October 18th, 2009
10:25 AM ET
10 years ago

Axelrod: Compromise on health care coming

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Compromise is coming on a health care reform bill, President Barack Obama's senior adviser said Sunday.

Speaking on the ABC program "This Week," David Axelrod dodged direct questions about whether Obama would sign a bill without a government-run public insurance option.

He noted that the five proposals passed so far by House and Senate committees would eventually be melded into one through further negotiations and debate.

"I believe that there is a fundamental belief on the Hill at this time that we can't fail now," Axelrod said. He added that he thinks that determination "will overcome these differences. … There will be compromise."

Obama and liberal Democrats in Congress support a public insurance option, calling it necessary competition for private insurers in order to expand coverage and bring down costs. Republicans are unanimously opposed to a public option, calling it a first step toward a government takeover of the health care system.

Some moderate Democrats also reject a public option, and a compromise bill passed last week by the Senate Finance Committee lacks the provision. It is the first health care proposal so far to receive any Republican backing, with moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe joining committee Democrats to send the measure to the full chamber.

Axelrod said Obama continues to believe the public option would help deliver his goals of health care reform: lower costs; coverage for Americans currently without health coverage; an end to practices such as denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, and more regulation of the insurance industry.

On Saturday, Obama delivered a blistering attack on the health insurance industry in his weekly radio address.

In unusually direct language, the president accused the industry of deliberately misleading the public in an effort to defeat substantive health care reform.

"They're filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads," Obama said. "They're flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists and campaign contributions.

And they're funding studies designed to mislead the American people."

Axelrod echoed that theme Sunday, saying the health insurance industry "has decided now at the 11th hour that they don't want to go along with this."

At the same time, though, Axelrod said controversial provisions in the bill would change as debate continues.

"I think that this thing is going to be adjusted as we go along," Axelrod said.

Filed under: David Axelrod • Health care
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Ken in NC

    Well, I have long been a supporter of President Obama and I am hopeful that he will get his Health Care Reform through Congress, however, if it does not contain a Public Option then the President will have lost one voter. He will still be my President but I will not support him in the next election. This is not because I wanted a Public Option because I will be on Medicare in a couple of years but because it will be the constant leverage against the insurance companies to lower and maintain lower prices for their policies.

    October 18, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. HJA

    No public option means no reform. If that happens the insurance industry will be laughing all the way to the bank!

    October 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Reformed Republican


    Stop killing average working class Americans at the rate of 122 per day because they cannot afford (or get) health insurance coverage. It's the moral, ethical and American thing to do!

    Remember senators and congressmen, if you don't give us health care reform with a strong public option come next Novemeber we will elect "real" Americans that will...

    October 18, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. vic nashville , Tn

    There is no health care reform With out public option

    October 18, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. David

    If it is an *option* then why is there a tax/penalty for non-compliance?
    Forcing us into a plan under the threat of penalty is another liberty lost.

    Real health reform involves clamping down on health insurers, not driving them out of business. When Washington compromises, look out, its going to hit us in the wallet.

    October 18, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    I understand that the president is trying to take on the insurance industry and he doesn't have the help from most republicans and a few democrates . but understand this ..if we don't get a chance to have a public plan to choose from ,then all we can expect is a watered down version of a health program ..that the minute it gets passed the insurance companies attorney's will begin to cut it apart and get right back to were it was before it started .. the only way this will work is to give the american people a TASTE of good health care costs. then and only then can the government make a fare playing field,,,


    October 18, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. Amanda

    I am getting tired of the "compromises" in this administration. Health care reform with a strong public option could be passed, if only democrats had some guts. Instead they squander public trust.

    October 18, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. ABC

    Having public option is compromise. Single payer system would be much better.

    October 18, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. hal

    If the Public Option is in the final bill, I will not support Obama in the next election. I have too many friends in Canada that tell me horror stories about their healthcare plan. I don't want to end up like them.

    October 18, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. Diane Portland OR

    I just hope this administration and the Democrats understand that a Mandate without a public option means they go back to the minority party. I voted for Obama just based on this 1 issue. I have a sick 30 year old daughter with no insurance and I'm close to losing my job because my company can't afford the insurance costs. My company would rather keep the insurance and lay off employees than stop insurance all together. Without a public option there is nothing to create competition. Why would I vote for that? I will just have to give up on both parties.

    October 18, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  11. Dave Gallerizzo

    A public option would be an absolute disaster, and ultimately would destroy any choice we have. Real reform means giving an OPTION to Americans that WANT insurance. Not socializing medical care.


    October 18, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. fred

    Ken in NC,
    Who will you support. A republican who doesnt want anything even close to a public option. Is that who you will vote for?

    October 18, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. molly

    There will be a public option, I just hope it is robust and available to all Americans. State opt out should be the only compromise. If the fat unhealthy red states want to go Galt, let them.

    October 18, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    LISTENING to BILL BENNET this morning gives us an idea of what the republicans want to do no control on banking high bonuses , and no on government health care .. if CNN stopped paying his salary and he couldn't find any work and was broke he would be telling the government PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE I need health care and unemployment for free along with a big group of republicans that have craped on america

    I still stand along with Donna Brazil .no matter what her ideas are they are always practical and uses good common sense.. a GREAT LADY TO BE RESPECTED YA UYA DONNA BRAZIL 🙂


    CNN come to Brookings Oregon and ask some questions from me .. instead of some other podunk place like in ALASKA (Palin Land )


    October 18, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. terry,va

    The only compromise coming is what the Dems can agree on. All Republican suggestions have been shut out...ie tort reform, no coverage on illegal aliens and abortion procedures, ability to pool coverages and buy across state lines, no medicare cuts, no higher taxes on working families, etc. Obummie has lied on tax increases as well as many things he said when he was promoting hope and change. I hope we change before it is to late. The Dems are planning another government takeover of yet another sector of the economy. Welcome to the Socialist States of America.

    October 18, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. GI Joe

    Follow the money ---

    Why are the republicans soooooo protective of their Health Insurance friends?

    October 18, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    IN reading alot of the coments the real question is ...we already have a government health care policy that does work ..its called "MEDICARE " try and get your legislator to remember it and vote another plan into effect MEDICARE WORKS it is private with using our on money .. and if the government will stop borrowing from it it will last forever and if the government can get off its bought of ass from insurance companies .. and stand up and vote a public plan into effect .. our country will slowly go away as the most powerful democratic nation in the world .. hell we won't even be able to take care of ourselves let alone anyone else in the world

    October 18, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. Stu

    Does anyone remember the Dept. of Energy created under Carter? They were supposed to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Yeah right. What makes any of you think the government could possibly run a federal healthcare program? We already have federal medicare and state run medicaid, both of which are total disasters. Both are rife with fraud: overcharging, double-charging, charging for non-existent patients or services never rendered. Social security is another shining example. Intended ONLY for the retired worker who paid into it, social security is given away to everyone who doesn't pay into it. Enough is enough.

    October 18, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. Tom

    Fellow AOL Users:
    Please write your lesgilatures about your support to repeal the McCarron-Ferguson Act. Americans should be able to purchase any health care policy in the country. This anti trust exemption provided to the insurance industry is not in the interest of the people. The repeal of the McCarron-Ferguson Act will interject enormous competition within and industry that has wrongly enjoyed captured markets. Remember...repeal the McCarron-Ferguson Act.
    Thank you for your time.

    October 18, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. Butterfly

    Public Option Only. Pass it with reconcilitaion if necessary. Get it going. I have no health insurance. Can't afford it due to one pre-existing condition, ADD. IF i can't get it with that very minor issue which doesn't even require more than3-4 visits to a doctor a year, how are people with real health conditions going to get insurance. This past week my daughter and I both came down with H1N1. Most of her costs were covered by her Dad, but his premiums alone are over $200 a month and he works for a major defense contractor. My out of pocket cost just to see a doctor and get Tamiflu was $180. I had to go and get something for myself as my child is Asthmatic and in a high risk group for complications. If I got too sick to catch any warning signs in her that needed a clear thinking parent to make any life and death decisions for her, I needed to feel well enough to do that. It should not cost me almost $200 to make sure I am well enough to monitor a sick child. To have her Dad take her to his house if I got too sick to care for her would have exposed another person to H1N1. I don't qualify for Medicaid so what am I supposed to do. Many people can drop $200 without even thinking. I can't. I am tired of worrying if I am one illness away from losing my house and everything me and my child have. I really don't appreciate the GOP regarding me or my childs health as not worth fixing our health care system over. The government is not trying to take over health care. They have enough decisions to make, they are not going to make those decisions for us. Stop the fear and scare tactics.

    October 18, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Doc

    No Public Option? No reform.

    October 18, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. annie s

    Correction. Please stop calling the Blue Dog Democrats "moderates". There is nothing moderate about them. They are conservatives and, like the Republicans, they care more about corporate profits than they do about delivering affordable health care to all Americans. Kick them to the curb and find a way to pass a public option NOW. There is no true reform unless there is an alternative and competition for the obscene for-profit insurers.

    October 18, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. Flex

    Republicans are afraid that a government option would be a takeover of the health insurance industry.

    In other words, they are afraid that it would be a raging success, and far superior to what we have now.

    Why don't republicans want us to have quality, affordable, health care? We need it, and deserve this!

    Republicans want us to have unaffordable, private health care, and be rejected from the plan once we need to use it.

    Republicans are poisonous!

    October 18, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Dan Kellogg

    No teeth in any Bill without a public option. Why do you think the insurance companies are fighting this so hard? They see an end to exorbitant premiums and denial of coverage. Why do you think the Republicans are fighting this so hard? They have always been in the pocket of big business, and health insurance definitely fits into that category. 1% of the population has accumulated 90% of the wealth in this country. They have done it by stealing from the middle class. They can afford to send an army of lobbyists to Washington to shoot down everything from regulation in the financial sector, (that has brought our whole economic system to its knees), to credit card and interest rate regulation ( that has put a good portion of your neighbors at the brink of bankruptcy), now they want to scare you out of "govenment run health care. Well, for the millions of American who currently can't afford ANY insurance, a government run health care system sounds pretty dan good. And for those of you who currently CAN afford insurance, we'll see how you feel in 10 yrs, when these bandits have raised you premiums another 50-100%, and the company you work for can no longer afford to keep you on the payroll; when we have a Republican majority in Washington again, (because if healh care reform doesn't happen, the Republicans will use the loss as a tool to get into office again). They DO NOT GIVE A #$%& about anything but their bank accounts. Please!!! WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

    October 18, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Lisa

    I'm a big supporter of the PUBLIC OPTION!!!

    October 18, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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