-profit and work WITH the government to provide a REAL COMPETITIVE option to rival FOR-PROFIT health care?

    We want reform, however, it does not REQUIRE a public option.

    August 18, 2009 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  15. jim

    Finally, a rift that may stop all this socialistic "reform" nonsense. Now if someone can tie his hands on other parts of his agenda, the country may survive Obama long enough to get him out of office.

    August 18, 2009 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  16. Jim, Honolulu

    As a Republican, I am again dismayed that my party continues to thwart efforts to reform a health system that has failed tens of millions of Americans. I know my party is in the pocket of the insurance companies, but doing what's right is right. Poll after poll show that, despite the loud vile incorrect spoutings of the far-right protesters at town meetings, a large majority of Americans favor strong reform. For goodness sake, pass this public option (the only thing that will make it REAL reform) and let's be done with it. Funny how the protesters don't oppose the public option medical care we already have – MEDICARE!

    August 18, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  17. wikwox

    I agree, public option or forget it. Dems' have let the Republicans call the shots, what a foolish thing to do. Put up a well thought out bill and stick with it, no matter whats in it the Republicans will not back it. It's the Medicare fight all over again, and yet it passed without a single Republican vote.

    August 18, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  18. Jean (Florida)

    It's time for democrats to show that they can be trusted with a power given to them by democrats and independents and not republicans. It's good to open up for debate with a spirit of bipartisan, however protesters who come to the townhall meetings, yelling and shouting, are republicans. They are sent directly by the republican party to "just say no" and boycott the debate on health care reform. They don't go to the meetings to listen, share their ideas, or learn something they did not before. They have their own agenda, republican agenda. Democrats don't need to listen to them. These republicans will never vote for a democrat no matter what you explain to them.

    How cynical is that: One republican introduced the bill talking on end of life conselling for old people that democrats agreed on in a spirit of bipartisan. How come democrats feel they have to defend it while republicans pretend they have nothing to do with it. Republicans have to defend it now democrats. We should name the republican congressman and refer all the questions back to him.

    August 18, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  19. John Juraschek

    Thank God for the courage of Congressman Weiner and his fellow Democrats in the House!! That we have allowed the health care debate in this country to descend to the level of hateful fear mongering, lies and political cowardice is beyond belief. President Obama needs to re-read Profiles In Courage!!!

    August 18, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  20. Joyce in South Carolina

    The insurance companies need this or they will never have anything to compete with. We desperately need a Public Option for them to bring any of their costs down. I think all Democrats, even "Blue Dogs" should stand up to the Republicans on this.

    I have figured out how to fix Medicare...................Everyone who states "Keep the government out of my healthcare", doesn't get Medicare when they are 65.

    August 18, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  21. Doug, Seattle, WA

    Congressmen Weiner and other house democrats are to be applauded for taking a hard stand on the public option issue! The health care delivery system in this country is obviously unfair and will bankrupt us if something isn't done now!!!

    I hate to think of the political fallout that will occurr if democrats capitulate to the extremists on this issue!!!!

    August 18, 2009 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  22. Physicist

    A single-payer system... one step close to being completely controlled by Big Brother. Just the way the socialists want it...

    August 18, 2009 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  23. What's this? A Democrat?

    Thank you Mr. Weiner for being an actual Democrat. The citizens of this country didn't elect Democrats by an overwhelming margin in 2008 so that they could all get to Congress and start making concessions to the Republicans before they even asked for them. News flash – Republicans are not going to vote for the health care bill no matter what important legislation is dropped from it. Congress didn't offer us a national health system, they didn't offer us a single payer system – the public option is the only real reform left in this bill and I'm glad to see someone standing up for it.

    August 18, 2009 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  24. Artemisios

    There will be no public plan because Congress is too corrupted by insurance company bribes (a.k.a. campaign contributions). This is the very model of a Corporate State (look it up, see where it comes from and how exactly we fit the description), and nothing will stop it until the corporatives have drained the last cent out of it and moved to the Bahamas.

    August 18, 2009 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  25. carlo

    Anyone want to bet that, regardless of whether the bill includes a public option or not, Republicans still won't vote for it? They don't want any reform, as is evidenced by their years in the majority and never making one attempt themselves to reform it.

    August 18, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
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