August 30th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Public option not likely to pass in the Senate, Hatch says

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Just two days after sharing his fond memories of longtime friend and Senate colleague Ted Kennedy, Republican Orrin Hatch said Sunday that one of the main provisions of a Democratic plan for health care reform – a public policy initiative that Kennedy had referred to as the “cause of my life” – stood little chance of passing in the Senate.

“Is there any chance – despite the passing of your friend – is there any chance that a bill with a public option is going to pass the United States Senate?,” CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked Hatch Sunday on State of the Union.

“I really don’t think so,” Hatch bluntly replied.

The Utah Republican noted that health care accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy and that the country faces projections of mounting budget deficits in the next decade.

“Our senior citizens are scared to death,” Hatch said.

One of Kennedy's Democratic colleagues, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state, suggested on the same program that a public health insurance option was one way to introduce competition into the insurance market.

A public option “is a very key component” to controlling costs, said Cantwell.

Cantwell also said the status quo was unsustainable because of the rate at which health care costs have been increasing.

“Doing nothing and thinking that we’re going to get out of this expense is not really an option,” the Democrat said.

Filed under: Health care • Orrin Hatch • State of the Union
August 30th, 2009
11:29 AM ET
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