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. Dewey

    See, even a Weiner is smarter than the President!

    August 18, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. gtekam

    No single payer public option, my next vote goes for anyone who would champion the cause now out with me in the townhalls, streets, online, on tv.....

    If you want to be our next president, just champion the single payer healthcare reform and make it pass. Who ever you are, I would vote for you as the next president.

    August 18, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. Chipster

    Without a public plan, there really is no reason to proceed with health care reform because that removes "reform" from the plan. The Co-op plan is simply another private insurance option that will work great for people who can already afford insurance. It does nothing to provide insurance for the 47 million Americans who cannot afford it. It also does nothing to reduce the drain on our economy because taxpayers will continue to pay exorbitant costs for emergency care for the uninsured. Offering preventive care is needed to stop the increasing cost of emergency care. Taxpayers pay for that and it's killing us.

    With all the layoffs and closing of businesses, more and more people are finding themselves without health coverage. Who can afford Cobra when you're out of work? Insurance companies are increasing rates by 50-90%! More businesses are going to have to drop coverage or charge employees more than they can afford.

    This simply is not sustainable.

    August 18, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. Sam Sixpack

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

    Medicare has been very good at funneling billions and billions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies without the help of private insurance companies.

    Under Bush, private insurance was given some of Big Pharma's Medicare "pie." Big Pharma has just been trying to get their pie back.

    The only thing in this "reform" for you and me is the new requirement that Americans give as much as they can “afford” to big, fat, greedy, rich insurance executives.

    August 18, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  5. phyllis

    I agree with Rep. Weiner on this, we need a public plan also, if we don't have a public plan, we might as well leave things the way they are, which is really bad, but if we let the republican right defeat us on this, we can all get in line to go to poor house, because of medical bills, and insurance cost, the bad guys will win. So please everyone who wants things to be better for everyone, please keep fighting, we can't give up, its our health and our children health. thank you

    August 18, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. kyle from ohio

    It does not matter either party of congress saying Obama Health care plan; Congress do your Job; It is up to both houses of congress to create bills and work out the details, so that the president can either veto or sign a bill, Please congress take you share of the responsibility and do your job. work this out for the American people.
    both side of the debate know health care must be changed for the good of the country.

    August 18, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. worriedmom

    Heard Weiner this morning on Morning Joe and I can tell you "Weiner" is a weiner!! Definitely a typical Lib, my way or or no way!!!

    August 18, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. sms29s

    Good for him. What's the use of having the Presidency if he isn't going to govern like a Democrat?

    August 18, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. felicia

    i say let him go Mr President, he's not on our side anyway

    August 18, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. Pookie

    And the country sinks deeper into the socialist septic tank.

    August 18, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. TJ

    YES MOST AMERICANS WHAT matter what you see
    on the news...we need reforms. This is getting out of control, you see
    People with fire arms, yes I know that is their right, but does this make it right? The GOP started all of this and one day they have to pay the piper. These Town Hall meetings in not about the insurance reform or anything else. It’s about Obama being a person of color. That is a shame. No matter what he does it will never be right in some peoples eyes. President is doing his best, yes there is some thing that I don’t agree on but over all he is doing a great job. Some Americans dont what him to be successful only because of his color.
    I am a 40 year old and I can see what is really going on. Shame on America for allowing this to happen. We as a country will never be as great as we can because of all of the tension. This madness must stop. For all the older Americans that her shouting SOCIALISM don’t accept your check every month for the Government,
    You are just red necks that have a problem with people of color. Come on America . GOP is the KKK. Their pockets are line, what about yours? .

    August 18, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. Walt

    Health care is in a national crisis. We need health care insurance reform. The role of the government is to do what " the people cannot do for itself" like a national diaster. The"Public Option" is needed because of the 47 million with precondition health problems.
    Insurance company won't take the risk without raising rates or a government bailout(corprate welfare). It's better to fix the health insurance reform now or risk a total collaspe. Then we have no choice to go to a single payer health insurance plan(Medicare/ Medicaid).

    August 18, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. D. Tree

    Making the Public Option available as a choice to the rest of us, just like our Senators get, makes more sense than "co-ops."

    The Public Option is proven to be effective to bring down insurance costs.

    CNN posted a commentary today about how our health care costs are doubling every 10 years – that comes right out of the pocket of the middle class.

    So all you critics who are so concerned about Insurance Companies facing some competition and making less profits: I guess you are content to pay those profits out of YOUR pockets? You might as well raise taxes on yourself, wake up!!!

    August 18, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. rocknrolon

    Okay, are the Republican Conservative right finished running their interference? Are they finished using their huge accumulated wealth, from the Bush/Cheney/Republican controlled Congressional "no rules" years, to misinform the public with their sweeping propaganda campaigns? Is the huge, self-centered Private Health Insurance industry that has failed America, but has managed to accumulate massive healthcare dollars and reward their upper managment with huge bonuses, done yet? No one can be surprised that this type of attack by private interests would happen. The facts remain that in the US our Healthcare System is the most expensive in the world, but certainly not the best. And certainly, 50 million uninsured and 150 million undersinsured, will continue to suffer, while the Insurance CEO's continue to take their huge cuts. Another 150 million underinsured will continue to be bankrupted by the system as they try in vain to save loved ones lives. WE NEED A PUBLIC OPTION AND HEALTHCARE REFORM ... YESTERDAY!!!

    August 18, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Glenn; Detroit, MI

    I agree, without a public option on the table it's just more of the same. The insurance lobby is NEVER going to allow a public option, so this pipe dream of healthcare reform is pretty much dead on arrival. It's time for the president to either "Man Up" and say there will be a public option, or let this thing go by the wayside as another broken campaign promise.

    August 18, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    A public option is very important.
    A public option is very IMPORTANT!
    A public option is VERY important!
    A public option IS very important!

    If there is no public option, Big Insurance will say the words and do NOTHING.
    If we really want a different world, we have to MAKE it... No self serving, self righteous, self absorbed, self "respecting," greedy "capitalist" will give up profits unless they have no choice, and they will not worry a bit about the uninsured, the under insured or those with pre existing conditions.

    August 18, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |




    August 18, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  18. RI Moderate

    Hmmm – a disconnect between the (very) left congress and the center-right electorate....quel surprise.

    August 18, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. David Mendoza

    Thanks to Rep. Weiner for his strong support of a public health care option. I support Obama but I agree that he must take a stronger stand on this issue. It is a core issue from his campaign and I don't know why he lets his advisors stay on the periphery - although he seems to be stepping up to the plate in the last few days. I am happy to hear the House Dems won't vote for a plan without a public option. Stick in there!!!

    August 18, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  20. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Go Anthony! Thanks for being one of the corageous ones that will look out for our interests instead of the haelth insurance lobby's.

    August 18, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. gtekam

    We ask our soldier to give a leg or a life to protect "our nation" against known or unknown killers. We can't spare a tax dime to protect 'our nation against known or unknown killer diseases".

    No single payer healthcare reform, no more democrats on my list of likely votes. Republicans are already out of my list because they oppose healthcare for all americans.

    We are willing to kill doctors and their patients in abortion clinics to protect unborn babies against death by abortion. Yet we can't spare a tax dime to protect those children (now grown) against death by sickness.

    August 18, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. Jim

    The article states that Weiner maintains that the "best" health care option would be "a single-payer plan, like Medicare for all Americans." Evidently, he is blind to the fact that medicare (and medicaid and the VA) is not effectively run – this includes the abuses that the Federal government does not correct, as mentioned in one of President Obama's speeched, that cost the tax payers $$$ per year. He is also evidently not educated enough to investigate how other government run plans work (and in this case don't work) in other countries; and, that health care in these countries is rationed (kinda like medicare, medicaid, and the VA).

    Also, I would like to ask Mr. Weiner if he has read the US Constitution. Where does it state or provide Mr. Weiner and the rest of the Federal Congress the authority to determine an individual's ability to access the health care system. The last I knew health care was an individual responsibility and and not a right/entitlment that must be provided by the government.

    And, by the way, until Mr. Weiner, and the rest of the politicians, should not expect Us (the average tax paying citizen – who actually has taxes withheld at the end of the year) to accept the requirements / constraints / rationing that they set forth in a single payer system until they are REQUIRED to accept all of the same requirements / constraints / rationing that they place on us. This means that they can't create legislation, including piggy back riders on other pieces of legislation that have nothing to do with health care, that would get them off the hook with what they require of Us.

    August 18, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. The black Spider

    No public option no Bill. You've got to be insane to think co-ops can make Gigantique Insurance Companies spending billions in waste to lobby members of congress reduce the price of health insurance.
    It's easy to kill this co-ops. How many other co-ops out there are able to compete fairly with Big corporations.
    The main ingredient in any health care reform is to reduce the cost and only a strong public option can do that and that's why the insurance companies are lobbying so hard to kill it.
    If that public option has no vote it's got to be the best option knowing the insurance companies influance on this senators.
    We can not let this insurance companies win. They've been robbing the american people for decades now. Time to pay back.

    August 18, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  24. Anonymous

    I totally agreed with Rep. Anthony Weiner. Why these private insurers are discriminating against another entity from doing business competing with them? If they can't compete, don't live in capitalist society; after all, isn't competition a trademark of capitalism? Why private insurers are afraid of competition?

    I think these private insurers have enjoyed free rides and ripoff from harding working people for so long. Ask them to explain why healthcare premiums jumped from $180 to $700 per month just within a few years? Can you check into these guys' bank accounts to see if there are any correlations between the rise of healthcare premiums and the rise in their pocketing?

    August 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  25. J TN

    There is no reason to pass this bill without a strong public option. We are all suckers if we let the special interests, paid lobbyists and crooked republicans and democrats fool us into thinking that health care reform is a danger to us. It is absolutely essential for so many reasons for our representatives in Washington to get this done.
    Listening to people who trash our government is absolutely counter productive. We live in a country based on democratically elected representatives of the people themselves. The only thing wrong with our government is that lobbyists are allowed to pay for influence on Capitol Hill and change our elected officials into their representatives instead of ours. The biggest mistake Obama has made is not eliminating paid lobbyists on capitol hill before trying to tackle health care reform. I also really believe half the people on these blogs that attack health care reform are actually shills for these lobbyists and special interests, trying to manipulate public opinion any way they can.
    Believe me, the health insurance and pharmaceutical companies have plenty of money to pay thousands of people to do just that. Unfortunately it seems to be working. The United States of Sheep are letting them buy public opinion just like they are buying our elected representatives. Please, help us all if we fail to get this done. It will likely be our last chance.

    August 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
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