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. grace kesslick

    Thank heavens for Rep Wiener. At last, a Democrat with the courage to speak up–and act like a Democrat–in defense of the public health insurance option. And I totally agree that the best option is "Medicare for all"! Why not? Let the insurance companies make their profits on covering the 20% to 30% not covered by Medicare. Once everyone is paying into the Medicare system at the same rate, the premiums paid by the young and healthy will balance the cost of treating those who are elderly and sickly and will help to sure up the future of the system.
    The Democrats and President Obama have this one chance to rescue Medicare and insure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. Let's stop the bickering and get this done now!

    August 18, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  2. Audra Wasillid

    The democrats are in a bad spot. They are pushing a socialist bill in a country that is not socialist. Goodness, but don't we hope this whole thing will go away! We don't need those bumblers in DC directing the healthcare of the USA, no we don't.

    August 18, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  3. Dave

    Amen. Finally a Dem who has the guts to stand up for what's right.

    August 18, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  4. Mike TX

    This is why there are Republicans – because Dems can't agree even when they own both legislative and executive branches. I will admit that it does show the breadth of the Democratic party. The Repubs should probably take note.

    Medicare for all Americans? I'm not old enough to know much about Medicare but my gut feel is that I'd rather the government let me take care of myself rather than them do it for me.

    August 18, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  5. Robert

    GOOD, way to go Congressman Weiner! Do you hear that Mr. President? The Public Option STAYS IN!

    August 18, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  6. Susan in Arkansas

    Thank you, Rep. Weiner. It's about time for some push back from the democrats in the House. This is just one of the reasons people voted for Barack Obama. It's time to move this legislation on and show our President some support. When you consider the total, real support for a public option, the number of yellers and screamers at these town hall meetings is miniscule at best. Medicare isn't going away. In fact, I wonder why expanding Medicare eligibility to uninsureds isn't part of the discussion. The system is already in place. And, if someone returns to the job market, they just switch their coverage to that of their employer. Seems this would also save a considerable amount of money, especially if Medicare Advantage is eliminated and Medicare Part D is revised, thus removing the ridiculously large payments to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

    August 18, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  7. John K

    The best option is obviously single-payer. I am Canadian, living in the US. In my life, I have lived in the US a total of over 9 years. There is no doubt that the arguments against a public health care option are BOGUS. The lines are no longer, the care is as good, and people don't go bankrupt over having surgery.

    August 18, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. Alex

    Let' see – a government run auto industry, a government run banking industry and now a government run health plan? Sounds like nothing short of SOCIALISM!!!!

    August 18, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  9. FreeNLovIt - Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed (1SPMI) of the gospel, for it is (3SPAI) the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (PAPMSD), to the Jew first & also to the Greek

    Be strong, be brave. Do the right thing. We need to change, America. Why dont you get it? It's a work-in-progress process.

    August 18, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  10. Jason

    Oh well, this moron can be voted out at the next election.

    Evidently this guy has no clue how much of a mess Medicare is and how it limit choices but then he gets the best insurance since he is a memeber of Congress so he could care less.

    August 18, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  11. Gary

    Here, here. The President and Democratic legislature were sent to Washington fix health care. A public option will drive down cost and force insurance companies to stop railroading those in its plans. Without a public option citizens will continue feeding the Big Insurance.

    August 18, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  12. serephine

    Good for him! At least one DEM has a brain. He sure stands out in the Obozo crowd.

    August 18, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  13. JLS

    This is a guy who didn't even have the heart to run against Bloomberg for mayor of NY. I wouldn't put much into anything he says.

    August 18, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  14. Wake Up

    What a weiner. This guy has been and always has been a left wing socialist nut. It's scary to see there is a further left than Obama. What a mess!

    August 18, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  15. Ruth

    YES, We need the public option. P L E A S E don't let them drop it.

    August 18, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  16. Dave

    It should now be crystal clear for America, liberal Dem's DO NOT WANT Health Insurance reform, all they want is a Government run Health Care system and one ONLY run by the Government – that's it.

    Pre-existing conditions and making inurance more portable, Liberal Dem's don't care about passing legislation to fix either of these concerns and it's all in the wide open for America to see.

    August 18, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  17. Andrew Zaplatynsky

    Either this legislation is debated and voted on in bite size pieces or it has NO CHANCE of passing. Rep. Weiner lives in some alternate universe, along wiht Nancy Pelosi.

    August 18, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  18. Obama - NOPE

    Mandated health coverage for a minority = diminished health care for the majority.

    August 18, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  19. Jorge

    I fully agree with the congressman Wiener. The health care industry has had its hands in the cookie jar for too long and now the time has come for real change, not esoteric solutions that might sound nice, but are nothing more that same ol, same ol'. The, supposedly, "best medical care in the world" is just a slogan, and if you don't believe, ask the residents of L.A. that had to be on line for 8 days to get treatment for old problems that if we continue on the same path as now, things will go from bad to worse. 50 million of un-insured people is nothing to sneeze about it and we fail to act, next time that other politician takes on a health insurance program, I'll predict 100 million and possibly a revolution. "Freedon is just another word for nothing left to lose".

    August 18, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  20. No Incumbents 2010

    Instead of attacking Obama, Weiner should be attacking the opponents of any reform.

    August 18, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  21. Peoples Voice

    It would be a waste of time to go through all this without a public option.

    Is there any doubt that big business is in complete control of this country?

    August 18, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  22. Renee

    If you have friends living in Canada ask them how a government run health care plan works. It doesn't! If you are elderly and have to endure the long wait and red tape of a government program it may be too late by the time you finally "make it to the front of the line". All of this government regulation of our health care will lead to misery for the masses not help. We need to wake up and see just where this slippery slope will really lead.

    August 18, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  23. dennis

    We americans as a whole are screwed.

    August 18, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  24. Sam Sixpack

    Without public insurance, there is nothing left in this bill for us "commoners."

    What is in store for us is the Independent Medicare Advisory Council. This council is designed to balance the Medicare budget by deciding what is and isn't medically necessary. It hasn’t been added to the “reform” bill yet, but it will be slipped in somewhere at the last minute. You can read all about it on the White House’s website.

    As Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama's Special Advisor for Health Policy, puts it, "services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia." This kind of thinking will, indeed, “balance the budget.”

    Also, the provision requiring Americans to pay all they can "afford" to big, fat, rich insurance executives will, undoubtedly, remain intact.

    You get less than nothing from this "reform."

    August 18, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  25. jo

    WE THE PEOPLE have spoken! No public option... Where do you get off going against what we have said? Remember you as well as all public SERVANTS, do as we want, NOT as you please!!! For some reason, you people have forgotten that!

    August 18, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
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