October 25th, 2009
12:08 PM ET
12 years ago

Senate likely to consider various versions of public option

(CNN) - The Senate will consider several versions of a government-run public health insurance option in the chamber's upcoming debate on a health care bill, a Democratic senator predicted Sunday.

"I think what we're going to end up with is having votes on a number of choices," Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri told the ABC program "This Week."

According to McCaskill, the alternatives would include giving states the ability to opt out of a not-for-profit public option, or reversing that dynamic by allowing states the choice of opting in to such a program.

Another alternative would be the so-called "trigger mechanism," McCaskill said. That idea - batted around in Congress for weeks - would mandate a public option in the future if specific thresholds for expanded coverage and lower costs go unmet by a certain time.

The goal is to come up with a plan that can overcome a filibuster in the chamber, said McCaskill, who supports including a public option in the health care bill.

"I'd be less than honest if I didn't say all of us were concerned about making sure we get the votes to move forward," McCaskill said. "But I remain pretty optimistic."

On the same program, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky reaffirmed his party's unanimous opposition to a public option.

"I think 100 percent of Republicans have indicated they don't think having the government in the insurance business is a good idea," McConnell said.

Filed under: Health care • Senate
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. T'SAH from Virginia

    No Public Option and a Public Option should be the ONLY CHOICES!! Case and POINT!

    This is why the government FAILS!!! If 100% of Republicans indicate they do not want the government in the insurance business – that is only 100% of 20% who call themselves REPUBLI-CAN'Ts!!! So it MEANS NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jeez – do the arithmetic!!!


    October 25, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Death Panel Sarah

    If all the Democratic Senators could unite like the Repuglican Senators do, we could get the NEEDED public option....
    If they can't decide, we need to have a vote ourselves on the public option!!!

    October 25, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. Death Panel Sarah

    Let us vote on what we want!!!!!


    October 25, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. cora

    The president did not say any thing about letting the states opt out of a not for profit public option, why would you leave it up to a group of people when other's want it, thats wrong, PUBLIC OPTION FOR ALL OR NONE AT ALL.

    October 25, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. R. C. Jackman

    Interstate Option, yes. Government-Run Option, no.

    October 25, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Bren

    Based on the unbiased, national polls (Rasmussen, etc.)-–the MAJORITY in our country do not want the health care plan that the Dems are trying to shove down our throats-and they DEFINITELY do NOT want the public option.

    The majority agrees that there needs to be some changes/tweeks to our current system so that it becomes fairer, more affordable for EVERYONE-–but the majority is well aware that the Obama/Dem plan is NOT the answer.

    We do NOT need to destroy our entire health care system, just to make a few changes and tweeks.

    This is why the Democrats cannot get this passed-–as the moderate/blue dog Dems are well aware that the MAJORITY in the country do NOT want this--and that includes the MAJORITY in their districts who will be voting in 2010 and 2012.

    October 25, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. cora

    Why don't we just get rid of the BLUE DOG DEMOCRATES and see how that work.

    October 25, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Rob

    The best thing about Democrats is they cannot be lead around by the nose like Republicans. They are an independent bunch. However, HCR is different. This is not the time to play ideology. The public, and 80% of all registered democrats overwhelmingly want a strong Public Option, whichever Democrats vote against it should not be supported by the party for re-election.

    October 25, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. Joey

    Interstate option is really rediculous. Look at telecom, small companies eaten up by the giants and we wind up having a monopoly of a few. I really doubt that makes any sense in the long term for consumers.

    October 25, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. On the other hand...

    Mitch McConnell is exactly correct. Private business is what built America and there is no business that the government has done well in. The Federal Government does not do well at competition. It should regulate where necessary and provide an environment for businesses to operate in, but it has proven beyond a doubt that meddling beyond that causes financial disaster.

    October 25, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. Gary

    Since the Repubs will unite against anything in Washington proposed by a Dem why worry about them. Get the Dems together and solve it. If the Insurance companies are against it , they must be on the right track. They (the insurance companies) only came out against it when they thought the numbers of people forced into paying them declined. Since mandatory insurance is "legalized extortion", how can they be against what we already have so much of.

    October 25, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. S Callahan

    Sometimes I wonder just how much money these public servents are pulling in with each delay.

    Get rid of the trigger...it serves no one but the corporations that will play with the dollar and the citizen joe will be the loser from it.

    October 25, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Cali

    I don't understand these democrats! I couldn't be more pissed off at the democrats not unified for the public options! "Blue Dogs" are wolves in lambs clothing! What's the point in building this majority when a few of them do not know how to fall in line?

    That's what I like about the Republicans; they know how to unify and get it done. They are showing the democratic weakness by weakening democratic resolve. Republicans don't care about the people except for their corporate buddies and getting re-elected. They're good at whipping up the base with irrational fear (death panels).And here we are trying to compromise with them because we have a few idiot democrats in the pockets of the insurance companies. FORGET IT! GET THE PUBLIC OPTION DONE!! THATS WHAT YOU GOT HIRED FOR DEMs!! F O C U S !!!

    Hey Democrats not falling in line...we know who you are!! You screw this up and I hope politics isn't your only occupation!

    October 25, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. George Sales

    Conservatives in congress (both republican and democratic) need to stop looking out for the insurance industry and do what's right for the people. I can't understand how they can justify defending this very wealthy industry that has grown fat on the backs of the middle class. The majority want a public option, so what's the hold up? People, we need to make our views known to the professional pols like Mitch McConnell, who have made their fortune defending these jerks.

    October 25, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. montag24

    The trigger option is asinine. The insurance industry has had 60 years to rein in costs and how's that worked out for us?

    Single-payer is the only way to go.

    October 25, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. Rich from NY

    Provide public option by expanding existing medicare/medicade as an option for everyone. Let's be smart about the public option and take advantage of the exprience and best practice of a system that is already in place that is low cost. We can save on cost of setting up the public option this way and reduce costs even further by putting in place the best practices of each state's deployment of medicaid. All of us already pay into these programs with our taxes. Let's make it work all of us.

    October 25, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Brian Rich

    I like the trigger option. That gives insurance companies time to get their costs down, OR ELSE.

    October 25, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. AJC

    I'm a registered Democrat from Louisiana. I tell you frankly that I do not support a public option and do not expect one to pass the Senate unless it's one at least one Republican can support.

    October 25, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Money in Medicine



    Insurance Companies are not people they can not VOTE.
    Stock Holders can vote in Corporate meetings but not in the USA Politics.

    Why give up American Voting Rights to Foreign Investors Corporate Lobbyists?

    America for Americans not Foreign Stock Holder Corporate Lobbyists!

    October 25, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. Marry

    New snags on the old game? A meaningful public option is a must! Stop playing around and come up with the goods for all!

    October 25, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. annie s

    All you people afraid to have the government compete with private insurers, please explain to me why. Currently, non-medical personnel at insurance companies make decisions that deny and ration coverage to the sick and needy. Their out of control premiums means that small businesses like mine can't add employees – or pay the ones we have as much as we'd like. As for the argument that honest competition will drive the for-profit charlatans out of business, why should it if they do a good job? The Post office didn't put UPS or FED Ex out of business – even though my business finds them to be less expensive, with faster delivery times and less damage. Are you against a public option only because Mr. Obama is for it? Or is it because you simply do not think for yourself and believe all the lies and fear tactics of the people who profit if this fails?

    October 25, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. Priscilla Dubbs

    You know what??? Public Option or no Public Option..... If the House and Senate members are covered under the same plan as WE THE PEOPLE then I can accept it. You know they will not vote for anything that would not provide the absolute best for themselves.

    October 25, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. Ted Tartaglia

    A meaningful public option is the only way to keep greedy for profit insurance companies from constantly jacking up insurance rates. The only reason Repubs oppose the public option to protect the interests of big business rather than the interests of constituents.

    Isn't it interesting that many Repubs are now trying to identify themselves as Conservatives. Their definition of conservative seems to be the extreme right-wing evangelical psuedo christians who want to create a theology based government in the United States. The last true Conservative was Barry Goldwater and he died twelve years ago.

    It is also interesting that the so called Conservative idol, Ronald Reagan, was a member of the Hollywood crowd, a union activist, and presided over the largest tax increases ever seen at the time in California and the United States. He also tripled the national debt. George W. Bush doubled the national debt. Is there something about conservatism I'm missing? The Repubs/Conservatives sound like a bunch of big spending, big government loonies to me!

    October 25, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. They call me "tater salad"

    "Senate likely to consider various versions of public option" How much you wanna bet the version they choose will be the weakest one thats the least effective, the one that does as little as possible for the American people and the most for the Health Insurance Empire!!!!! Just watch and see for yourselves!

    October 25, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. D. Tree

    The Republicans are good at voting 100% in lock-step against this needed reform. They are cynically gambling our future away because they want to hurt Obama. Who cares about the politics, a pubic option saves the most money and reduces the deficit!

    October 25, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
1 2