October 24th, 2009
06:00 AM ET
13 years ago

GOP hits Obama on health care transparency and cost

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the weekly Republican radio and internet address, Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns criticized the Obama administration for a lack of transparency in the health care debate.

"President Obama has promised open deliberations in front of C-SPAN cameras for all Americans to learn how reform will impact them. However, a 1,500 page bill, full of carve-outs and backroom deals, is currently being brokered behind closed doors," Johanns said.

"We're about to significantly alter one-sixth of our economy-now is not the time to shut Americans out," He added.

Senate Democratic leaders met Thursday night with White House officials to consider including a government-funded public health insurance option, along with a provision allowing states to opt out of it, in a health care overhaul bill.

Two senior Democratic Senate sources told CNN Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is leaning toward a public option with the state opt-out provision in the Senate health care bill that will reach the full chamber in coming weeks.

Johanns also questioned the need for the health care legislation if costs remain so high that the majority of Americans can't afford it.

"True health care reform should decrease what you're paying, and make it easier for you to receive care," Johanns said.

"The bottom line is this: we're nearing 10 percent unemployment. We have a record budget deficit, and many families are working hard just to put food on the table and to pay the bills. Yet, there's no doubt about it: these proposals will negatively impact pocketbooks and paychecks across America," Johanns said.

Also on Thursday, thirty-six moderate House Democrats threatened to vote against the current health care bill the chamber's leaders are drafting because they don't believe it will sufficiently reduce long-term health care costs.

–CNN's Dana Bash and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this story.

Filed under: GOP weekly address • Health care
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. LG

    Isn't this the same group that encouraged people to disrupt the "town hall" discussions of health care?

    October 24, 2009 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  2. Marry

    Health care reform is so very important to all Americans. To have a better system where the profits for participants are cut that are not doing anything really connected with the care for people will be very difficult. Who would like to give up extreme profits even though they do not at all earn or deserve them? Insurance and pharmaceutical companies are first in line behind the GOP, doing everything to keep the status quo. So, knowing the way they work with lies and threats, anything said about health care reform will be distorted and torn to pieces. Sadly that prevents a real discussion and the President knows that. However, he should and will keep the Dems in line!

    October 24, 2009 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  3. Allen in Hartwell GA

    It seems that the GOP is running out of excuses for not allowing us to get real health care reform. Maybe they'll recognize that most Americans want reform, and that nothing the GOP has done has changed our minds,

    October 24, 2009 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  4. Dianne IL

    As someone who likes her insurance but supports a plan so that everyone can have it, I strongly urge the leaders in Washington to be sure they get this right. It does need to reduce long-term costs but we also need to maintain our excellent medical care-i.e. smart doctors.

    October 24, 2009 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  5. Gary

    Fixing health care is way overdue. We continue to spend almost twice as much as the rest of the developed countries on health care with less coverage. Nows the time!

    October 24, 2009 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  6. WoW

    "The bottom line is this: we're nearing 10 percent unemployment. We have a record budget deficit, and many families are working hard just to put food on the table and to pay the bills. Yet, there's no doubt about it: these proposals will negatively impact pocketbooks and paychecks across America,"

    The GOP is right on this. How come the Dems are rushing this through without a debate? Is it because they know it has flaws and they don't want to be called out on it? This is a time for the American people to work together. Democrats need to step up and be bi-partisan. They need to focus on what is going on in our nation. They should not be focused on what a news organization has to say. They need to refocus their time. Our country needs it. Obama is too busy campaining. That is unacceptable in my opinion.

    October 24, 2009 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  7. Richard Lennon

    We can only hope, that sooner rather then later, American's will
    finally will WAKE UP, and realize what is truly going on and where this
    country is heading. Our legislators have run into the ground, USPS,
    Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Department of Energy.
    How can the American voter think they can run Healthcare. I, as
    American voter have reach a point of disgust with the self serving
    politicains, Democratic and Republican alike.

    October 24, 2009 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  8. Tammy

    Before the Repubs criticize anyone, they should look in the mirror about their [lack of] action for the last 8 years

    October 24, 2009 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  9. Byzantine_Ruins

    ***Johanns also questioned the need for the health care legislation if costs remain so high that the majority of Americans can't afford it.***

    The majority of Americans don't employ lobbyists. The insurance companies do. Thus, the "need" for a health care "reform" that forces Americans to buy insurance via statute, with the state paying for it if they can't.

    October 24, 2009 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  10. Steve-O

    The whole transparency thing is about trust. The GOP has proven they can't be trusted with information about a bill in progress. Any information they get they will exploit and use in a hate campaign against progress.

    I honestly don't care. I don't have time to read a bill like that and wouldn't understand it. I know that if nothing is done, I will pay more and get less from my health insurance every year and will probably drop my insurance within five years. I don't care how much the government is or isn't involved, I don't care how much it costs in the aggregate, I don't care if abortion is or isn't covered in part or in whole, I don't care about exchanges or co-ops or death panels. Just do something. Now.

    October 24, 2009 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  11. joe i know

    dude, it's called the normal legislative process controlled by those in the legislative branch. your people had several seats at the table - snowe, grassley, enzi - and they offered nothing in the way of substantive reforms. better get busy reading the 1502 pages and not complain later that none of you had time to read the bill. what are we paying you for? to write responses to the president's weekly address or to actually go to your office with your huge staffs and wade through these measures now. btw, where is the republican alternative to the public option. oh yeah, now i remember, the only suggestion you all have is to do nothing while your insurance industry sponsors.buddies get rich. now that's representative democracy.

    October 24, 2009 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  12. Howie

    The democrats have completely lost it. Working behind closed doors, why the secrecy? Where is Obama's transparency? Also they are completely ignoring cost, where o where is the $1 trillion coming from? It is going to bankrupt the USA.

    October 24, 2009 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  13. coffic

    Unemployment fears are influencing some people to think their only recourse is a public option. They know that it will destroy what works, but they need SOME medical care recourse.

    Reid's proposal–let states opt out, is ridiculous. Also, Congress has not sworn to enroll/settle for what the majority (Dems and Snowe) are promoting.

    If the WH would allow people to get back to work, people would be covered by employers, they could buy their own private insurance, and taxes would be made available to pay for long term and catastrophic medical care.

    It just seems that unemployment is part of the WH agenda to get universal health care, or health care legislation passed with a trigger, enacted.

    Medicaid for all is poor health care for all.

    October 24, 2009 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  14. jp,michigan

    Everything that was said is TRUE. Where is the transparency? Where is the viewing on CSPAN? Meeting behind closed doors is a slap in the face to the American people! Odds are high that we won't have the chance to read it before it is voted on. They (Democrats) called the Bush administration secretive, well Obama and his Obama lites have him beat by 150%.

    October 24, 2009 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  15. Steve

    So stop whining GOP, and make your own bill already! I understand you have a degree in complaining, but you should at least have a GOP- backed alternative bill.

    October 24, 2009 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  16. Enough

    We want the truth from Obama, we are tired of all his lies. To shut out the Republicans is not due process.

    October 24, 2009 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  17. JonDie

    Republicans are often criticized for saying No to everything, but the Republican positions are:

    1) Yes to leaving millions of Americans insured;

    2) Yes to NOT insuring Americans for pre-existing conditions when they change jobs; and

    3) Yes to continued huge profits for hospitals, insurance companies and drug manufacturers.

    See, there's something for everyone in the Republican positions.

    October 24, 2009 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  18. Donkey Party

    My hope is that in the future, Democrats replace these Republican in Democrat clothing Blue Dogs with real progressive Democrats. Blue Dogs are an embarrassment to the Democratic party.

    October 24, 2009 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  19. Terry from West Texas

    "True health care reform should decrease what you're paying, and make it easier for you to receive care," Johanns said.

    Great idea! I wonder why Johans did not descibe the GOP plan for "true" health care reform. We all know the answer: there is no GOP plan. Well, to be more precise, the GOP plan is to criticize each and every action, word, thought, and movement of Obama and anyone in his administration. Conservatives have no ideas that will make America a better nation for us all to live in. They don't even want to make America a better nation. They want to be in power.

    The goal of Conservatism is more power for Conservative leaders and more money for the corporations and wealthy supporters who finance them. Their plan is to destroy the Obama Administration by blocking every one if its efforts and criticizing every action it takes.

    October 24, 2009 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  20. Stu- SW Florida

    Lack of transparency??? Anything I wanted to know about these plans I have been able to find through various sources. Much of these bills are broken down into laymen terms from various organizations... like AARP.
    He has to keep it open and touch on everything... dotting the "i"s and crossing the "T"s. Do you think he'd be trying to pull anything off under the microscope he is? Not just health care, but everything he's trying to do. There aren't any "backroom deals" ... get your heads out of the sand and stop the scare tactics!

    How about LACK OF ANY other plans, GOP?
    Get off your hands and be AMERICAN! It's "for the people" NOT for the party.

    October 24, 2009 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  21. Ken

    It seems the voters and our representatives have abandoned the principles of freedom and liberty for a form of indentured servitude in exchange for government bribes. It looks like as a nation, we are willingly giving up individual freedom, and falling into bondage to our new masters, the democratic leadership, who are enslaving our children with mountains of government debt. Both world history (Greeks, Romans, Spanish, Great Britton, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, and many others) and US History (pending Social Security insolvency, pending Medicare insolvency, FREDDIE, FANNIE, Congresses’ inability to maintain any semblance of financial responsibility) suggest this will not end well for the Nation, or our children.

    In the interest of our Nations future, lets HOPE the Blue Dogs and the Republicans, the only bi-partisian piece of this fiasco, can CHANGE the aspect of this effort from a governement take-over, with corresponding cost increases for everyone, to a market driven solution that will actually benefit the Nation and its citizens.

    October 24, 2009 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  22. Black Viper

    "True health care reform should decrease what you're paying, and make it easier for you to receive care".

    And you achieve that by trying to block reform offering no solutions but critiques.

    GOP makes me puke.

    October 24, 2009 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  23. RR Florida

    This bill is not just about health care. This bill has a lot of garbage in it
    that has not yet been made public.
    Other laws that really do not have anything to do with health care.
    BEWARE! Everyone needs to stay healthy and have great doctors and
    hospitals....but this bill does not insure that!!!!

    October 24, 2009 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  24. T'SAH from Virginia

    This is making me SICK – All of a sudden now the GOP is concerned about the Health Plan and trying to say the PUBLIC is being left out when it is THEM being left out because they didn't care in the first place.

    And for the REPUBLI-CAN'TS to be concerned about, "... nearing 10 percent unemployment. We have a record budget deficit, and many families are working hard just to put food on the table..." is MORE bull-crap because the 10% unemployed also DO NOT HAVE HEALTH CARE!!!

    Wouldn't it be wise to get this Health Care Reform bill passed so AT LEAST the unemployed will have HEALTH CARE????

    AND, once again the DEMOCRATS are failing to keep their promise and are forgetting WHY and WHO put them in office!!!

    October 24, 2009 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  25. elaine of calif

    Why invite the republicans in? We already know that their answer is "no" on everything!

    October 24, 2009 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
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