August 19th, 2009
09:27 AM ET
13 years ago

WH may push through health care reform without Republicans

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Democrats say Republicans, particularly Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, aren't serious about striking a deal."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration is looking hard at pushing through a health care reform bill without Republican backing, top Democrats close to the White House have told CNN.

The Democratic majority in the Senate has been stymied in the health care debate by Republicans and conservative Democrats, leaving them short of the 60-vote "filibuster-proof" margin needed to pass the bill.

Democratic success could depend on an obscure tactic called reconciliation, a type of budget maneuver that requires only a simple majority - 51 votes - to pass.

Going it alone could be risky for Democrats, not because they couldn't raise the votes, but because Republicans could cast it as a power play, accusing them of failing to win bipartisan support. But it's a fight Democrats might be willing to enter.

"If we have to push it through this way, no one is going to remember how messy it was," a top White House adviser told CNN. "At the end of the day, they'll remember we got health care reform done. A win is a win."

White House officials are beginning to lay the groundwork for such a move, telling CNN that they'll have to take drastic measures if there's no movement.

Sources from the administration and the Democratic side of Capitol Hill have told CNN that they're becoming increasingly convinced that Republicans - particularly Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley - involved in the negotiating process aren't serious about striking a deal.

Full story

Filed under: Health care • Obama administration • Senate
soundoff (342 Responses)
  1. J.C. - Independent & Insured

    "WH may push through health care reform without Republicans"

    That would be necessary to do so. GOP will be very sorry to have missed the opportunity. Sorry, but I just can't imagine anybody with the right mind would worry about the profit and existence of private insurers, i.e., businesses entities, rather than the suffering of real people.

    August 19, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. Richard Puente

    The Republican house and senate has transformed itself to a party that onone can be in familiar terms with. The last eight years have created the worse atmosphere and energy in our country and around the world. The Republicans have become so complaisant with the horribe greed mentality that they themselves can't shake it. The bigger issue is the crippling effects to our people and country. What happen to compromise? Where is the democracy that our soilders died for? The Republican Party is OUT OF CONTROL and MUST BE STOPPED! Enough is ENOUGH!

    August 19, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. Chipster

    Democrats might as well go it alone. As long as Republicans are intent on fabricating nonsense about death panels, rationed care (as if insurance companies don't do that now!), and anything they can think of to frighten and anger people unnecessarily, they will never get any serious cooperative effort.

    More than 10,000 people per day are losing their health coverage and taxpayers pick up the tab for uninsured care at ridiculous rates. We simply must get this under control or it will consume be more than the cost of defense. We cannot continue on this path.

    It's so sad that politics is paralyzing our country.

    August 19, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. gt

    so be it... let chips fall where they may... if it dont work , they will be gone soon enough...

    August 19, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Darko

    What's new about this? They were NEVER after GOP support. They were fine and dandy running alone until a huge block of Dems pulled the emergency brake.

    Normally I would say let them pass it and let them wear it, but this is not a program that can be repealed a few years down the road once we see its failure. Once you've got people dependent on the govt, it's nearly impossible reverse the issue.

    August 19, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. JSRagman

    Go for it Mr. President! Does anyone really believe that if the situation were reversed, the Repugs wouldn't do the same thing?!

    August 19, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. Jay T.

    It's a win-win situation. Americans get affordable healthcare and the Insurance execs who make billions off us will still contribute a bunch of money to the Republicans' coffers.

    August 19, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. once upon a horse

    I admire President Obama for trying to work with the Republicanso on this and every other bill, but the fact remains that nio matter what he does they are going to say NO to it. The GOP could get everything they want in this particular bill and still will not vote for it. They probably already know that the Dems could pass this bill without them and their hope is that it will a BAD bill, Americans won't like it so they can say "see we told you so!" As of now that's all the GOP has left.

    August 19, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. Debby

    If Obama push's this through without partisan support he is just like Hitler. It may be a win for the Dumbocrats but it isn't a win with Americans who don't want universal health care. Whose to say what they will and won't pay for terminally ill people like expensive cancer drugs. If Obama and his goon squad take away our right for private insurance down the road there is going to be a riot in the US like he has never seen.

    August 19, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. David

    PUSH IT THROUGH!!! Republicans have NO Intention of passing Healthcare Insurance Reform because they work for the Insurance Companies and Pharmaceutical Companies themselves.

    The American people gave Democrats the power and we expect them to USE IT!

    It is pointless to continue the conversation with Republicans.
    The so-called Blue Dog Democrats are only 'Republicans in Blue' and are on notice. They will pay in the next Primary.

    This is why Americans will continue to Vote OUT Republicans and voted IN Democrats to GET THE JOB DONE for the American People.

    August 19, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  11. Erik

    What a joke...if they go it alone it will mean their defeat in 2010 and 2012. Anything they put through will be changed/dropped etc. when they lose power.

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. Dwaterdogb&w

    I agree. Go for it. republicans...the Party of No. The Party of BB, Big Business & to hell with the rest of the world.

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. Nancy - Houston

    My guess is most of the 12.5 million who have been laid off would be the most interested in the public option plan. My adult sons were laid off over a year ago. Even though the cost was chewing up his mutual funds, the older son was buying COBRA insurance. Then before the 18 month limit, his company went bankrupt, and his right to buy the COBRA insurance ceased. He looked into the state insurance plan, and it was more costly than COBRA, so now both sons have no health insurance. It is said 47 million citizens are without health insurance; I'm wondering if that includes those 12.5 million who have lost their jobs. I would be in favor of the Democrats going it alone so there is some relief for all those who might obtain health insurance. It would be less costly than what we are spending now and will be spending in the future. Just preventing Medicare fraud alone would pay a big chunk of the new plan.

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Dotson, IL

    The peoples voted the Democratic party in to may a change for the American Peoples, what is the problem? The only way to have a good health care bill is to have public option that going to benefit the American people, end of conversation.

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  15. vince

    The Democrats have given the Republicans every chance to participate in the Debate.

    Even after all the concessions made to the right, Republicans are still lined up against it.

    It's time to move on.

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. Bubba

    Repubs are useless and have no function in a well-governed country except to sit on the sidelines and hate at us. They are great at name-calling, and at very little else. So, yes, let's bid a sad farewell to what used to be the Grand Old Party; every leaf turns brown and falls eventually and they have not aged well these past eight years. Try not to jeer at them; the party once produced great patriots and heroes before being taken captive by Gingrich's dream of a permanent one-party majority(as you see, it came true but not the way he originally planned). Maybe they will snap out of this fog and join up with the United States again, or maybe they will produce the next Squeaky Fromme or Lee Oswald. Good luck, GOP; and as you all emigrate to Canada, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. John Beck

    If the Democrats use reconciliation to force Government take over of the health care system, they will have created a divide in the citizens of the U.S. so large that there is no telling how far either side will go!

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. Babaganusch

    Amazing. The Democrats have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, a large majority in the House, and the Presidency. And they still can't get a bill passed! Incompetence!

    August 19, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. Jeff Garris

    I, myself, can't imagine why anyone WOULDN'T want to reform healthcare in this country except for the insurance companies and doctors... oh and all the republican congressmen that they pay off to protect their interests. It just seems like that should be so obvious. Furthermore, I believe most of the town hall meeting opponents of healthcare reform are people driven BY those special interest groups. God knows the insurance companies ALONE could afford to stage those disruptions not to mention if the pharmeceutical companies chip in. To those special interest groups, the state of healthcare is just fine and dandy!

    August 19, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. Tom in Wheaton, Illinois

    The White House is correct. It's time to take the gloves off. A win is a win. Indeed.

    August 19, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. Mike

    Wow, sources from the whitehouse and democrats in congress say they believe Senator Grassley is not serious about a compromise
    on healthare. What cowards these people are, they don't have the
    guts to come out on th record and say it. All democrats want is push
    there ultra left healthcare agenda. I want to help those millions of
    people who dont have healthcare, but not at the expense of losing
    my private health plan for governemnt run plan.

    The co-op idea is an excellent way to do this, it wouls allow most poeple to be covered, and not destroy the private healthcare industry.
    Why must democrats want government to control the most precious
    thing I have, MY HEALTH.

    August 19, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. Common sense

    If the right wing wants to send its time on disinformation, fear, and kowtowing to lobbyists and moneyed interests, then cut them loose. America needs health care reform and it needs it now Join the debate and contribute or get out of the way.

    August 19, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. cgillette

    costs will reach 9X projections within five years.
    DEMS will be held accountable in voting.

    it's a serious error far leftists oushing a left wing prezie over the edge. they get what they want but is that what they really want.

    these are vote pandering polticians not economists or financial planners.

    August 19, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. Doc

    While people go on with high premiums and co-pays, and people go on w/o health care only to go to the emergency room (serious or not) where the people with high pre-me's and co-pays pay more; you have the legalized gangs up on the hill worried about if one side get what they want it would be seen as a victory and they don't won't that. So the game is as it always has been, despite the people who are truly hurting. The game is may the best gang win; three players numerous game pieces (us dummies). And we refuse to try something new knowing we can't continue doing the same thing. Greed and ignorance will be the death of our society.

    August 19, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Georgette

    Republicans have had one goal and one goal alone since the afternoon of January 20, 2009 – to undermine the Obama presidency regardless of what toll their actions, or more accurately their inaction, take on the future of our country. We overwhelmingly elected a Democratic administration to right the wrongs of the disastrous past eight years. It is time for that to happen. Do what it takes, President Obama, and leave Grassley and his pathetic right-wing do-nothing colleages behind to sit and watch.

    August 19, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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