October 11th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
13 years ago

GOP needs its own health care reform agenda, McCain says

WASHINGTON (CNN) – As the national debate over health care reform is set to enter a new phase with next week’s scheduled vote in the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, says his party needs to crystallize its own positive agenda for health care reform.

“We Republicans need to come up with our agenda,” the former GOP presidential hopeful says in an interview that airs Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “And we need to do it so that there is a viable alternative to this [legislation in the Senate Finance Committee]. And it has to do with things that are not associated with government-controlled health care in America.

“And there are many, many things we can do - medical malpractice reform, go across state lines to get insurance policies of your choice, refundable tax credits - there's a long list of things that we can and should propose as we enter this debate.”

Asked whether he would vote for the version of health care reform legislation championed by finance committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, if it came to the Senate floor, McCain said he would have to wait and see what the final Senate version of reform legislation looks like.

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Filed under: GOP • Health care • John McCain • State of the Union
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Idiot_Boehner

    The ". . . republicans need to come up with our own agenda." Just where have you naysayers been the last 14 years? Admit it McCain, it has never been a priority for republicans to legislate on behalf of the American People.

    October 11, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  2. Jim Q.

    Ah, McCain. A voice of reason: the Republicans should be able to say more than "no." Alas, your fellow Republicans know it is easier to shoot something down than to come up with a better idea, and they are going to milk this for all it is worth, even if it puts them in morally indefensible positions (like defending a meritocratic approach to being healthy, or considering domestic abuse a "prior condition"). McCain is increasingly a dying breed of Republican - reasonably sensible, actually willing to compromise. How long until he too switches to become a conservative Dem?

    October 11, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  3. BM

    I would not read Palin"s book if it were free. Of course she didn"t write it! Dummies always get others to do their school work. When she figures out what is a country and and not a continent, Maybe!

    October 11, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. WDRussell

    In other words, keep the status quo. Continue letting insurance companies commit genocide on Americans in the name of greed.

    October 11, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. Independent

    The Republicans don't want any HCR!!! If they did, why didn't they do it when they were in control of the House and Senate??? WHY DIDN'T THEY????????? Who are they trying to fool????

    October 11, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  6. Idiot_Boehner

    It appears that the republicans have started to look at polls outside of Fox Biased News. Health reform should have been done when the republicans were in charge, but it was not important to them. Even now, I am not sure the republicans can multi- task as their main priority is looking out for big business.

    So on October 11, 2009, McCain thinks the republicans should come up with something other than "no" for health care reform. What a joke.

    October 11, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. GI Joe

    GOP is our death panel.

    They want to hurry to send more troops to be killed. Yet they drag their feet 6 decades so as not to hurry to modify health care. People die every day because Insurance companies deny the necessities AFTER they raise rates.

    GOP is our death panel.

    October 11, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  8. Flo

    I find it interesting Mccain said .."when we enter the debate we need to have our own agenda..." is he admitting the Republicans have not been participating. The debate been going on for months where are the Republican plans. This is just a stall tactic and they will not get away with this...healthcare will pass and they will still be talking about their plans.

    October 11, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. Obama/Biden

    How many America do we have right? One or two? If we only have one America we only need one health care bill not two or three and some people need to compromise for the sake of the people. Washinton is divided by politic. The president cannot pass the health care bill himself. Congress need to give him bill to sign into law. He is not a dictator. Only a dictator would draft his own bill and sign it into law. Congress is to blame on all the backlashes president Obama is facing. Specially the Republican congress.
    I am very happy to see that the world is watching my president and at least think that you are deserved to be honored than a lot of Americans do. Many Americans to be specific, I would say the racism one who do not like blacks and Hispanics think that you are un-American and do not deserve to be president of the United states of America. Some said that your birth certificate was fake and that your presidency is illegal. Some said that you could not be the president of the US and they even said that you could be the president of Ethiopia and not America. Thus far, God proved them all wrong and shut them up and let them know that he is in control of this world. I want to warn those people who do not like people who are different from them in skin color to fear God because we are all God creation. It does not matter who you are African or Caucasian. Please do not fear what no man can do you president Obama because I know God elected you president of the US; the people vote you in but they did not do it. Not in a racist country lot ours that Barack Obama could've become president without God help. So therefore, God will protect you and help you succeed.
    I know that people are trying to get you not to be a success just to criticize you as an African American. I know that they are expecting too much of you and they never expected that much from previous president. I wonder why. Is it because they are white like they are?
    God want me to tell you to approve the 40,000 thousand soldiers for the Afghanistan war because it is the right thing to do. You do not want to have not enough soldiers there because if the casualties increases because of not enough soldiers on the ground their, the American people will really get upset of you. I know that Republicans do not want you to succeed and for that reason they will oppose almost any major things you are trying to do. For these Republicans, it is not about the country or the people of America; it is to them about trying to make you look bad to the people to see if they can defeat you next election. These Republicans only care about money and power but, not the people who vote them in power. Do not worry because we the people realize what is going on and will do the right thing for the country. I want you and your administration not to worry too much about bipartisan work because Republicans are on a mission to defeat you and they do not care about the people. Some people think President Obama has a magical solution to all the problems the country is facing that took his predecessor many years to mess them up like they are. Only God has the magical solution overnight to everything; not you president Obama. The people need to give you time to work because you are only eight months into power. Always welcome them on the table but, they will never want to get involve. Mr. President please keep a positive attitude and keep on the good fight and do not let that medal peace of honor make you take the wrong decisions for Afghanistan. Remember not to worry because everything you do Republicans and those who want to see you hurt will never be happy with you. God raised you king like he rose David king over Israel. God told me to tell you more troops are needed for Afghanistan and Iraq need to come to a closure when the time is right to do so.

    October 11, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  10. victim of republican greed

    Maybe it is time to "pull the plug" on Sen. Grassley.

    October 11, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  11. Desmond

    Yes, instead of chronically engaging in pathetic, nasty hatred campaigns against Obama, the GOP should try to scrape together a fraction of his integrity, knowledge, intelligence and vision and come up with something positive. That would shock everybody!

    October 11, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  12. Biased

    How simple to reiterate "the party of no" as if it is some new refrain we haven't heard a miliion times before. Mind you it seems to let people feel they no longer have to investigate facts that might be true. Care to check how many republican amendments have been put forth and voted down by democrats? No, of course you don't. It's so much more fun to ridicule. Funny how Obama and his party promised transparency, yet when republicans put forth that the bill should be put on the internet for all to see for 72 hours before voting on it, it was voted down by the democrats. Now why would that be? Also why would it be that there is such a rush to pass this bill yet the most major and important part doesn't take effect for 4 years? That is indeed pitiful or maybe just perfect politics that you vote something in and don't let it happen until after you hope you are re-elected and voters don't see how poorly put together it might be.

    October 11, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  13. Tampa Tom

    Let's say that I want to cross several state lines to buy a health insurance policy in Grassley's state of Iowa from the company that controls the premiums for 90% of Iowans. How will I save money when I will only be able to use their list of doctors and I live in FL?

    October 11, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  14. vic nashville , Tn

    First republican party must come with a leader

    They should keep distance from FOX and Rush

    After that let them come up with own agenda we may buy it

    October 11, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. Debby

    I agree with McCain and as far as agenda's, healthcare was Hillary Clinton's project back in the 90's when she was First Lady. All of a sudden its become Obamacare. Obama is just a glory grabber with no ideas or accomplishments of his own. A bag of wind only goes so far.

    October 11, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Donkey Party

    Umm, yeah. Should of thought about that last century.

    October 11, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  17. J.C. - Independent

    Health insurance has been treated as a utility-like commodity in the sense that you cannot buy it across state lines, and some private insurers are even treated as not-for-profit with special tax favors.

    However, health insurance has not been regulated like utilities so that it is affordable to everyone and power companies cannot shut you off if you are seriously ill or old.

    If the theory of treating health care as a commodity in a free market, all the regulations have been laid only to the worst disadvantage to the consumers. The majority of our Congress has been working for the profits of private insurers, not for the benefits of the consumers. If you want to redeem yourself, you should strongly support President Obama's Consumer Protection Agency. We should call our senators and representatives for supporting Mr. President's creation of such an agency. This agency is not for finance alone. It should extend beyond finance that includes health care insurance and etc.

    October 11, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Gary

    John King, I guess no one with intelegence wants to be on your show anymore. Same old tired republicans.

    October 11, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Bj

    The republicans are not saying no to health care reform as the liberals would have most believe, but are saying no to the cobbled up mess being put together by the current congress. AS McCain said "medical malpractice reform, go across state lines to get insurance policies of your choice, refundable tax credits" and tort reform are all ideas being put forth by conservatives that are being ignored by this liberal congress. Without including these ideas HCR is doomed to failure, and will take this congress and this administration down with it.

    October 11, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  20. Randy, San Francisco

    Don't raise your expectations. The GOP will probably offer "trickle down" health care proposals that only benefit the rich and insurance/drug companies.

    October 11, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  21. Terry from West Texas

    Actually, the Republicans did come up with a health care agenda. That was during Teddy Roosevelt's term, around 1904, back when Republicans were the progressive party and Democrats were Conservative Segregationists. Conservatives defeated TR's proposals.

    Then, Democrats became the Liberal Party and Harry Truman tried to fix health care in 1948 or so. Conservatives defeated HT's proposals. Then, during Lyndon Johnson's term, LBJ was successful in creating Medicare – even though Conservatives opposed it and fought it tooth and nail (because Southerners were afraid it would force them to desegregate hospitals). Conservatives would still do away with Medicare if they could. They don't have the nerve to try because they depend on elderly Conservatives for votes.

    Johnson also brought a voting rights bill and a civil rights bill into law, and southern segregationists became Republicans. They currently rule the Republican Party.

    Bill Clinton tried and failed to improve American health care in 1993, but he was blocked as usual by Conservatives.

    Now Barack Obama is trying, and Conservatives are fighting his proposal tooth and nail. "What's the rush," they say. "We've barely had time to think about this whole issue."

    Twenty Republican Senators have been in the Senate for ten years or more. Eight of them have been in office for more than twenty years. Pray tell, what HAVE they been thinking about?

    October 11, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. sarju

    This is to show that these people have no plan for HCR in this country.

    October 11, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  23. Steve

    This is the man that had a had a 54% NOT VOTING record in 110 Congress and an 84% record of NOT VOTING in last session of 110th Congress.

    October 11, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  24. Daniel Schlafer

    Thankgoodness for finally saying it ! The GOP does need its own version of a GOP/ pharmachutical lobbyist healthcare plan . If you will think back in time to GOP prescription drug bill , you will see what I mean . I hope someday before she passes from this earth that my eighty-six year old mother will finally understand how that bill really benefits her ? Can't you see what the GOP/pharmachuticals will do for healthcare !

    October 11, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. John Sivills

    In and of itself, this is an admission the Republicans never had a plan, contrary to their protests otherwise. It exposed the strategy of being the party 'no'. McCain seemingly is trying to say to his party that won't wash. Although the ideas he listed doesn't do to much to health costs unless there is a public option and a regulation of the insurance industry.

    October 11, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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