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. Kevin in Ohio

    "That we hold these insurance companies accountable and provide some competition. ...........

    Give me a break. There is competition and then there is UNFAIR competition. The notion that insurance companies can do whatever they darn well pelase is the biggest myth there is....they are in fact one of the most tightly regulated industries today, and are held to strict standards. And much of it is pure waste..... how many millions of dollars are passed to my insurance premiums so I can get twelve to fifteen "privacy notices" in and every year, which I just throw away?

    We need LESS government, not more. Capitalism....not socialism and unfair state-run "competition". This man is evil. Pure evil.

    August 18, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  2. Jo

    If they vote yes on a public option, a lot of these politicians won't see another term in Congress b/c the people will vote them out.

    August 18, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  3. Gary

    Their appears to be some dissension in the ranks. I thought that Obama was the great one who would bring all sides together. This is so much fun to watch he doesn't have the blue dogs on board and now for anything to happen he doesn't have the uber liberals on board. I haven't had this much fun watching politics since the Jimmy Carter era when Carter went down like a rock against Reagan and Carter was more qualified than Obama. It is almost to the point where I wonder if Obama will even win 1 state in the 2012 election. I have never seen a presidents approval rating drop so fast. What a joy to watch. With the problems that Bush had, and their were many, he looked like a genius compared to Obama. Welcome to Carter II.

    August 18, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  4. katiec

    Public option is the only solution to affordable, honorable health care. We can no longer allow big business and those who support them and their personal gains (Baucus has received $3.9 MILLION from health care entities) run, control our country and make crucial decisions for us.
    We must speak out loud and clear that politics as usual are
    unacceptable, we demand true health care reform and please,
    weigh carefully what the media headlines. CNN and others are
    so totally against acceptable health care reform and have been very
    biased in their reporting. Keep in mind, the majority of all media
    are owned by republicans.

    August 18, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  5. Wayne

    I agree that the healthcare plans before congress should contain a public option. Healthcare without a public option is no reform at all. I love these people at town hall meetings who yell, "No government interference in healthcare, but don't touch my Medicare!" It's as if when Obama was elected president, their brains broke!!! It's insane. BTW, an interesting poll was taken asking whether people believed Obama was an American citizen. A very large portion said, "No." They were then asked as follow-up question: "Is Hawaii a part of the United States? 7% said NO and 5% said they weren't sure. That's the kind of people who are causing all of these problems at town hall meetings. "They're like the crazy, loud drunk on the subway car who's causing all of the trouble."

    August 18, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  6. yuri

    We want to enjoy the tussle among liberal and conservative Dems, with conservative and liberal GOP. As long as they have their personal ideology cloudin' their closed conscience continuously, we will dub them as microcephalic imbeciles.

    August 18, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. Chris D.

    This Rep. is right, however, the senate is fickle, and DEMS must deliver on this bill. If we begin w/ a good measure of reform, then the next DEM congress and President (perhaps this one), can add to this bill in measure.......See this rep. is from NYC, and doesn't have to compromise........many others, are not so lucky.
    Like Bill Clinton said, we can't always expect everything at once.......
    Unless the left, begins to make as much noise as the right has, the President will have to compromise.......Or veto a bill.

    August 18, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. Dan

    How does congressman Weiner propose we pay for such a system? Typical of politicians from both sides of the aisle these days. We are running trillions of dollars in debt, yet both sides see no problem in continuing the spending binge. It is sad that our elected officials can't understand that debt is a bad thing. What is even sadder is that we keep electing these same people to represent us when they have proven to be miserable failures at their job. I think a great place to start in reforming Washington is to introduce term limits for the House and Senate. These people make lifelong careers out of public "service", which opens them up to corruption and a feeling that they are above the law.

    August 18, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  9. Metrice

    If there is no public option I am against it as well. Where will the reform be if the private ind is still incharge. I don't understand why dems always want to be so fair. If the Repub had the floor do you think for one second they would consider anything we had to say. They would just do what they want and not worry about dem point of view or fears. Single pay would have been the best way to go but since that was never on the table the only option is public option with out it this would all just be a dog and pony show with no substance.

    August 18, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  10. Patriot

    You go, Congressman! Hold the President accountable to the majority of the people who elected him! We voted for a public healthcare option, and if he back tracks on his campaign promises, I for one will not vote for him in 2012. I will also do whatever I can to ensure that the "Blue Dog" turncoats, who are beholden to the health insurance industry, do not get re-elected.

    August 18, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  11. Kelby In Houston, Texas

    A lot of Democrats were elected to office because of Barack Obama. Many of them rode into Washington on Obama's coat tails. They were elected to help him bring about change. Health care is at the top of the agenda and these elected officials are not following the program.
    The majority elected Democrats and now the Democrats are showing themselves to be gutless wonders.
    The majority is the people who voted you into power. The majority is not the angry mobs that you see at townhalls. When you saw long lines at election polls, were there people shouting down or carrying pistols? NO! But we do vote, we do call and email our elected reps. Don't be fooled by the astroturf

    August 18, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  12. Mark

    The Majority of Americans do not want a single payer plan. These politicians who are not listening to their constituients need to be voted out of office.

    August 18, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  13. KK

    I agree with Rep. Weiner. I saw yhim this morning on MSNBC and you are on the right road to Health Care Reform. We need public option.

    August 18, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  14. ma hennessey

    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Why do so many forget that promoting the general welfare is one of the priority tasks of the federal government – important enough to be in the preamble of the Constitution!!

    August 18, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  15. J Williamson

    Good for Cong Weiner – we didn't vote for Bush-Lite last November – we voted for real change. If this watered down (health) version were to pass then the goons and special interests would have won – yet again.

    August 18, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  16. Grace

    What greedy, selfish individuals who do not want to compromise; the people want healtchare reform WITHOUT THE PUBLIC OPTION. When Howard Dean states on his website that universal coverage and reform cannot happen without the public option, HE IS LYING. Rep. Lee says the Democrats have already made concessions by taking the single payer plan off the table, but the LIBERALS in Congress are still pushing the public option because, as CNN SENIOR ANALYST DAVID GERGEN COMMENTED LAST NIGHT OVER THE AIR THAT THE PUBLIC OPTION WILL WIPE OUT PRIVATE INSURANCE AND OPEN WIDE THE DOOR FOR THE SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM! So we now see why the libs are pushing the public option.

    Obama and the liberal Democrats are so out of touch with the general public because they do not see that we do not want rationed healthcare like Canada's and Great Britian's (which the public option would eventually turn into); IF THEY ARE IN TOUCH WITH AMERICANS, THEY WOULD TAKE THE PUBLIC OPTION OFF THE TABLE! Democrats want to grow the government bigger; Republicans want to make it BETTER.

    August 18, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. gtekam

    the majority in my city voted for Obama’s agenda. We were supporters of Edward, other candidates on the right, then hillary. We all suitched to Obama because of his promise for single payer healthcare reform.

    They usually vote republican. but for this election, we voted Democrat just because of healthcare reform. we are in florida and most people here are republicans. however, we also have the majority of bankcrupty due to health problems.

    We have a majority of uninsured and highest premiums in the nation. We just can’t continue like this, and emergency doctors are overwelmed. Mistakes in the emergency room due to lack of time and long wait in the emergency room is killing our state.

    We want single payer government option. if the Obama administration can’t deliver this, then we would vote Howard Dean or Pelosi to do it. And you know we are not loyal to any party. we are loyal to our interest. now the interest is in a public option with single payer healthcare reform

    August 18, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Mary

    Go for it Rep. Weiner! Make Obama stick to his guns. Someone has to give him a backbone. We should have elected someone who had some experience working with Congress....who could get things through. Obama is such a nice guy everyone loved him. But we don't need a nice guy who wants to please everyone as president. We need someone who angers people but gets things done. Who is not worried about making everyone happy. Just enough to pass the bill.

    August 18, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. pushpaleadholm

    Why don't the Government and the people come to a compromise and start a public health care plan and try it out for couple years and then analyse what works. We have not experienced the public health care system in America therefore we don't have a slightest idea whether it works or not. Just a thought

    August 18, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. Steve

    Whats the point in fake reform? OHHH Its the normal republican answer. Make it worse and accomplish nothing while filling the pockets of special interest groups. Do any of the politicians not get this is about the last chance both of these 2 dead party's have! Do they not get this is a new era of information and every one is sick of the politicians working for what can only be described as a rogue government that is long past time to be put back in its proper place.

    No public option DON'T BOTHER! FIRE THEM ALL AND fill the house and senate with independent freshmen representatives.

    August 18, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. Mac

    Glad to hear some congressmen still have the desire to keep the ball rolling. Single payer is decades off and frankly I wish we weren't bringing it up because its too polarizing right now, but the public option is a necessity and I fully support blowing up any legislation on health care reform that does not include it.

    August 18, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. Pat Sampson

    Way to go Mr. Weiner. There are so many of us out here that agree with you, we just don't carry guns, so no one asks for our opinion.

    August 18, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  23. Tony in Maine

    No matter what the conservatives will not vote for reform so what's needed is to twist a few arms, get to 51, and shove it down their throats.

    McConnell, Grassley Cornyn, Conrad, Baucus, and the rest of the weasels are too busy counting their tshare of the loot from Anthem et al. They won't notice anyhow.

    August 18, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  24. tom

    Thank you Rep. Weiner. That's EXACTLY what we want our representatives in Congress to say. Now, go out and start pushing back against the lies and mis-characterizations of the remainder of the health care bill perpetuated by Conservatives, Blue Dogs and supported (or at least not refuted) by the media.

    August 18, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. J.C. - Independent & Insured

    If a smaller country like France or Germany can succeed with the public plan, USA, a much larger country and population, will definitely succeed with the Public Plan.

    Any co-ops cannot succeed if the insured pool is too small. It did exist in the country, but not for long. Co-op is no substitution for the Public Plan – a Medicare-like single-payer, government-run health care system is what we must have in order to reform our health care. All the seniors and doctors I asked prefer Medicare to private insurers.

    August 18, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
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