August 30th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
13 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
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. My 2 cents

    Senior Citizens would not be "scared to death" if they weren't outright LIED TO.

    The worst "death panels" are all of those working to defeat the "public option" – it's true.

    I'm an uninsured cancer patient (who had worked & had health insurance until last year when I was diagnosed with a rare cancer). Should all of us with serious illnesses, who have fallen through the proverbial "cracks", just "die" so that the rest of you can continue down the fear-based path of "No" ?

    But we're not YOUR problem, right? ....."Brother's Keeper" only applies while you're in a church on Sunday???

    PLEASE, think about it..... SO MANY LIVES ARE AT STAKE HERE.

    August 30, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    Senior citizens are afraid because of all the lies, misinformation, and hate the Right is spewing.

    August 30, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. bella

    So does this guy speak for the whole Senate and House? GIVE ME A BREAK!! Chicken Little predicted the sky would fall too, right????

    August 30, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. Palin Power

    The GOP will be successful in killing this bill. This will ensure that Obambi becomes a 1 term EPIC FAIL and will lose to a 2 term EPIC SUCCESS in Sarah Palin.

    August 30, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. America Shrugged

    After reading an article this morning on the Federally funded Medicare Advantage program ( private Medicare insurance HMO's ), seems that Insurance companies find a way in maximizing profits. Taxpayers support 116 billion in claims for Medicare Advantage as well as 16 billion in subsidy payments to these insurance companies and they still can and do deny claims to senior citizens enrolled in them. We need to expand traditional medicare w/supplemental to all and dump the Medicare Advantage program. I don't mind paying taxes for doing the moral thing here, but we aren't getting value for our tax dollars as long as private insurance companies are getting socialized handouts from the government. No wonder the insurance companies are whipping up the seniors into a frenzy. They stand to lose $..

    August 30, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Willow

    Hey Orrin could you have the common decency to allow Kennedy's body to cool before you begin dancing on his grave?

    August 30, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. bam

    Incredible. Hatch says that our senior citizens are scared to death. No kidding. The Republicans have been working very hard with their lies and fearmongering to accomplish exactly that. Just when I think this gang can't go any lower, they surprise even me.

    August 30, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. John

    Democrats don't seem to realize that it's not an option to saddle future generations with an enormous debt. The status quo is much better (at least for 85% of Americans). Also, anybody who honestly believes that the Democrats are only going to hang the cost of universal health care on the wealthy is very gullible. The rich simply don't have enough money to cover everything that they're proposing, which will lead the Democrats to target the real source of wealth in America, the middle class.

    August 30, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. robert diogenes

    Three cheers for Sen Cantwell. Let's get the insurance co's out of healthcare Just drop the age of medicare to 21.

    Insurance co's first priority is to make money. Helping sick people is second. With this attitude healthcare can never reach its neened potential.

    August 30, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Not with Senators like Hatch, McCain and Kyl around, plus Boehner in the House. What the hell are they afraid of? Losing campaign contributions? Probably.

    August 30, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. ComradeObummer

    Stop Socialism, Impeach Obummer now.

    August 30, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Bob of Lompoc

    And, he's very happy about it. The Hatch(et)man has Government Run Health Care, and it functions very well, thank you. But, it's only for the elete, and YOU Mr. Average Citizen, YOU don't deserve it, can't have it, and I'm going to do everything I can to see that you don't get my type of Government Run Health Care.

    August 30, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. John

    The Democrat's definition of bipartisanship: Always agreeing with the far left.

    August 30, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Joshua College Station, Texas

    If it won't pass, it is only because a majority of senators have sold out to the health care insurance industry, which is a sad report on the state of the Senate. A strict free market economy interpretation of health care coverage is the wrong approach. We can't expect to adequately provide coverage to all citizens unless we all shoulder the costs, and that unfortunately means the health care industry might not be able to continue making whopping profits at the expense of the citizenry of this nation.

    August 30, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Truth Teller

    Whatever happened to Major Medical Insurance? Isn't this what's it's supposed to be about, protecting families against financial ruin? If the cost of healthcare for a family is $600/month, wouldn't it be better to have catastophic coverage only with a higher deductable? If a checkup costs $100, and any tests required are another $100; isn't that cheaper than $600/month? The majority of us don't go to the doctor every month, so the majority of us healthy citizens only need this type of coverage. The elderly have Medicare and the poor have Medicaid. There are sensible reforms to the healthcare system that could be done in a bipartisan way. Maybe we should close down US military bases in Europe (which haven't been needed since the 1950's), and other places around the world to reduce our debt and spending. Where is the common sense?

    August 30, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |

    HealthCare is NOT a right, by the Republican so no wonder the Republicans don't care

    August 30, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    I'll be the first to admit that we have to take care of our senior citizens and the desperately poor (Medicare/Medicaid), but other than that, HEALTHCARE IS NOT A RIGHT. It's a priveledge that is EARNED by being a skilled, productive member of society.

    Once the government takes over our healthcare system (which is what the public option will ultimately lead to), the rest of our economy will soon follow and, before you know it, America will be, AT BEST, a European-style socialist state where we pay 60% taxes and wait up to three years for a by-pass.

    August 30, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. Jill-IN

    I think it is absolutely imperative that people who find themselves out of work be able to opt into a public option for health insurance and pay reasonable premiums. This way they and their children are insured and can get health care. Those who find themselves in their late 50's and early 60's may need this bridge until they qualify for Medicare. Others who are younger will find other employment and be able to sign up for and opt onto an employer provided plan. But just try to go out and apply for and obtain individual health insurance from an insurance company – it is next to impossible. For all the insurance company protests that they can provide it through the private insurance market, they don't want individuals unless you pay extremely high premiums, have high copays and out of pockets, and are already in top notch health. Otherwise you are out of luck.

    August 30, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. Dimslie

    What is the Dim lady's position on tort reform? It's okay to rip up our entire health system but, we can't offend the ambulance chasers, can we?

    August 30, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Sam

    Yes people are scared, because of all the lies the insurance industry and their Republican allies are spreading. Can we ever get back to truth and civility?

    August 30, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. mn

    So he admits it. Seniors LOVE their Medicare. Why else would they be "scared to death". Medicare for everyone seems fair.
    If it is good enough for our seniors isn't it good enough for the rest of us?
    Or is this solution too EASY? There is nothing for the Republicans to find fault with so it isn't even being considered.

    August 30, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  22. gl, Pittsburgh

    Repubicans are irrelavent and Hach is just another rich old white man that really don't care much about the poor.

    August 30, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Fan of Common Sense

    One of the main reasons healthcare cost so much in this country is because of the excessive amount of insurance that healthcare providers have to purchase in order to protect them from frivulous lawsuits. So if the democrats really want lower the cost of healthcare, why is it you never hear them say the words TORT REFORM?

    (I already know the answer. It's because the ambulance-chasing trial lawyers are one of the DNC's biggest contributors. What hypocrites.)

    August 30, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. M. Ames, Syracuse

    From the Constitution of the United States of America:
    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.

    Article 1, Sec. 8, Clause 18: "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."

    As the old commercial goes....."It's in there!"

    August 30, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Jessica Harris

    I am so sick of people yelling their not going to be socialist, and Obama is trying to turn this country into a soicalist country. Well, suprise you have all already been socialist. You have all been so social with hard working taxpayers money any time other countrys have been in need that they no longer look for problems soloving within there own goverment, they just call up America. Now look at us we can't even turn to each other for help. Shame on us for being so social with the rest of the world, but not social enough to offer your bother, your sister, your friend you grow up nextdoor to a bandage. I don't see what so bad about helping your own country for once. A lot of people with money right now are fight Obama because he wants to make things equal among class. That is simply because they can't ever see themselves being poor. With the way things are going is that why your children can't sleep? Can they see what you fail to look at as a very real possible future?

    August 30, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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