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October 15th, 2009
10:13 AM ET

Weiner: Nobody would be forced into 'public option'

Lawmakers are hard at work trying to keep the ball rolling on health care reform. The next big hurdle is the so-called public option – a government-run insurer to compete with private plans.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Rep. Weiner told New York magazine that the Baucus Bill is "effectively dead.""]

There are five proposals on the table right now in both houses of Congress. The one passed on Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee is the only plan that does not include a public option.

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner is pushing hard for the public option. He spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday. Below is an edited transcript of that interview.

John Roberts: There are big protests from liberal Democrats and unions over the bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee the other day – the so-called Baucus Bill. Why is it unacceptable to you?

Anthony Weiner: Well, because it fails on a fundamental level, and that is to provide competition and choice for consumers who are looking for health insurance. Look, it's a relatively easy thing to do to provide people subsidies to go buy insurance, but if the insurance companies do what they traditionally have done and what they promise to do in the future, which is keep raising rates, you need to have the public option not only to save money in the bill but to provide true competition.

Roberts: In an interview with New York magazine earlier this week, you said the Baucus Bill is “effectively dead.” What is the basis for that claim?

Weiner: It simply doesn't have the votes to pass in the House of Representatives. I'm not even sure it has the votes to pass in the Senate. I estimate that they might lose as many as 100 votes if they leave out a public option. I recently launched a Web site – where I asked people to sign up to put pressure on some of my more moderate colleagues. 30,000 people, many of them from red states, have said that they want a public option. I think it's where the sentiment is going, but it's also where the votes are in the House and I think in the Senate.

Roberts: The next phase of this in the Senate is going to be to try to reconcile the bills that came out of the Senate Finance Committee and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Senator Olympia Snowe from Maine is turning out to be a real power broker in this and she suggested that maybe there's potential for a trigger for a public option. You write legislation that says if the health insurance industry doesn't bring enough uninsured people onto the rolls by a certain time then you go for a public option. Would that be satisfactory to you?

Weiner: There's already effectively a trigger in all of the bills in that none of them go into effect until 2013. We already were put on notice by the health care industry in a report that you covered on your show. The industry says they’re going to raise rates by as much as 111%. They’re crying out for the same thing I'm saying, which is if they don't have competition, nothing will keep them honest. I think that we've had 40 years of a trigger mechanism to see how the health insurance industry is going to deal with things. Every day 17,000 Americans lose insurance because they can't afford it. So we pretty much know what’s going to happen.

Roberts: The criticism is that a public option would undercut private insurance companies and drive some of them out of business as a result of that, because maybe employers or employees or self-employed people would like to go for less expensive health insurance. They will go into the public plan and every year more and more people will get caught up into the public plan until such time as it's the only thing left and everybody’s covered by what would essentially be a single-payer system. What's your argument against those criticisms?

Weiner: Well, let me say two things. First of all, the public option is not nearly as powerful as those critics like to think. Neither you nor I will be able to sign up for the public option because we have health insurance through our workplace. Secondly, I'll say this – it's a strange argument that they’re making. They say don't have competition for us because the competitors might get chosen by consumers. It's true that a public plan is structured like Medicare is with low overhead, no need to get profits or do a lot of advertising. That's what competition is all about. If the health insurance industry says you know what, we’re going to have to reduce our profits and overhead from 30% to maybe 10% – that's exactly where the savings are going to come from.

Roberts: What you said there about how you and I will not be able to get into the public plan under any circumstances because we already have insurance – can you guarantee someone like me or other people who work here at CNN would not get caught up in a public option at some point because perhaps our employer says it's much cheaper than the insurance we have now or our insurer went out of business? Can you guarantee that won't happen?

Weiner: Absolutely not. I can't guarantee that between now and the enactment date of the bill your insurer won't drop you or frankly a lot of people watching the show may lose their insurance. That's what's going on. Every single year insurance rates go up by about $1,000.

Roberts: What I was asking about is if there's a public option out there – I'm not talking about immediately – can you guarantee that more and more people won't get dumped into a public option because their employers decide to go ahead and opt for that?

Weiner: Nobody gets dumped into a public option. No employer can choose the public option. Only an individual can under the bills that are being contemplated and it’s only for the group of those that are uninsured. One thing I can't guarantee you is you’re not going to lose your insurance. People have been losing their insurance at a rate of 17,000 a day because they simply can't afford it. What we’re trying to say is if people find themselves without insurance and they want to shop, they have an option. Not a requirement, an option to choose the public plan. And if people say we can't give that option because it might be less expensive and better quality, that's an argument against competition, and I think we need competition in this bill.

Roberts: I know this is a hypothetical, but if this goes through the entire process, comes out of conference and the final bill does not contain a public option, will you vote against it?

Weiner: Well, that's what I'm asking people to weigh in on at I can tell you something, if it doesn't have something in it that contains costs – and I haven't seen a mechanism besides the public option that does that – I don't see any way that I can vote for it, and I would not be alone. It would not get the votes to carry in the House of Representatives and not only that, it won’t be successful. The bill will not contain costs unless we have it.

Filed under: Politics
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Andy

    Why is every one so paranoid about the government running healthcare?! I honestly don't know. Let's reflect on what life was like for seniors and people with severe disabilities before Social Security. Let's reflect on what it was like before unemployment insurance. Let's reflect on what it was like before Medicare and Medicaid. These are all government run programs.

    Now, let's take these program off the table, all at once. What would life be like? How many millions would suffer? What would happen to our parents and grandparents? What would happen to our economy? There is no single organization in this country that would take on these tasks. And, if one did, the cost would sky rocket because they would have to make a profit.

    Now let's talk about the government running healthcare. Do you realize that government (Federal and State) spends more than 55% of healthcare dollars in this country? WOW! We already have a government run system, or at least a system paid for by government, except that: the drug companies prevent government, the largest purchaser, from soliciting competitive bids for drugs; the insurance industry gets between 10% and 20% of every dollar that government spends in Medicare and Medicaid; and we pretend that we have a private healthcare system. The only thing private about it is who makes the profit.

    So why is everyone paranoid about government running the healthcare system?!

    November 9, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  2. bret

    what we need right now is jobs. creating this public option will not help do that and in fact will end up with the closing of all private insurance companies. Also i think you all need to look at doctors and the work they put into becoming one. Do you think they will want to go through all that to make nothing. So less doctors in the market will make it so health care will become rationed. I feel bad about some people not having health insurance but not bad enough to give up personal choice for govt rationed.... medicare and medicaid are broke. Social security benefits will be gone in the near future. I have worked for what i have and do not appreiciate being told what i have to do. N opt out for states is the biggest bunch af balogna

    November 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  3. Rick

    A public option for everyone is necessary. Without a public option available for all citizens a bar cannot be set on insurance premiums. Once again this will lead ever increasing premiums charged by the insurance companies! A public option for all citizens will not eliminate competition but rather promote vigorous c...ompetition in the insurance industry. At that point insurance premiums and benefits will correct themselves in the marketplace.

    November 9, 2009 at 8:19 am |
  4. ed

    "Why is everyone so paranoid about the Government running health care? The government runs the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security"

    these programs and the military, are some of the most screwed up systems within our country! that's why people are paranoid.

    i have 3 family members in the military, and nothing has ever gone smoothly for them. 1 of them got deployed to afghanistan for 9 months, came home and was supposed to get 30 days of leave, to recuperate and see his family, and ended up getting called back to work after a week, and when he shows up, the call-back was sent accidentally. but since he and his company were back, they forced them to go back to work anyway, and they never got any time off. he was gone for 9 MONTHS!

    Veteran's affairs for the military has to be the WORST possible health care that you can be offered in this country. they are slow, and incompetent (from all the cases within my family that they have TRIED to handle).

    social security regularly is denied to people who deserve it, and just as regularly is given out to people who do not. and every day, funds are given to cases for which it was not meant for. the whole SS system has been warped into a backup welfare. lets not forget that its near broke.

    Medicare and Medicaid may be the best looking programs that the government has, but that doesn't make them great. for starters, its essentially 80/20 coverage. which means you can still be left with some HUGE bills if you don't have supplemental. second, there must be something very wrong with both of these programs if we must replace them with a public option or single payer system. although in my opinion, why don't people who need health insurance, apply for medicaid? if its not accessible to these people, then why not make it more accessible so that we dont need to tear our entire system apart, and then all of these uninsured will be covered. it just doesn't make any sense.

    November 6, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  5. k gibbs

    In Massachusetts we have a form of Public Option put into effect by Gov.
    Romney. It amuses me that the Republican party does not refer to its
    existance. So far it seems to have worked fairly well.

    November 4, 2009 at 8:54 pm |

    why are insurance companies still doing so well ,after all .those that can afford it( and most seniors can) still buy supplemental insurance and are on medicare all my 65 yr old friends on medicare pay extra for supplemental insurance most are in 40,000 to 50,000 yr earnings

    November 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  7. Christine

    I just want to know.....WHY is it OK that Healthcare is even ABOUT PROFIT!?!?!? Just think about that a moment. How and why are we at this place where the main discussion is more about the money insurance companies make/don't make and not about caring for the sick and needy?

    October 26, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  8. Andy

    While deriding the Public Option as a cost buster, one of your guests just stated that Medicare is almost broke. What he failed to mention is that this very successful program has helped to extend the lives of seniors across the country; and that its success underpins its budget problems. Would he have us step back from this success?

    October 26, 2009 at 8:29 am |
  9. Rob

    Why are we taking good health care for those of us who pay for it, for those of us who have insurance, and making it ok health care for all.

    If public option passes and the government says to doctors this is how much we are going to pay; doctors are going to have to take more patients to make what they are now, which will create longer waiting lines. I could not understand why any doctor would sign up to accept government health care plans when they know they are going to make less money or have to increase their work load. Eventually we will see more clinics set up. How great will the care be at a cancer clinic?

    Who will pay for this? What will happen when companies who right now contribute to their employees health care say, cancel their insurance and let them get government care. How much will this really cost the country in money and in lives?

    Obamas plan to give everyone their fair share will cost the american people dearly. How dare the government say tisk tisk to you for having health insurance we need to let everyone have ok health care.

    I have an idea. If we are tired of raising costs..... then get rid of all the technology which costs us. Since certain people feel they would have to pay too much, dont offer them MRI's, CAT-SCANs, advanced cancer treatment.

    Hey Obama, you dont like how health care is now, dont touch mine!

    October 18, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  10. Wayne

    Public option or nothing! The public option will happen. Too many people are tired of the tired people against it. Then as the tired party and its followers begin to dwindle our great country will truly be great again. Congress will work for the people rather than insurance companies.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  11. masgap

    Now I've heard everything. Health insurance will close it's doors. What nonsense! Under the public option there is only one real option. It is the option that the health insurance companies opt to make 20% profit instead of 40%. Competition is the key. This has always been
    good for the country. Get real!!

    October 16, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  12. Paul V

    It really amazes me that so many people out there reall think that a Public option is really bad. Like seriously. How many things that we take for granted now that the GOVERMENT runs? You would think that America was being built right now, not that it has existed for the past 200+ years..

    Without the public plan or some kind of non for proft optional plan. Normal business practices will continue. They will (insurance companies) rasie your rates. EVERY SINGLE CHANCE THEY GET. Until they reach the point that they know they can not get anything more out of you. Your health is NOT there concern. It NEVER was. They run a business, not a charity. They don't care if you die, only that you PAY.

    Remember folks the only point of any kind of INSURANCE. Is that it is there IN CASE OF. NOT WHEN YOU DO, get sick or something bad happens. No one plans to get sick. The money they collect from their customers is a pool of resources. So they can pay out to those that get sick. Since everyone does not get sick all at the same time. They can pay those that do when they need it. These same companies can then kick you out of that plan or drop you when they feel like your costing them too much. These companies want to make a profit. If their customers are costing them more, and they are making less proft. They rasie the rates to compensate. They drop customers to compensate. They lower there payouts to doctors to compensate. On and on and on.

    A goverment run plan doesn't have to worry about PROFIT, or worry about dropping you. Cause they actually do care that the COUNTRY runs and functions the way it should. The more people that work. The more taxes are paid to said goverment. They actually have a vested interest in KEEPING YOU ALIVE AND HEALTHY. That's how the goverment gets paid PEOPLE!!! If your dead your not paying taxes!!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  13. Mitchell

    Remember the video of Obama speaking to I believe the Service Workers Union. He stated that he wants the single payer government plan. He also plainly stated that after this plan is in place that it would take 10 to 15 mabey even 20 years before the health insurance companys are forced out of business. Look at the video and then really believe that forceing the insurance companys out of business is not a goal.

    October 16, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  14. DEN

    This public option will be a disaster. Wake up America!

    October 16, 2009 at 7:32 am |
  15. Max

    I am conflicted. On one hand I understand the glaring need for universal insurance and on the other I can understand the tremendous cost that would burden the underpaid individual with. It is unfair to the private market to simply add the United States Government as new competition. At the same time, costs need to be checked WITHOUT comprimising care of the patients.
    One could argue that is immoral to profit at the expense of other's well being, and frankly that is what our healthcare system has become. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not providing care. In my opinion there are two options: A public option that is limited to the number of clients (either by number, socio-economic status, job status etc.) or complete governmental regulation over the costs of healthcare without a public option (and increased taxes to compensate the extra 50 million customers for a 3 company market).

    October 16, 2009 at 4:11 am |
  16. Andrew

    I see that you, parroting the likes of Orin Hatch, are fond of telling us all exactly what will happen in the wake of a public option being made available (with an estimated enrollment of less than 5% of the total market) without giving us one shred of factual evidence. We do know, however, that these companies will continue to raise rates at many times the rise of wages or cost of living. I have a question for you Pat. What value does private insurance add to our society? What do they do that makes them valuable? I'll tell you how they remain profitable. They ration care. Every day, all the time. They make it difficult for people who work hard, play by the rules and pay their premiums to receive their rightful benefits. IF and thats a big if ( ie post office/ups or private/public universities) the government plan eventually drove those in the insurance industry into other sectors that ACTUALLY PRODUCE THINGS OF VALUE, maybe that would be because its what is best for the country. I can already hear you screaming socialist.... just like they did about Medicare and SS.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:45 am |
  17. Judy

    If we do get a health care plan approved by 1-1-2010, am I understanding that it will not go into effect for 3 yrs. What happens to people who are in need of insurance before 2013? How do their health problems get taken care of? Wil insurance companies step up and work with the uninsured and provide affordable insurance with no pre-existing problems clause, no limit on coverage and lower out of pocket costs (everything that will be in the new health care plan)

    October 16, 2009 at 2:35 am |
  18. Erin

    My insurance rates increase with startaling regularity.I beleive a public option may force my insurer to rethink raising my rates,or perhaps lower them.I am not saying I would opt in myself,but it sounds like a good idea to me.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:06 am |
  19. Daryn

    Pat (above) says, "It may take a few years, but the government run health care system will force the private ones to close." Oh, you mean like the Post Office did to UPS and FedEx? Like the VA does against all the other hospitals in the area? And, using that "logic", won't providing food stamps and welfare make everyone stop working and just stay at home on the dole? If we make alcohol legal, won't everyone become an alcoholic? These nonsense arguments, and their nitwit authors, should be ignored. Will the government-run insurance option be the best of all plans? I seriously doubt it. It will be a functional basic plan, not the best available, but better than nothing for lots of us. So why would anyone think people will flock to this baseline government option if they did not have to? There's lots of free food at the soup kitchen, but most people still feed their family from the grocery store. Give me access to affordable healthcare!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:05 am |
  20. Lilly

    Keep the government out of our lives.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:02 am |
  21. drrch

    Healthcare is a service and should not be a business.
    All americans should have the freedom to choose if they prefer private or public option, even if they are employed or not, that is democracy, right to choose an option.
    All (except USA) developed countries have Single payer option.
    Why we do not. All sectors agree Goverment program like SS, Medicare, medicaid. Why dont have a General medicare for everyone?

    October 16, 2009 at 1:08 am |
  22. Airforce2000

    The public option is the only thing that will save America from health insurance practices of kill people every single day that they deny them needed surgerys.

    As a Vet. I want the public option.

    America will be much better off.

    October 16, 2009 at 12:55 am |
  23. Andrew

    They need to throw the whole bill out. It is just another way we are giving the government more control over things they should be left out of. Our Founding Fathers are probably rolling in their graves over this. I challenge everyone that is for this health care plan to read it over; not only are we going into extreme debt with it, but illegal immigrants are completely entitled to it.... Go figure Obama 🙁

    October 15, 2009 at 9:13 pm |
  24. Janelle

    I noticed that Rep Weiner was very adept at avoiding the questions being posed to him. He would not answer what happens if your employer drops your health coverage? Also, if this bill only contains health insurance reform, and not reform across the board in the health care industry, it should not pass. If the costs of actual health care are not addressed and brought under control, nothing will stop the drastic increases in insurance premiums, even the public option will become unaffordable and the government will go bankrupt.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  25. Cory

    It's ridiculous to assume anyone's forced into it (for some value of force).

    Nobody's forced to USE it. They're just forced to PAY for it (well, at least all of it that isn't covered by the premiums of the people who are on it; i.e. the people who can't afford insurance). And their existing insurer.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  26. Steve

    If it is so good, then why have everyone of our so-called representatives voted to keep their existing coverage.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  27. Steve

    Hey Louise, look how screwed up all those programs are. Ask people in the military, how they like their health care system.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  28. Fred

    I think lots of people have the argument about public options and worries about health care quality. Insurers surely do their best against it because they are never on the people'side, with fear that they might lose more profit. I wonder why people are against it and side with insurers because they fear that their health care quality will go down. This is a selfish, callous attitude. Wait until you lose insurance from work then how would you feel? To me, public option can be like a big company going to buy insurance for you. Uninsured people can buy insurance here. Like a big company like IBM or Intel ...., the public option can leverage with insurances to get their premium in check, not raising ridiculously year after year. No employers can buy insurance with the public option and no employers can drop or deny insurance to their employee.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  29. Paul V

    The public option is there for those that currently don't or can't get insurance thru there employer. Either because it is too expensive, or their employer doesn't offer it. Or even because they are unemployed. Those companies/businesses that DO offer it, can't get the public option. They HAVE to keep rolling on and or shop with the normal insurance companies out there. If they do NOT want to offer insurance anymore (there choice currently). They MUST contribute to the public plan, as too would any individual that works (employee) for said company/business that wants the public option. They CAN so choose to get there own private insurance at whatever it is being sold for.

    The idea behind this is do to competition. All businesses that currently use health care as a means to get better talent to work for them WILL SHOP around for cheaper, and or better coverage. So IF/WHEN insurance companies decide to increase there profits, and raise rates. Businesses may say, "screw this, we will go with the public plan". In turn causing Insurance companies to "lose" money. They (insurance companies) will want to "make money", and there by HAVE TO compete. They compete by LOWERING there rates and plans they sell. OR by giving you MORE coverage for your dollar. So that you stay with them.

    If the public plan works the way I think it will. It will not cover EVERYTHING, cheaply. Or at all (abortions, cosmetic surgeries) But more then likely will cover lots of the basic things for cheap or free (no out of pocket costs to very little). Much of which current insurances CAN do if they so choose too. However, haven't or don't.

    Business by design don't want to lose money or go out of business. In which case they make NO money. All business need to and MUST compete. That's how we all have choices in the things we buy. The board members and owners of each of these Insurance companies will want to and WILL FIND a way to make money in-spite of competition. IF they are worth their salt.

    People need to realize that we need a party (government) that is not interested in profits before the health and safety of the people they govern and protect. Insurance companies serve a purpose, but they are COMPANIES after all. They MUST and HAVE too make money. That's CAPITALISM. Which is fine. But, that should not come at the cost of YOUR LIFE. When your life gets in the way of a businesses choice of make money or you die. Guess which one they will pick? Oh, and they rase your rates on the healthy ones. Just in case.....

    October 15, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  30. Tony T

    I hope this whole mess implodes on the Dums. They keep saying public option for competition, which will coast a trillion dollars. HEY KNUCKLEHEADS!!!!! Remove the federal rules saying insurance companies can't sell across state lines, right away the 1300 insurance companies would provide instant competition AND ITS FREE TO REMOVE THEOSE RULES!!!. What aren't these ignorant people not getting?? Come on Nov 2010 time to lose these far next nutjobs that only want to pave the way to a single payer system, under the guise of helping all Americans. These bills DO NOT EVEN COVER EVERYONE, wasn't that the purpose?

    October 15, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  31. Linda

    Pat, you are wrong that the public option will force private insurers out of business. My daughter lives in a European country where they have a public option and private insurance. The two live side by side just like public and private schools, the post office and FedEx and, if you are a citizen or legal resident, you may choose which you prefer. It works just fine AND the cost of health care and medication is a fraction of what we pay. Option means choice. I have an excellent "cadillac" plan here from my employer and I have less choice under my current plan than my daughter has. My rates shoot up every Jan 1 like clockwork and I have been turned down twice for surgery that they deemed "not medically necessary".

    October 15, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  32. Reggie

    The congressman makes perfect sense. People are scared to death that their employers will drop their insurance and will be forced into a publice option. Well the truth is employers ARE ALREADY dropping insurance and people are forced into using...........wait for it......................NOTHING. NO PLAN AT ALL. GOING SICK, WORKING THEMSELVES THROUGH PAIN AND DYING. By the way when did everyone start believing that the insurance companies were such a great thing? Are they really looking out for you? Stupid scared conservatives......

    October 15, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  33. xxception

    There is no such thing as a public option. Call it what it is, government option. Also, to think it won't kill the insurance industry is being blind to facts. There is currently NO law stopping insurance companies from writing insurance for Medicaire age people. However, no insurance company does. Why? Because the government option DOES NOT have to compete on an even playing field. The government isn't interested in making a profit and can operate as an open money pit into which we throw money (exactly as it currently does).
    Louise wrote:
    "Why is everyone so paranoid about the Government running health care? The government runs the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. Why can’t people see that this public option would allow people who are uninsured to afford to get health insurance. The average health plan today costs over $600 a month for an individual. How can anyone afford this if they’re only working part time getting the minimum wage?"

    It's not paranoia, but nice try at denigrating the opposition in order to dismiss their point of view. The point is, with the exception of the military and waging war, the federal government ALWAYS spends more money for less results than the private sector. The Post Office is a perfect example. Many laws have been passed to give the Post Office a competitive advantage over FedEx and UPS. Yet, the Post Office continues to lose taxpayer money year after year after year and they STILL can't tell you where your package is while in transit. Also, if you care to take the time to educate yourself. Take a look at what percentage of people making minimum wage are adults trying to pay for a family's insurance. You will find that number very low. The VAST majority of people workign for minimum are high school and college students working part time jobs. NOT, adults. Even if they were, I think it says a lot about ANY adult working for minimum wage. Hell, when I got my first job as a 16 year old, it took me less than 2 weeks to show management I was worth more and get a raise over minimum wage. If I had a stronger work ethic at 16 than adults do now, the adults with no work ethic are the problem and not the system they are in.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  34. gunnar429

    the public option provides competition to bring down costs of those people in this country who are presently uninsured. They either are self-employed or do not receive health insurance from their employer. The costs for an individual (even a healthy one) are astronomical! This will help bring down costs for the 46 million uninsured citizens of this country. When they get sick, they go to the emergency room, causing long waits in emergency rooms and costing taxpayers money which could be paid for by insurance. Many of these uninsured are not seeking any pre-emptive care so they are less likely to avoid catastrophe. Many times, preventative screenings can lead to early detection resulting in a cheaper treatment for the patient as well as prolonging healthy life. This is not only a moral thing to do, but it makes good fiscal sense. My teacher always told me,"you can pay me now or you can pay me later (either way you're going to pay)." When it comes to the public option, I couldn't agree with him more.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  35. Travis

    This is pretty simple to understand. If you have a job and it provides you insurance NOTHING CHANGES.

    If you are purchasing your insurance individually then you will be able to change to a cheaper public option and an insurance company WILL LOSE YOUR BUSINESS.

    Said insurance company will have to lower costs by reducing overhead (i.e., PROFITS) to become competitive, thus some people may again choose private insurance becasue it will be comparable to the public option. This will also drop the costs for employers to provide insurance.

    INSURANCE COMPANIES WILL NEVER GO OUT OF BUSINESS because there will always be $$$ to be made, not just the HUGE PROFITS they reap from us today.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  36. Rob R

    Why are some of us so afraid of insurance companies going out of business? Can anyone point to an insurer who is losing money these days? Can anyone point to an insurer who has not amassed great profits during our worst recession? Since when does enterprise not involve risks? Why should we continue to prop up these profit-driven companies who are squeezing every dime out of our pockets? Why should I CHOOSE that?

    October 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  37. Bryan Danek

    Health Insurance Companies will not have to go out of business as Pat indicated. The thing is that they are making huge, unbelievable profits by cutting employees and cutting people when they do get sick. These companies just will have to realize that their profit margins will not be what they used to be if a public option is introduced. Profit is great and the heart of capitalism but these companies have put profit before duty which should be to provide affordable coverage that covers people when they need to use its benefits. We need to start thinking about real American lives being lost above the insatiable greed of CEOs and their board of directors who care more about their bonuses and returns to their stockholders.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  38. RTB

    A clear thinking congressman. It is so obvious that a single payer is the real way to go. A public option is a good replacement. There is no other way to keep those scoundrels running the health insurance industry at bay and give real choice to the public.

    October 15, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  39. Stephen

    He says the arguments against the public option are nonsensical, but his explanations are the nonsensical ones. If I'm not allowed to purchase the public option because I have workplace insurance, and employers are not allowed to buy the public option... exactly what competition does the public option provide? And why would that be better than expanding a three-company market to over a thousand?

    October 15, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  40. Melissa

    I'm with Weiner on this one. At least he's someone that gets it and is telling us the truth instead of blasting lies all over the place.

    October 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  41. Pat

    The public option is no option. What will happen is the public option will force all other insurance companies out of business. This is simple since the government health care is being funded by all of the tax payers in the US. A much larger pot of cash then any private health care insurance.

    Since we are being forced to have insurance, the public option will be the only option when the other insurance companies shut their doors. At first there will be choices. Over time, the government run health care is the only one that will be there. Then there is no option. The government run health care will be the only heath care.

    How exactly is that choice? Think long term not short term. It may take a few years, but the government run health care system will force the private ones to close.

    October 15, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  42. A.B.

    I would like to see H.R. 3200 with a robust public option be presented by Congress to President Obama for his signature and approval. However, If this bill does not contain the public option, liberal democrats should vote against it because it will not be real health insurance reform and without the public option, healthcare costs will not be contained. The public option is integral to containing costs and must be in the bill!!

    October 15, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  43. Louise

    Why is everyone so paranoid about the Government running health care? The government runs the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. Why can't people see that this public option would allow people who are uninsured to afford to get health insurance. The average health plan today costs over $600 a month for an individual. How can anyone afford this if they're only working part time getting the minimum wage?

    Also I have a comment about the ACLU allowing prayer in the military. Why doesn't the ACLU move to Afghanistan and see how much freedom they have there. They shouldn't even be given the time of day. They are traitors to this country and nobody sees it, and this same military defends their rights. How sickening.

    October 15, 2009 at 11:22 am |