December 16th, 2009
08:59 AM ET
6 years ago

Weiner: Senate bill getting worse

Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner is frustrated with the course health care reform legislation in the Senate is taking.

Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner is frustrated with the course health care reform legislation in the Senate is taking.

Washington (CNN) - Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner is frustrated with the course health care reform legislation in the Senate is taking, telling CNN the "bill has certainly gotten worse."

But the liberal lawmaker from New York, on CNN's American Morning Wednesday, said "I'm not prepared to say that we should throw out the whole process."

There have been increasing complaints from many on the left in recent days, as what they consider key elements of President Barack Obama's health care reform plan – including a public health insurance option and a compromise proposal that would allow individuals to buy in to the government run Medicare system at age 55 – have apparently been jettisoned to win the support of conservative Democrats, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, who's part of the Democrats' 60 seat coalition in the Senate, and moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe. Some have said the bill has been so watered-down, it may be time to abandon it entirely.

"Every time conservatives or those that are concerned about costs step forward and say they have a problem, they take out something that helps reduce costs. You know, the public option was something that increased competition for private insurance companies and drove down costs; they took it out. Expanding Medicare to allow people not just 65 but 64, 55, the most expensive group to insure get covered under Medicare, now that's been dropped out," adds Weiner. "You know what's puzzling about all this is the very same people who say they're concerned about cost are the ones responsible for stripping out cost savings measures, so it really is a frustrating process to watch going on in the Senate."

Weiner hopes the bill can be improved in a House-Senate conference committee, saying, "I don't believe that you should let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and unlike some people in this town, I actually want to get health care reform passed. But when we go into a House/Senate conference, one of the things a lot of my colleagues are going to be asking are what are the things we can do to improve the choices that consumers have, make some competition for the insurance companies."

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Deans said earlier this week the Senate bill should be killed. Health care was one of the central issues of Dean's when the former Vermont governor ran for the White House in 2004.
"This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate," Dean told Vermont Public Radio on Tuesday. "Honestly, the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House."

Weiner, a six-term congressman who represents a district in New York City, says "what Governor Deans has said is not wrong.
Weiner adds that he reserves to right to join Dean "at the end of the day."

"This does have to get better," says Weiner.

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soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Enough

    So vote against it. Throw this lousy bill out and start working on REAL reform, not more expensive entitlements and freebies that working people will pay higher taxes to provide free health care to others. Time for self responsibility, everyone pays their own way............oooh how mean is that?

    December 16, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Bob in Pa

    Hey Tony, more than 50% of Americans think you should throw the whole thing out.

    December 16, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Sniffit

    Unfortunately, GOPers are right: At the moment, it looks as though Dems will have a horrible 2010 for passing this bill.

    Where they're wrong is that it won't be a victory for the GOP or because the GOP has won favor with the will be because these cowards didn't do what we elected them to do and give us a public option no matter how many tears were shed by the fear-mongering, doom and gloom, smear and misinformation campaigning GOPers. They've shot themselves in the caving to politics instead of doing what they know to be right.

    December 16, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. JC

    All the liberals. I think we have had enough of this. Lets wait until early 2011. Vote out the so called "Conservative Dems" and "independents" and put a decent people in their spot. We know that we need the Public Option and they know that. We will not risk our future for these idiots who are getting paid by the insur. co.

    December 16, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. RichP the Pocono's

    Hey Anthony, grabe an odd number of middle america GP's, a lawyer, few typists and and accountant. Stick them in an isolated resort somewhere and shoot any lobbyists dead who approach. Bet they can come up with a health care bill in under month and less than 200 pages.

    December 16, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Amazing

    Over 7,000 per year to buy into Medicare is NOT cost reduction for the tax payer. Nothing the government EVER does reduces debt............anyone with 1/2 a brain knows that. Isn't that why they are planning on pumping billions more into Medicare's broke, like everything the government gets involved in.?

    December 16, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. German,Irish American

    Of course this health-care bill is a farce. It has now become a Democrat priority to give Obama a Christmas present, never mind that it will be a terrible tax burden on the people. I do have this question for Weiner. If you are going to cut 500 billion from medicare, that is already in money trouble, how are you going to pay for the addition of millions of new recipients under your proposal to lower the age requirement to 55?

    December 16, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    It's getting WORSE because of the allowance of "individuals" to have control over the LAST WORD and/or VOTE – uh hmm, LIEBERMAN???? The traitor!!

    Everyone wants to Pick Apart – Slice – Crumble – Destroy – Cut – Flush – and KILL the BILL to get so-called BROWNIE POINTS.

    President Obama should, in my opinion, should scratch the whole thing and NOT give Lieberman the LAST WORD or VOTE!!!

    Start all OVER and INCLUDE the Public Option!!

    December 16, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Jon

    The main problem here is that the Dems are trying save only the Government's money, while completely ignoring how much our premiums are going to rise (if you buy insurance privately) or fail to decline (if you have insurance through an employer).

    Medicare is the Government's most fraud ridden program, and to expand it would have been a travesty.

    December 16, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  10. America Shrugged

    Anthony Weiner for President 2016

    December 16, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. Gate

    I voted for Obama but this isn't the reform I wanted. The insurance companies are the problem with American health care. The current bill does little to address that. Kill the bill.

    December 16, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. John Pinter

    Obama just wants to sign a bill, any bill, it does not have to be a bill that reforms as this one doesn't. I'm with Howard Dean on this one throw the bill out. Start over, and maybe this time Obama will show some type of Leadership, instead of Kissing the backsides of Bacus and Lieberman.

    December 16, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Republicans are not going to be happy until 80 million Americans are without health insurance.

    December 16, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. mjm

    "You know, the public option was something that increased competition for private insurance companies and drove down costs"

    1300 + 1 = competition? And don't say ins companies are exempt from anti-trust laws. That’s a flat out lie. They follow state anti-trust laws because every state has a different scope of practice.

    How does adding 40% to high end plans bring down cost?

    Why did Medicare premiums almost double from 2005-2009?

    December 16, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. TG

    Folks, pack up and go to Canada, you have to wait a bit to get healthcare, but the quality is great, everybody has coverage, no exception. Japan is okay too, you have to register and pay a fee based on your past yearly income, but then you get coverage. If you want to stay in the USA, make sure to take vitamins, exercise regularly, and stay away from fast foods and look at vegetarian diets with not too much oil if you keep taking the car to commute everywhere. Forget about it, with all the money being made right now by some of the few, the odds for the "American Dream" for a middle class in this country are getting slimmer and slimmer for the future. And learn Chinese.

    December 16, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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