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. Ray McEntire

    I also think that a single-pay system is what is needed. I have insurance but due to the cost of the premium with co-pay and deductables I have a hard time finding the means to go to a doctor much less go into the hospital. This current system with insurance driving the policy is only good for a very few. My wife had a hart attack this year and even with insurance coverage it still cost almost two thousand out of pocket for the 4 days in the hospital with follow up visits. What little we had saved is now gone. After this year the coverage that we have will no longer be available. The new will pay even less and cost more.

    August 18, 2009 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  2. Duck Fallas

    Amen, brother. A Democrat with guts.

    If a public option doesn't pass, then Medicare should be repealed immediately.

    August 18, 2009 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  3. NJvoter

    Thank you Rep. Weiner.

    August 18, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  4. Sam

    can someone smart explain to me how without a public option, status quo of today would be changing?

    August 18, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  5. Willy Brown

    Buh bye democrats in Congress starting in 2010.

    August 18, 2009 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  6. Pa Santigie

    Rep. Weiner is correct, what sort of reform is it if the public option is removed. The last election was a vote to move the country from the direction of excessive greed to a more humane one, if this fails then nothing else the president does matters....I voted for him for Iraq, Health care, Economy and to heck with bipartisanship. When the GOP had a shot at health reform they made the Pharmaceuticals very wealthy, when they had to fix the economy, they bailed out the Bankers and investors.

    August 18, 2009 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  7. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Well, duh. Why are we even discussing NOT having a public option?

    August 18, 2009 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  8. Greg Moore

    Way to go Rep. Weiner,
    I fully agree with you. A plan that does not include the public option is a plan for the insurance companies not the citizens. Obama needs to lead better and be clear about it.

    August 18, 2009 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  9. Yahbut

    I wonder if Mr. Weiner has been watching what has been happening around the country at the town hall meetings?

    The United States does not want a completely government run health system.

    Apparently he has not read that Canada's equivalent to the AMA is beginning to admit that they have a real bad problem with their health carfe system. Why do we want something like that?

    Maybe, if a so-called health reform bill goes through somebody could sneak term limits into it. This is when congress is through debating (I believe that is what THEY call it) the bill and after it is in committee and out of the public eye.

    It is amazing how these people in congress seem to live in out-of-space when they have been in congress for a while.

    I wonder if they even realize that they work for us and that we do not work for them.

    August 18, 2009 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  10. Kevin in Ohio

    This demonstrates just how vindictive and evil the left-wing forces in our government are..... a "my way or nothing" attitude. True Americans need to stand together and recognize what these people have done to our country the last 40 years.... and vote them out. Liberalism and Socialism must be rejected if this country is to survive.

    August 18, 2009 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  11. Teschman

    I agree with the congressman. We need a strong public option to bring competition and health insurance costs. I read a 2006 acturarial report that illustrated the differences between admin costs between Medicare and private insurance companies. Medicare is 3% compared to 17% for the private companies. 12 billion in annual profits, CEOs bringing down 25 million a year in salary. Some walking away with a billion dollars when they cash in their options.
    That's a start. We also need to look at Tort reform and comparative analysis of treatments. Why not just expand Medicare which is already in place and sell policies to the public. It would cost less to start up than the 10 billion proposed for Co-ops. I hope that President Obama is just playing Bait and switch with the right to take off the heat the tea baggers have succeeded in bringing to the debate thanks to a main stream media's obsession with the salacious versus the important facts. One last point regarding the rights argument against letting the doctors, patient and families make decisions on end of life issues. Terry Schiavo and her husband, what total hypocrisy.

    August 18, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  12. dark side

    Oh, so now its "our reform plan or no reform plan at all"

    Democrat or Republican, you're all a bunch of babies

    August 18, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  13. R in Maine

    People feel justified when they can mistreat others, prevent poor people from getting medical treatment, especially when those poor people are black, Hispanic, or women. The idea that we are Christian good people is ludicrous. We are a hateful, hating people and we want to keep it that way.

    August 18, 2009 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  14. Rachell

    Good! I'm glad the liberal wing is sticking to their guns! We NEED a public option. Democrats were elected as a majority in the house and senate as well as the white house for a REASON. America moved in a much more liberal direcation and we expect our elected reps. to make good on their promises!

    August 18, 2009 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  15. Jeff of Peoria

    These liberals have NO IDEA what made America great and it wasn't giving the house away. BUSINESS is what pays taxes not government programs

    August 18, 2009 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  16. Terry from Texas

    Every time the health insurance companies bang the gong, 200 Conservatives show up to protest the fact that their government is trying to give more Americans access to health care. These Conservatives seem oblivious to the fact that their leadership is treating them like fools, lying to them (Death Panels!!!???, Rationed Care???!!! Socialism!!!???).

    These ordinary Conservatives are also oblivious to the fact that their leadership, when in power, would pass laws that will cut their wages and reduce their benefits, so we can compete with the Chinese and Latin American laborers in the glorious new global economy into which they have led us.

    August 18, 2009 08:49 am at 8:49 am |

    If these guys continue to try and lead this country down the path to socialism/communism, than we will just have to stop it the old fashioned way. The only way they seem to understand...force! We are not a people prone to take things lying down and they seem also to have a problem telling the truth about anything. Wake up America!! Bring out the pitchforks along with some tar and feathers and watch them run for the hills!

    August 18, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  18. tony

    Will our senators and members of congress share this same MEDICARE plan or will they have the same elite private health care plan they have now?

    August 18, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  19. Kelly from Buffalo

    I agree with the power of a single-payer plan. To me, basic health care should be like basic education – free and accessible to all. However, I don't agree with the Democrats all or nothing approach to passing this bill. Something would be better than nothing, at least it would get reform moving in the right direction. Otherwise, we are back where we were in the Clinton administration. It took 15 years to get any meaningful debate going again, let's not lose this momentum

    August 18, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  20. Joe Six

    Why would someone who cares more about being a hockey goalie be considered a "key" Representative?

    August 18, 2009 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  21. Tim, San Diego CA

    My understanding is that the Medicare program is insolvent and no one seems to have a plan on how it's going to be funded in the future. This public option will basically be an expansion of Medicare. It seems pretty obvious why people would be skeptical of the government's ability to effectively and efficiently implement and manage this bigger health care program when they've proven themselves to be inept when it comes to Medicare.

    I'm hearing that Medicare recipients are fairly satisfied with the program. They're ignoring the fact that it's an unsustainable house of cards. Let's wait 10 years and ask these people again how they feel about Medicare.

    I agree that the health care system in this country is broken but that's primarily due to soaring costs. To provide universal coverage before you've tackled this cost issue will result in throwing fuel on the fire. And I don't believe that a government that caters to special interests will actually be able to reign in these costs. Keep in mind that one person's waste is another person's income so it comes down to which person/group has the strongest lobbyists in DC.

    August 18, 2009 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  22. Humble American

    Representative Weiner:

    If you think and earnestly believe that the best health care option would be a single-payer plan, why not be a leader, a good leader, and stick to the plan?

    Liberals like me who voted for Barack Obama, supported him, and worked dilingently for his election, did so believing that this would be the way to go. Come on, Rep. Weiner, take the lead and get the votes, not only for us, but for the good of the country. I, for one, will be very dissapointed not only in you, but also in Obama, for not being able to get this done the right way. (or should I say the "left way")

    August 18, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  23. Rosa

    I think this guy is a straight shooter. And I don't feel that way about 99% of all politicians. The media should give him more coverage.

    August 18, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  24. Fed Up

    Good. That takes care of that problem. We just saved a bunch of tax money.

    August 18, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  25. Edward Ryan

    Come on Americans, lets have a public option or a single payer system. Lets show the rest of the industrial nations that USA does care about its citizens.

    Lets get out of the dark ages!

    Without true health care reform, this country will go broke.

    August 18, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
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