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August 21st, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Health care reform without 'public option'?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama is still defending his plan for health care reform, and Americans and lawmakers alike seem to have no loss for complaints about what's on the table. That includes the so-called public option.

This would create a government-run insurance program that would create competition for private insurance companies. The idea behind it is that it would force them to bring down costs. It would also provide an affordable option for the 47-million Americans who currently have no insurance.

Americans speaking out at health care town hall meetings have voiced numerous objections to the plan, including privacy issues. Republican Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming says it would be a bureaucratic nightmare. Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota said earlier this week that the public option is dead because there simply aren't enough votes in the Senate to pass it.

The White House has indicated a willingness to back away from this part of their plan. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that no bill will pass her chamber without a public option.

All of which should make for a very interesting September when the Congress returns from its August recess.

Here’s my question to you: Can health care reform happen without the so-called public option?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Tom from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania writes:
Please. Each side has its own set of facts and there really isn’t a plan to argue over. This is nuts. We could have insurance reform, without single payer public option, but the reform was supposed to be that your life doesn’t end when you get laid off or get sick.

Lucy from San Francisco, California writes:
Yes, I think reform can happen this time around without the public option. However, if this does happen, I don't think this is the last we've heard of the public option. It may even be a good idea to put only a few pieces of reform in place at a time, so that change is not too dangerously drastic.

Barry from Wantagh, New York writes:
Absolutely Not. The public option is key to keeping the insurance companies from complete dominance of the health care market. Without competition there is no reform.

Ken from Michigan writes:
Why not? Better yet, let's fix what's wrong with Medicare and Medicaid first. Then, give us tort reform, followed by clamping down on abuses in Medicare and Medicaid. Then create an expansion of Medicaid to cover the uninsured. When a water pump fails on a car, you don't go buy a new car, unless your a Democrat in Congress.

Annie from Atlanta, Georgia writes:
No. If we can’t get a bill that makes health insurance competitive, as opposed to the greed we’re dealing with right now, why bother? And wouldn't it be nice if the insurance industry was sinking $1.4M each day into health care instead of lobbying against reform. Makes me think Obama must be on the right track.

Lin writes:
It's not real health care reform without the public option. Period. Many of us would have preferred a single-payer plan, so for us, the public option is already compromise. When my husband's insurance under Cobra expires, I will be considered uninsurable. Too bad I can't get my cancer to put itself on hold until social security kicks in.


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    Jack, it could happen, but it wouldn't be worth a damn. The CBO has already shown that co-ops won't bring down costs, and republicans already have them sighted for their blockade.

    The truth is we need a public option, as proven by the fervent lies and antagonism on the part of private insurers, in whos' hands our futures are now gripped. We can let them continue to drain the middle class and sully our politics, or we can finally stand upfor ourselves.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  2. The Broker.

    You are part of that Public. You may try to distance yourself.
    But you can't.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  3. Alex in Seattle

    Health care can happen, but without the public option, cost will continue to grow. Not for profit health care will cost only 70% for the same coverage by comparable for profit health insurance programs. They take 30% off the top so their CEOs can make, on average, $12,000,000 per year. I'm all for capitalism, but the health insurance companies take a higher percentage than casino gambling!

    August 21, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  4. Ralph Nelson

    I think so, but let's face it health care is a "natural monopoly" and therefore should be subject to regulation just like local natural gas companies, like the telephone companies were, like the railroads, local regulators oversea prices and allow "reasonable" profit. When was the last time you saw an ill patient going from hospital to hospital seeking the lowest priced operation? Do you see hospitals advertising operations in the newspaper to drive down costs? Isn't there something in the Constitution about the "welfare" of the American people? I think that includes the people's health. Who decided the greedy should be allowed to get wealthy off the deaths of others? Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  5. Brad, Memphis, TN

    The right wing is always asking if we want a bureaucrat between us and our health care. I'd much prefer having a version of Medicare than keeping the blood-sucking leeches (for-profit insurance) between us. There's a lot of us who remember when concerts cost a fraction of what they do now before Ticketmaster. Just like concerts, health care is in the hands of professional scalpers. Without an option that removes the for-profit scalpers from the equation, we are doomed to pay ridiculous costs to attain 37th in the world in health care.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  6. Joe From Woodbridge, NJ

    It's obvious our [public] opinions have landed on deaf ears in the past, what makes anyone think our [opinions] will matter now?

    The Senate didn't poll americans for Korea, Viet Nam, or Iraq, but we got them!

    To Russia with love.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  7. Kerry Florida

    The only way health reform will do what it's intended to do which is lower healthcare costs, curb rate increases, and provide preventive healthcare to all Americans is like in any other business. There has to be competition or you have a monopoly and rates will continue to go up and people will be told the doctors they have to see and if they will be covered or not...

    And with a public option maybe the insurance companies will quit paying our representatives to lobby for them with lies....

    August 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  8. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    Unless there is a public option in this package whats the use of considering it ?

    August 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  9. Bruce from Newport Beach, CA

    The public option is essential for reform It will be able to charge lower premiums because it won't have the marketing overhead of private insurers At the very least it will be a haven for those who are denied coverage. Private insurers careful about rasing premiums and losing customers to the NEW competition.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  10. Bill from pa

    No, it cannot. Without the public option it is simply another big giveaway to the insurance industry. The insurance industry, as with the banks, credit card companies, etc. act as a block when it comes to setting prices and conditions for customers. They are in business to make as much money as they possibly can. The best interests of patients is not their priority. Never was, never will be. Their past conduct repeatedly confirms this. Only a non-profit, government-run plan has the ability to put the public interest first.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  11. Bruce from Newport Beach, CA

    -correct version

    The public option is essential for reform. It will be able to charge lower premiums because it won’t have the marketing overhead of private insurers . At the very least it will be a haven for those who are denied coverage.

    Private insurers will be careful about rasing premiums and losing customers to the NEW competition.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  12. Jay in Texas

    This has never been about health care reform. It's been about enriching the big insurance, pharmaceutical, and hospital corporations. Obama put the "public option" out there to gain public support knowing he could pull it out at the last minute to appease these giant corporations who elected him.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  13. Mike, Michigan

    Would you please stop falsely reporting that 47 million Americans are without health care? You know that many of these refuse health care for some reason or another and 20 million of these people are illegal immigrants and aren't American citizens. This is precisely why Pelosi wants a public option. It would be so much easier to to "include" these illegals in a government run option. Why do you think she didn't fight the "no illegal" amendment in HR3200?

    August 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  14. Tom, Bradenton,FL

    Finally we are having a president who wants to do something good for the American people and what are we doing? Give him a hard time. To all the cost questioners. We spent $5 trillion in the last 8 years and we got nothing to show for it, nothing. I am all for health care.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  15. Millie Castillo, Ohio

    Jack: I don't see how any public health reform can work without the public option. The health insurance companies are doing everything they can to block this effort because then they wouldn't be able to have their fancy buildings, big salaries, increased premiums and oh yes, cherry pick their clients. Has anyone asked Republicans how many health care lobbyists are in their pockets?

    August 21, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  16. Dolores Surprise AZ

    It probbly can happen but it shouldn't, people should have a choice. I'm a senior and on medicare and I'm sure not worried about "Pulling the plug on Gramma" Maybe I should be, I'm a great Gramma...

    August 21, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  17. David Alexandria, VA

    Absolutely, Jack. The public option was the left's code word for socialization of the health care system. They must think we're stupid if we don;t know that. Even a smal public option would begin to turn the tide against private insurance and put the government smack dab in the iddle of our lives in ways we don't need. Besides, if Congress could not rein in costs by regulating the insurance companies, what makes us think they can do it if they own the plan?

    August 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  18. June Cuthbertson

    I keep thinking (hoping) that someone will ask Obama and his bunch if they will be covered under the govt. run health care that he says will be so good for us. Will he as well as all the Wash DC lawmakers
    drop their top of the line medical coverage that costs them nothing to be in the same plan as the rest of us? Ofcourse I know the answer to that question but I want to HEAR him say it. And now that I've written this email will I be put on the 'enemy list' that I've read about.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  19. Joe CE

    Idoubt that we can cover everybody without apublic option – fnot doing this would make any Bill a failure.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  20. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Not less they can find something else that means the same thing in order to get private insurance companies to lower their rates. We need a healthcare bill that has some teeth to it and public option are those teeth. Democrats better get used to the fact that no matter what they takeout of the healthcare bill the republicans will not vote for it.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  21. Rebecca in SC

    The better question is whether it should pass without a public option. A small but angry and uninformed minority is at present getting all the attention. Instead of focusing on dramatic nonsense, we should be looking at what the proposals for a public option really involve and what they will really mean for millions of Americans. The fact that the proposals would require a public option to be self supporting shows the concern about its cost to be a red herring. The fact that the public option is meant to be one of many choices–an OPTION–shows the concern about "government takeover" to be a red herring. It will be sad for our country if our elected officials allow the small, angry, uninformed minority to carry the day.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  22. Beverly Mystic, Iowa

    It CAN go ahead, but shouldn't. Barack wants everyone to have the best insurance possible, so there MUST be a public option. Flip-flopping Grassley changed his mind about wanting to co-operate, now NONE of the Republicans have anything constructive to offer. They know that taxes won't be raised when the reform finally goes through, so what's their problem? We know that they don't want ANY changes made, so they'll be against everything. We also know, from recent campaigns, etc., that there are no depths to which they will not stoop, no lie too bizarre, as long as they get what they want. the Party of NO: No scruples, no compassion, no morals. Grassley was hired to represent me, and other Iowans, but he has shown his true colors, with his outrageous lies. He doesnt care about us at all. Iowans aren't easily fooled, so now we feel only contempt for him. If he's planning to win another election, he will have a very rude awakening. His political days are numbered, lke the Republican Party itself.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  23. Talitha

    Without a public option, there is no "real reform". This so-called "CO-OP is nothing more than another name for an insurance plan that will continue to bleed the public dry. It will always be: the CORPS. against the average citizens, especially when the CORPS. include our elected officials.

    Talitha
    Walnut, Ca.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  24. Bruce from Newport Beach, CA

    -final draft-(this time I used a spell check)

    The public option is essential for reform. It will be able to charge lower premiums because it won’t have the marketing overhead of private insurers. At the very least it will be a haven for those who are denied coverage.

    Private insurers will be careful about raising premiums and losing customers to the NEW competition.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  25. Kevin Washington

    Yes, pass the bill and lets work it out as we go.When we
    went to war ,we did not no one day to the next . Stop the
    excuses and lets make it happen its badly needed.
    Health Care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Kevin Riv. CA.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  26. william fitzwater

    It is a open ended question. Can reform really happen at all. Congress as a governing body can agree to the Iraq war quick enough and all its costs . However when it comes to health care these barriers are put up like no deal with out a public option. All these barriers to the question which is what is reform & what is not. Who will take a loss and who will gain. Which political philosophy will win out on this debate. In my heart of hearts I would prefer single payer but it is not going to happen.
    I am wondering if they are taking odds in Vegas on this question.
    My odds is reform will happen which shape it will take form in is any ones guess.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  27. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    If it sounds to good to be true.................well we all know their fuzzy math doesn't calculate as they say and this experiment will cost trillions and ruin our healthcare system in the process. Take a look at Medicare and realize the government is NOT capable of handling our healthcare. We all want reform, but NOT this.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  28. Robert Clayton

    Health Insurance reform without a public option is a cruel joke - most of the other parts of the reform package do things like require that people get insurance, or that businesses provide it, but do not provide for meaningful control of insurance practices - particularly costs.

    In Colonial America, fire insurance companies ran the fire companies - the fire-fighters - so if you hadn't the proper company placard on your house, they wouldn't fight your fire. Since this endangered others' houses, cities created fire companies, either public or as public utilities, with utility commissions to regulate them.

    So it should be with health insurance - either a public company to compete with the insurance behemoths, or regulate those companies heavily, especially if you provide them with a bountiful crop of new customers.

    Health Utility Companies - what a concept!

    Bob

    August 21, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  29. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Yes Jack it can and it's going too come hell or high water it dos'nt make a differance what you or I want the president has made our minds up for us after all thats the government way.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  30. Tamara

    Dear Mr. C: I support President Obama and health care reform. It seems there is an important "teachable moment" at hand vis-a-vis the Cash for Clunkers program. The auto industry seems to be in agreement it is a good idea, but has been poorly managed. Don't dump the program, fix the bureaucracy. Fears surrounding government involvement in health care won't abate until the administration can show they won't muck up a good thing. I hope Obama learns that concern in government involvement is real, and must be addressed. If he can't fix This program that nearly everyone agrees can continue to be good for our economy, how do gain confidence that a revised health care system with government at the helm is going succeed? Use this teaching moment Mr. President ... look, learn, listen. We need what you are offering, but we need confidence in its delivery system.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  31. sheldon, Deloraine, Manitoba, Canada

    Reform without a public option will only result in the status quo. The best evidence to what insurance companies beleive about the presence or absence of the public option, is the price of their shares. When it was reported that the public option was off the table, share prices of the insurance companies shot up. In a free market economy, rewards go to those who are stronges, is this not proof that public option has a direct effect on insurance companies. If this option is not on the table, then all the US will have is the status quo. The status quo is not refrom. The US will remain to spend far more than any other industrialized country on health care, and achieve far inferior results. On the positive side, if the public option is off the table, then I believe that investing in the health insurance companies would be the prudent thing to do.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  32. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,

    Wow, any health care reform minus the public option will translate to the status quo we have right now. A big win for the medical insurace companies that are trying to kill this option in order to save their own necks not for any real health care reform...

    Vinnie Vino
    Central Islip, N.Y.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  33. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    There would be no reform w/out the public option, it would only be another government window dressing project while it’s business as usual. What’s the point? There needs to be a real alternative to slap down and put the industry in it’s place with real competition, and only the government can do that and still survive. They have gotten away with murder (sometimes quite literally) for too long. No public option, no 2nd term. Can you hear me now Mr. President?

    August 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  34. Jack Martin in Florida

    Most likely it won't pass. The public option would make it work. Without a public option the whole healthcare bill becomes
    meaningless. It is called a "poison pill". Something used by our congress to kill a bill. When will our congress pass a bill that benefits the public instead of benefitting corporate millionaires? Never!

    August 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  35. Bruce St Paul MN

    Sure. They can call it the Illusion of Healthcare Reform Act. Its not like people are dying, or going bankrupt, losing their homes, forgoing diagnostic tests and ending up with life-threatening illnesses. Its not as if businesses can't afford to pay for coverage for their employees and still be competitive. If those things were true, you would think the government, even the Republicans would be trying to do something about it. maybe a single-payer plan that would cut our costs in half, or , failing that, at least a plan with a public option. .

    August 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  36. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    Of course not ! Over 70% of Americans have expressed their desire to have public healthcare. The only people that have suggested any sort of question about this are paid insurance shills and television talking heads looking for a fight. The fact is we all hit the streets last summer to get Obama and the democrats elected because we want healthcare. At the election the people spoke and gave democrats the mandate to get healthcare for all. If the democrats fail to stand up with pride for public health, you have NO IDEA about the rage that will be unleashed in townhalls and polling places. It will make a good news cycle !

    August 21, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  37. BigD Flippsville, Mn

    President Obama has Opened the Door for Bi-Partisan Input + Mature Constructive Discussion + "PLAIN OLD HARD WORK + COMPROMISE" but All Obama + Dems have Gotten is Ridicule, Sneers, Thumb to the End of Their Nose + Belittlement for No Other Reason than "Just Can't Get Over Their Loss in the 2008, Game of Checkers??"
    It's hard to Do the Right Thing When They're Use to Pandering to Their Rich Buddies.

    There's a Lot of Work that Could Be Done for this Country But Not With an Attitude of Resentment + Hate Which is Derailing Themselves in the Process?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  38. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    Without a government controlled public option, there will be no meaningful health care reform. Coops are also private sector enterprises that have been around for some time now and their effect on controlling health care costs has been insignificant if any so far; in fact many have failed. Just because coops may be not-for-profit does not mean that they do not want to make any money. If coops are the answer, why aren't our uninsured already signed up?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  39. Mary Texas

    If people are gullible enough to believe the death panel myth, they are hopeless. Looks loke talk radio and the republicans have succeeded again. No wonder we have no reform in decades. I don't think we ever will.I have lost faith in the system.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  40. JOY KELLEY

    As I told the President when I wrote him this week, he has veto power for all those little nay-sayers who are snug in their good medical coverage at the national level, and out across the nation. As my friend Pam always said, "If you're gonna be a bear, be a GRIZZLY." The American people are behind Obama, and those other folks better figure that out if they want to enjoy Washington much longer.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  41. Annie, Atlanta

    No! If we can’t get a bill that makes health insurance competitive, as opposed to the greed we’re dealing with right now, why bother? And wouldn't it be nice if the insurance industry was sinking $1.4M each day into health care instead of lobbying against reform. Makes me think Obama must be on the right track.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  42. James E

    If there is no public option, and we don't take control of our own healthcare situation here at home, it's just a matter of time 'til THE Communist Chinese Corporation buy's up our entire healthcare system. I want it owned and controlled by Americans!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  43. Frank Horner, Philadelphia

    The only real competition will come from a public option. If no public option is offered cost will continue to rise and more people will be either uninsured or under insured. With 50% of the hospitals in the red the quality of care will decline because of costs.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  44. Matt - Kalamazoo, MI

    Until the President, Senators, and House of Representatives agree to switch to the plan it has no chance. Nancy Pelosi threats mean little, she's less popular then Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.

    Matt – Kalamazoo, MI

    August 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  45. Roger

    Jack
    I got it! Wait until Blue Cross, Aetna, United et.al go broke then Congress can buy them up like AIG and GM, kick the management out and presto. We've solved the Public Option.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  46. Harvey Yalkut

    Well, I wrote to our President and said that if there was no public option, we might as well not have a plan. In fact, I concur with MSNBC that the public option should be a robust one. I am a senior and the Medicare program has been the most wonderful insurance I ever had. I also think the government should sell medigap insurance to reduce the debt of medicare.

    I'd love one payer, but minimum, is a public option, even if it means a 51% vote.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  47. Christine Higgins

    I am disabled on SSD. Medicare will not pay for and/or fix dentures for any senior UNLESS they are on kidney dialysis and in renal failure. Tell me, why do you have to be dying to get teeth? LlTERALLY, you have to be dying to get teeth! Will Obama continue this insanity or will there be any kind of health care for seniors regarding "teeth"? This is very serious to many seniors whose dentures don't fit right after 30-40 years, and they cannot chew properly and it is pitiful! Comment?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  48. Tina in FL

    It can happen without a public option, but that would be a disgrace Jack. My husband lost his job this year and it would have cost $980 per month to continue his insurance under COBRA. Our family coverage through my employer now costs a total of $13,000 per year (including employer's share) and we have a $4,000 deductible. Every year we spend more and more and get less and less. An affordable public option is desperately needed.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  49. greg bennett

    Let me pose a basic question , how can ANY government office handle a monumental effort such as healthcare when thet have trouble with Cash Foe Clunkers ( paying the auto dealers ) and have u seen the state of the VA recently ?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  50. marlene, portland , OR

    Jack, it can pass without public option – but the unions and progressives will be sitting out the mid-terms in 2010. Let the chips fall where they may…has been Congress’ attitude on this whole fiasco… so if they care so little about real reform and providing an alternative to the health sharks on wall street – the voters will respond in kind. Good luck with the GOP majority in 2010

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  51. John, Fort Collins, CO

    I can't see where a healthcare reform bill will pass any time soon, with or without the public option. My mental image of "the bill" is of thousands of pages of paper on the floors of congress with people wandering through the mess with confused looks on their faces. President Obama and the Democrats in congress still have a lot of work ahead of them.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  52. Donald of Tampa Area

    Jack, if we do not get a public option the insurance companies will win an other one, and screw us all again. Unless we own stock in them or are the CEO, Insurance companies are not our friends.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  53. Emily DeHuff

    No, as long as our health care system is essentially for profit, people's well-being will always take a back seat to insurance company earnings, and our access to health services will be rationed by insurance company employees whose job it is to keep them from spending money on our care. If anyone's going to get between me and my doctor, I'd rather have it be a government bureaucrat than an insurance company bean counter. Medicare for all. It works just fine.
    Emily in Newport, OR

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  54. patty/ Vancouver Island

    Why does the average American not see that private healthcare is filled with greed....why does the average American believe the hype that somehow the rest of the world is out to lunch on a government healthcare plan..
    A public option is not perfect but the key word is option...then the private greed filled health insurance companies will be forced to change to stay alive....how is that not a good thing?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  55. Tony

    Sure it could pass but it shouldn't. I don't see what seems to be the big fuss about the public option. It is called an OPTION for a reason! When the HCR Bill passes, if you as an individual do not like the public option then don't take it, and let someone who desperately needs it become covered.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  56. Richard L Megas

    Why are we even considering this nonsense? If you want to government healthcare at its finest, look at any VA hospital or Indian reservation.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  57. Floyd Vahalik

    The public option is needed to force the insurance companies and drug makers to become competitive.

    Whys is everyone so afraid of it. Couldn't the public option be written as a sunset law. At least we would see what would happen

    Floyd

    Ammon, ID

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  58. jesse sammons

    the dems are smart enough to know they have to pass something even without the public option just to avoid republican gloating for the next two years. but without the public option it will just hasten the demise of the system and fill the insurance company coffers with public money.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  59. Randall

    I sure hope not, Jack. I am a college student. I am currently unemployed, and lost my employer-paid insurance, so I don't have any health insurance at all. I'll be damned if I'm going to be taxed to make things easier on those who already have coverage. I NEED A CHEAPER OPTION!!! How about giving college students a break on health care? Right now, students can only get "catastrophic" coverage at a reasonable price. If this country wants to invest in its future, how about helping out the students!!!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  60. Locksley, Senoia GA

    No Public Option, No Reform! Period!
    It is time we take so much of the profit motive out of providing for the health care of the population. It is a dereliction of duty on the part of the government to have abandoned us for so long to the whims of greedy corporate executives who, without considering the health of an individual, and without any medical qualification, can determine level of health care based solely on how much profit it makes for them. All those conservatives (read: Blue Dogs) and Republicans should be ashamed of themselves to be suggesting we stick with the status quo!

    Oh, by the way, the Blue Dogs were elected as Democrats, and everybody know the Democratic agenda, so why are they suddenly acting as Republicans?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  61. erik72

    Without the public option there is no real reform: just window dressing. The question is how much will the Dems cave to insurance industry's increasing corporate influence.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  62. Jacque D (Oregon)

    No Public Plan, No real reform!!
    Without a public plan there is no way to control the cost or even the activities of the insurance companyies. It would just be another ineffective contribution to the deficit, the last thing we need at this time.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  63. JP

    I hope that it can not pass with out a public option. I think that insurance reform is the most important piece of the puzzle, but the public option is huge. I do not want a healthcare bill that does not include it, because it will not have the same impact on reducing costs for uninsured Americans.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  64. Allen

    NOPE! The health care industry has shown it can't be trusted to provide health care to all Americans at prices that can be afforded by all. They want to pick and choose their customers and ration the care they provide. Without the govenment option there can be no reform that would be worth the word "reform".

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  65. danny

    If there is no public option, there will be no healthcare reform. If we dont drive down costs via the public option the insurance companies damn sure wont. If there is no public option, i will exercise my public option to vote Barack Obama out of office.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  66. harold matt6hew

    lets put it this way if he takes that out of the bill we will take him out of office next time.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  67. Mike

    No meaningful reform of our failing healthcare delivery system can happen without a public option. Anything short of that is like putting a band-aid on a cancer patient. The public option will undoubtedly prevail; the only question is whether it happens now, or in 10 or 20 years, when stranglehold of the private insurance lobby has caused even more damage.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  68. Ryan

    If the dems fail us in and not put in the public options they will never get my vote again.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  69. Ray Riverhead NY

    There can be no real health care reform without a public option to hold the HMO's feet to the fire.

    Imagine what FedEx and UPS would be charging if there was no US Postal service.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  70. kaiserfuji

    True health care reform can only happen with the public option. As long as the playing field is level with private insurance companies by requiring the public option to self-fund via premium payments with no ongoing tax payer subsidies competition will lower overall health care costs and benefit all americans.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  71. John from Newark, Ohio

    Jack, no doubt a bill can be passed into law without a public option and it might even accomplish some useful reforms. But, in order to accomplish the most important goal — cost control — the public option is essential. So, the idea of health care reform itself could be discredited if put into effect without its most important component. In fact costs could climb even faster than the are rising now as more people are brought into the system without a check on the insurance companies to keep them from gouging the system and defenseless custoimers at will.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  72. Roger Chambers

    No. From an economic standpoint, a single payer (governmental) plan would be best. However, a public option of some sort is essential for real reform. If a bill is passed without a public option, I hope President Obama has the courage to veto it. Better no bill at all than a lousy one that provides for no real reform and no nearly universal coverage.

    from Utica, New York

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  73. Ann from Charleston S.C.

    I am amazed that any legislation happens with all the misinformation, scare tactics and dirty tricks used by both sides. I personally like the co-op idea, but have no problem with the public option. How it will all end up is hard to tell, but I think, being the optimist I am, Obama will come up with the means to get health care reform passed. We do need it.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  74. J P Earls

    Something *called* healthcare reform could be passed, but insurance companies would still be standing between people and their doctors.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  75. Tony in Missouri

    I'm sure it can still happen, ...but why compromise on what those uninsured Americans need most, ...the public option. Did you see how confidence "slipped" at even the mention of removing it. I say leave it alone, ...pass the bill. And why do people keep asking the same questions over and over again. They've been answered. Read the bill.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  76. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    A public option is the first step toward socialized medicine. There are better options than that. Tort reform, extended patent lives for medicine, and co-ops that bring people together for more bargaining power would all work in the current environment. They'd save money and make healthcare more affordable to all. Also Jack you should clarify that 47million people in America are without insurance. That is different than 47million Americans.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  77. James, Brooklyn-NY

    No, healthcare reform cannot be without public option. Insurance companies would have the last laugh, without the public option it would be like mascots, the american people will be seen as dummies in front of the whole world because we would be diagnosed, treated, and put to death whenever the insurance companies feel like it so the answer is no, Jack no.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  78. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, Health Care reform WILL happen in some form. Bet on it! The Democrats must force this issue into law, regardless of the costs or the adverse impact to the nation's economy, if for no other reason than to show the Republicans "we won, you lost, live with it". You need to understand also, that Health Care Insurance Reform and Health Care Reform are two separate issues. Insurance reform without the public option would cost almost nothing, Care Reform and the public insurance option will cost Trillions of deficeit dollars.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  79. Gordon J. Pratt

    Yes we should have a public program. But with funding being a major issue, let's try this. How about selling bonds, much like U.S Savings Bonds, to fund the program. The government could sell bonds to citizens, and pay them interest on their investment. The selling of bonds would really make government accountable, because if investors don't like what is happening they will sell their bonds thus taking their money out of the program. Selling bonds seems like a good idea because government would be forced to watch spending and maintain tight control of the program. Also, part of the funding could come by making legal sports betting across the country.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  80. Gary - Woodhave, Michigan

    Reform is to re-form, not remain the same.

    If a public option is not include the bill will only be a few different processes, any slight savings from these processes will be passed on to the executives of insurance companies as bonuses, pretty much the same..

    Insurance and pharmaceutical fat cats will control the elected officials, which is about the same, just the same old greed and egocentricity.

    There is a saying used by psychologists to define dysfunctional groups, it is, “the more we try to change the more we stay the same.”

    S.O.S Jack, and I don’t mean save our ship.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  81. Mike (Studio City, CA)

    No meaningful reform of our failing healthcare delivery system can happen without a public option. Anything short of that is like putting a band-aid on a cancer patient. The public option will undoubtedly prevail; the only question is whether it happens now, or in 10 or 20 years, when stranglehold of the private insurance lobby has caused even more damage

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  82. Dirk from Long Beach

    My dad had a conversation with someone working for a company working in health care. This person said how the public option is so terrible, and how everyone who wants that option to move to Canada. The company said person works for, rents sleep apnea breathing machines to people on Medicare for more than their cost, making a huge profit and ripping off our government. It sounds like this company is getting a sweet deal as is, and doesn't want anything to change. I'm considering my move to Canada soon, by the way.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  83. Darren

    Without the public option, what's to keep the insurance providers from running amok a couple months after something else distracts us, or cherry-picking young, healthy, customers and letting someone else worry about those not healthy enough to pay them?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  84. SHARON: Anchorage, Alaska

    YES, it can & should happen without a public option. Congress should fix what is broken first; then repair (not replace) the rest in a timely & sequential fashion. If your older car had a flat tire, would you replace all the tires in good shape or just get out the spare? Would you lift the hood & replace everything under it for a flat tire? NO, as common sense dictates you pull out the spare & change the tire. As money & time affords you repair or replace the worn, misfiring, aging items with newer parts. Why can't Congress just keep it simple, stupid?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  85. mike from silver cliff co

    Sure they can, I have multiple sclerosis and medicare is worthless. I must get my expensive meds from a private source.. I would move to Canada if they would take me.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  86. alexandria mabry

    Why can't the government monopolize the paper industry. The profit on toilet paper alone may cover the cost of healthcare.
    Cooperstown, NY

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  87. Dave

    Why is it called "The Public Option"? Why isn't it called what it is; Government Insurance? And the only way the government can keep health care costs down is by dictating those costs, not through honest competition.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  88. Tony

    Why is it there is no uproar from Seniors that when you are 65 the Govt mandates Medicare as your primary and your private insurer as secondary if you are still covered by a private insurer at 65 or older.
    No option but Socialism instead. Govt takes has no right to take our choice away. We should be able to to make our private insurer our primary at 65 or older! Jack please ask Mr. Obama about this!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  89. Kelby in Houston

    The public option IS healthcare reform. All of this other nonsense is of no consequence. We shall have our public option.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  90. Nick D'Amico

    I don't see the point in even having a discussion about health care without the public option. Why would we not want a form of Medicare for all of us? It works!
    Nick

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  91. Bill Means

    I am certain there are some options out there for a health plan without a public option. However, any plan without a public option would make be very suspicious, given the strong lobbying going on from the private industry. The argument that a public option is needed as competition is very logical and might keep costs of plans down. More importantly, a public option might set the standard for more humane, patient-centered care and guarantee health care for those who cannot afford issurance.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  92. Joe - Cleveland, OH

    Jack – The pharmaceutical and insurance lobbies have got enough cash available to them to own the FDA, the FTC, all of congress, most US hospitals (including the Cleveland Clinic), the AMA and thus all their doctors. This entire health care bill will be so watered down by the time it gets passed, it won't matter if there's a public option or not.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  93. Anna Maria

    Why bother with health care reform, HCR, without the public option.
    America needs reform in form of a complete overhaul.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  94. David A Whitaker

    No Jack, beause it would be business as usual the insurance would have no reason to change their policies. The prices will continue to go up, because they know that no one has the nerve to go after the Insurance company.
    David
    Martinsburg, WV

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  95. JMBarrett in No Prov RI

    Jack: the people fighting hardest against the public option have to be members of the insurance industry, an off-shoot of Wall Street. And Wall Street, as we have all learned this past year, is all about profits. Every poor person in this country can lie down in the street and die and no one would give a damn. In fact, the powerful and wealthy would applaud. I have health care, and I think every American should have it too....not just the lucky ones whose companies offer it, or the very rich who don't need it but have the best policies money can buy.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  96. Jenny, Portland, OR

    Jack –

    I am one of the millions of people in this country that can't get health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. I need help now! If a bill lands on the Presidents desk that does not have a public option, but has reform that deals with discrimination in health coverage – he must sign it! This is a civil rights issue as much as anything else. I am a single mom with three children, I am not looking for a handout, I am looking for insurance. I am a liberal, I believe in a public option – but I also believe in reform. We can fight for the public option, but lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater if we can't get the whole thing.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  97. Char Flanagan

    No. Without a "Public Option" the Insurance Companies own us. They have their way with us. Jack, how can so many Americans fight against their own best interests? Is the phrase "Public Option" too sophisticated for them? Let's try "Public Choice " or, "Your Choice – List of Health Care Insurers – PS: That means you choose" DOH!!!!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  98. Joel in Dubuque

    Jack, without a public option, who is to give the insurance companies competition? These clowns on the hill, such as my Seantor Chuck Grassley are so busy counting the money he gets from health insurance lobbyists that I doubt it will pass. $2.7 million he recieved last year, do you think he will change anything? You know the answer. But God knows we need it. Without it, the insurance industry has another blank check to steal from the rest of us.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  99. Bobby Mack

    The health care debate should be split into two issues, Health Insurance reform and how to give health care to the uninsured. The uninsured will require some type government assistence because the private sector will not respond to this need.

    Bobby Mack
    Rio rancho NM

    August 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  100. Ron

    Simple answer – NO. The Senate won't pass it WITH the public option. The House won't pass it WITHOUT the public option. What we'll get will be a watered-down slap on the wrist to the insurance companies that ASKS them to be nicer. Then, in 2025, health insurance will explode from $14K a year for a family to $80K – the same as the predicted average family income. Health insurance will become a luxury of the wealthy only. The rest of us will be going to Canada for our health care – and be damn glad to get it there. Nothing has been done in the last 20 years – why should we think that anything will be done this time?

    Ron – Oklahoma

    August 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  101. SHARON: Anchorage, Alaska

    YES, HCR could & should happen without a public option. Congress should fix what is broken first; then repair (not replace) the rest in a timely & sequential, piecemeal fashion. If your older car had a flat tire, would you replace all the tires in good shape or just get out the spare? Would you lift the hood & replace everything under it for a flat tire? NO, as common sense dictates you pull out the spare & change the tire. As money & time affords you repair or replace the worn, misfiring, aging items with newer parts. Why can't Congress just keep it simple, stupid?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  102. Ken, Long Beach, CA

    I think it will have a better chance passing with more votes if a non-profit coop plan is implemented, rather than a public option.

    Someone needs to put a leash on Pelosi and tell her to back down. I would like to see healthcare reform, but there has to be compromises. That includes getting the GOP onboard. We all know they are still sore about losing the election, but it will backfire on them if they are not participating as a team to help the nation rather than wall street.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  103. Dave, Seattle

    If there is no public option then by nature it's not health care reform rather insurance reform. Due to the symbiotic nature of our congressmen and women (on both isles) with the insurance agencies it will likely be toothless, leaving the American people with more of the same broken system, increased insurance company profits and a bunch of our representatives patting themselves on the back.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  104. mike k - caledonia, mi

    HCR can happen without a public option, but it won't do anything to decrease the ever-rising costs. The only way to bring down the cost of insurance, co-pays and deductibles is to introduce real competition.

    Nelson and Backus along with the Republicans are against the Public Option because they are getting huge sums of money from the Insurance Industry lobbyists to make sure they stay against this option.

    The Insurance Industry is no different than Wall Street, AIG, Big Oil and the Credit Card Companies. Each are taking major advantage of average Americans while making record profits. It is almost unbelievable that the very people who are 1 health crisis from bankruptcy are against reforming this industry.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  105. John Miller

    The public option will be run like a non profit organization. This may force the health insurance companies to reorganize as non profits. This means that any profits are reinvested in the company, resulting in lower premiums, rather than being used to pay bonuses to upper management. In my opinion all health insurance companies should be non profits.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  106. Jermain

    It's got to be a public option, life is about options. Anything less would be uncivilized!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  107. Rick

    It would be useless to pass a bill that does not include the public option because the foundation of Pres. Obama argument for this is to make health care affordable for all... that would be like Dick Cheney awarding no bid contracts to Halliburton for the purpose of peace!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  108. Cindy, Seattle WA

    A public option? So much talk, making it sound all but impossible. But the public option is the key to health care reform and the President needs to forge ahead through all the noise, which is meant to confuse and distract. It is an important moment for America and the deep pockets should not be the only winners.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  109. James In Idaho

    Jack, If you're asking if the Bill can get passed without the public option the answer is yes, but if you're asking if the bill will actually work if it doesn't include the public option, the answer is no.

    The past fifty years has been filled with a plethora of non examples of insurance companies putting public health over greed and their bottom line. Like other trickle down economic theory, it is based on the notion that the have's are compassionate towards the have nots, when in truth, they're just as selfish as the rest of us.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  110. Terry from NH

    Over 40% of the population is already on a public health program. You have the elderly, you have the military, you have, check this ,congress!!
    Why can Wal-Mart sell their drugs a $4.00 a prescription and the rest bleed you. It's call buying power. What better buying power then your own government. Your already paying for medicare, why not put anyone who wants that program go on it. If an indivdual wants to keep their present health insurance, let them. You pay for it either way.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  111. Jeff, Haymarket, VA

    To actually obtain true health care reform we must have a public option. This thought that the public option will drive all others out of business will only happen if the public option is in fact more superior in every way to private insurance. If this happens then it is the market that has decided that government insurance is the best system.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  112. Amon Bennett, Bethesda MD

    No. Health Care Reform without the public option is exactly what we have now (Insurance companies who can pull the plug on grandma, grandpa me and you). If Obama does not deliver a public health care option, he will have lost my vote along with the thousands of others who voted for him for this issue specifically. Dear President Obama, you gave us hope, please don't take it away, please don't sell us out to the insurance companies. Where is the Obama I voted for? What happened to that guy?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  113. Christine Higgins

    One way to get Congress and the Senate to pass health care for every single American - take away their health care, make them pay for all their medical needs, RX's, surgeries, etc. Just take it all away from them then they will have enough money to pay for health care for ALL AMERICANS! They are spoiled and greedy and need to think of all Americans instead of how to fill up the RNC and/or DNC with billions of dollars for the next election. Wish they'd read the Bible before making ANY decision!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  114. Nancy - Andover, MN

    Jack,
    Without a public option, there will be no cost savings or real choice for Americans which is what the minority party appears to want for all of us. .
    We have been trying to get this for 70 years in this country – when will we wake up and when will Americans quite believing the lies out there.
    This is the only way to move forward for America and be able to remain competitive. I am surprised that the Corporations aren't backing this.

    Thanks for what you do, Jack!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  115. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – On the objective facts, absent a public option the bill will not actually accomplish heath care reform.. All the arguments against it are specious. Medicare, VA, and rthe Federal employees plan are all already "public options" and work quite well enough. France and Switzerland have mixed public and private insurance with no real issue, except that private insurer profits are lower, as are overall per capita costs, 30-40% lesss than here with better outcomes. We have to get the 47 million un- and underinsured out of ER into doctor's offices, which will, by itself, cut 30% of current costs tenfold (i.e, savings of 27% of current costs,) It is not a big social change – call it "Medicare for all who wish it."

    Read my lips – without a public option, it will not BE reform!!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  116. Claire, Indianapolis, IN

    For true health care reform, we have to have a public option. The co-ops will only be used by the people who would buy insurance if their employers would provide it anyway. Our health care costs will continue to soar as long as hospitals have to raise charges for their services to cover all the uninsured who show up in the emergency rooms. It's really a struggle between the haves and have nots. The screamers at the town hall meetings are all comfortably insured, and they fear giving an inch to their unluckier fellow Americans for fear of losing ground. If we have a public option, all will be covered, and all should pay. Even the lowliest minimum wage earner should pay something. That should satisfy those already enjoying their health insurance. Really, the conflicts at the town hall meetings are more about trying to make Obama look like a failure than solving any problems.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  117. Loni Garwood

    Sure health care could pass but it would not be health care reform.
    I've observed the insurance companies long enough to know that there
    is too much lust for profit for any self-regulating or self policing of health care fees or retrictions to help our citizens who cannot get coverage. Seems the better insurance one has (Tri Care, federal employee plans)
    the more we fight against helping others survive serious illness.
    Tucson, AZ

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  118. Mac Walters, Riverside, CA

    Yes, it can. Co-ops are a good alternative. The government can help, but doesn't need to run them. Now, would someone please bring up the fact that the AMA is a guild and that there is no free market competition in medicine (not counting elective procedures like breast enhancements, etc.)? Let doctors compete like everyone else!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  119. Zachary Rothman

    Health Care Reform CAN be passed without a public option, and it can be done by including the Health Insurance Co-Operative Program that has been mentioned before. This way, the polarized debate over health care can be diffused through compromise; Democrats get another, more affordable option for the uninsured and Republicans can stop worrying about a government takeover of health care. With government start-up funds, these Co-Ops could provide the competition we need to obtain more affordable health care for all.

    Zachary Rothman
    Tallahassee, Florida

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  120. dazed and confused

    Democrats cannot talk about health care reform year after year and then when they finally have the presidency, senate and the house decide to water it down to "co-ops". If they don't get a public option now, they never will because the next time they try to bring it up people will say, "We already had health care reform."

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  121. Victor

    It will be a great disappointment that Mr. President is unable to deliver his campaign promise, if he fails to integrate the Public option on the proposed healthcare bill. He may be dancing to the tunes of the old Washington politics that he was elected to change. If that's the case he's indifferent from Washington.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  122. Paul Boston

    Something may get passed, but it won't be really healthcare reform without the public option because that will exclude all Americans who can't afford the insurance.
    Many of the people that I see protesting are also participating in Medicare. Hummm.
    We are already providing health care in emergency rooms, but at a staggering cost. We must give the population an opportunity to provide their own health care with dignity. A public option would provide that path.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  123. MIKE FREEMAN

    It may happen but it will not be very effective in bringing cost down. That is really where the fight is. Insurance companies want to hold onto their money. So they pander to tthe uninformed and the stubborn southern and country boy racist mentality and we have a stalemate of sorts. Think about it. The obstructionist senators on the controlling committees are all from states that if their populations were added together would not equal the population of any major city in our country. Sad!

    Mike Freeman
    Conklin, NY

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  124. Laurie Anderson

    Without the public option, there is no reform. The Insurance companies currently have us hostage. Do us all a favor. Do some numbers on people that are insured. Not just the insured. You will be shocked what you find. My husband is getting a very needed hernia operation on Monday. He is 61 and gets insurance through work. We pay almost $400 a month, our part only. He makes $9.50 an hours so that hurts. The insurance pays $500 outpatient, $1000 inpatient for the surgery, the rest we have to pay. The remaining for outpatient surgery, $3000, has to go on out credit card... the bank charges 21%. So yea.. do some research on those to do have insurance, then tell us how health care will work without the public option.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  125. greg in Oregon

    No reform w/o a public option.

    Otherwise there is NOTHING to hold the insurance and pharma companies honest.

    This is a simple situation: on one side are the insur. and pharma companies and their ultra-rich CEO's & friends; on the other side are the consumers/patients. WHO's side are you on?!

    of course the people who are being enriched by the status quo do not want ANY kind of reform – so they are doing the same thing as Bush-Cheney did w/Iraq = scare the hell out of people so they won't support meaningful change.

    WHO's side are YOU on?!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  126. alexandria mabry Cooperstown, NY

    Prescription drug companies are making a killing, so, why not monopolize the drug industry. Considering healthcare is such a basic need, it seems wrong for anyone to make a profit off of it. I mean really, 99.9% of Americans will NEED medical attention at some point.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  127. jay kymmany

    I thought the whole idea of health reform was for the government(public) to come to the rescue of the public from the ever greedy multi-nationals and the politicians (mostly republicans) who lobby for them. for me there is no point of health reform if there is no public option. Obama should not relent in his fight for this kind of change is what he was voted for.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  128. Norman whitzell

    Listen Jack, If the Government is so bad at providing services as the private sector would have us believe, then why are they \, the insurance companies afraid of this option? If you ask me, it is because they can't compete when their executive salaries are in six figures. Single payer is more aking to medicare than to some radical new plan..
    Norman in Puerto Rico.

    PS We have a public plan here,,Na na na na na Naaaaaa!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  129. Michael

    No. Without any kind of public option the insurance company" foxes" will continue to have total pricing and delivery model control over the health care "hen house."

    August 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  130. Bruce Emerick

    The president doesn't want health care reform to fail for lack of a public option. He has made that clear. It would be like scrapping a car because the radio doesn't work.
    I'm betting that he will improve Pelosi's thinking to agree with his.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  131. Sharon - Sierra Nevada

    Of course it will pass without the public option. Anyone still under the delusion that the government works for the people must face reality, once and for all. The government works for big-business lobbyists. Unfortunately, them's just the facts.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  132. T Archie

    No public option, no health care reform. These angry pepple why show up at town meetsings are full of racial hatred and rather stick it to the President than to help their own families.

    These angry people don't even care that their Republican politicians are using them to do the dirty work of the insurance companies. The croacked politician gets donations to to their next campaign and whatever else is under the table, while the people shouting down Democrates and the rest of us get nothing; it's insanity.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  133. Larry

    I have listened and read for many weeks about Health Reform. It seems to me the primary question should be ..

    "do we want a healthier United States of America or not?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  134. Erik in Tacoma WA

    Weren't we supposed to get the same coverage as our Senators? I'm still interested in that, however I'm pretty sure that my representative would balk at the idea of swapping with my pile of *you know what* insurance plan. Something has to change and to leave it in the hands of the insurance companies is pure lunacy.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  135. Kathy in CT

    Jack, I take this personally - I have breast cancer and my insurance coverage will run out before my therapy is done. I NEED A PUBLIC OPTION to hopefully save my life.

    These legislators who are hiding behind "upset town hall protestors" are devious liars. There are millions of people in this country and the most recent reputable survey says 77% say there should be a CHOICE of a public option. So when GOP and NRD (Not Really Democrats) legislators say "well everyone at my town hall is upset" - hell, there were probably no more than 10,000 people in TOTAL in attendance at the town halls. Even if every person there was upset (and they weren't, especially at later meetings where supporters outnumbered the anti's), that's still about .001 percent of the population.

    These guys created confusion, then created meetings for the confused to come and shout, and then say "Oh gosh, EVERYONE is upset."

    No public option - no plan.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  136. Steve in Indianapolis

    A form of public option is required! We had a form of public option before the cost of health care skyrocketed, it was called the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, amoung others owned by the customers.

    Then the CFO's of those plans wanted to get rich quick and changed them to stock companies. The price of health has not stopped climbing.

    The same is true for all the non-profit hospitals, all now expensive stock companies.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  137. Walter Ndjibu

    There will be no real reform without public option. The melodrama we are facing today is due to the misconception of capitalism through which pharmaceutical institutions thought they can exploit the people however they want without any interference of the government. That is not capitalism but animality.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  138. Doug Fitzgerald

    Jack- I attended a townhall meeting with Rep. Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-2nd Dist.)- a "blue dog"- who gave a lengthy and coherent overview of HR 3200. I believe no containment of healthcare costs is possible without the "public insurance option". As things stand now, profit-making insurance & pharmaceutical companies and hospitals are competing for the consumer's money without curtailing costs or ensuring quality. There is no incentive for them to cut costs– quite the opposite. The "public option" and state or regional co-ops are an absolute necessity.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  139. Dave, Washington, NJ

    Having the government run an insurance facility is nothing new. It's been done for auto insurance and workers compensation in many states. Lawyers need to shut-up and stop the exaggeration and overstatement that is part and parcel of their line of work and style of debate.

    At this point, let's line up the points of agreement, drop the government run / public option. That can always be debated separately and created at a later time if needed. The shut the lawyers up part should continue.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  140. Walton Brennan

    Hi Jack, the devil is in the details. Obama couldn't define " public option " in a recent Time Magazine interview. He doesn't have a plan. We do know that big pharma and the insurance companies were on board very quickly. Does that tell you something? We need a single payer system ,like medicare that includes everyone. There should be no special plans for congress and federal workers. A single payer plan will improve quality of care and reduce costs.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  141. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio

    SURE !! Except the goofballs in the House can’t think long term.

    The Senators are better at thinking, period. They can see that we don’t need everything now. Just like many other social programs they can be modified. And 4+ years from now we can evaluate how it is working and make necessary changes.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  142. Linda

    Yes. I think health reform can happen w/ public option. People need to use a little common sense. Who is benefitting themost with health care the way it is now? It has to happen.

    As an unemployed worker with a pre-existing condition, and no health insurance, it is hard. I am shopping for a decent plan that my pocket book can afford. With premiums like $500, $900, $600 per month, I can't afford these rates.

    To these people who are so dead set against this, what should I do? I want to live a full productive life like everyone else. Learn the facts before you start railing against this option.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  143. Lee

    No.
    If you don't have the public option, all you have is "tweaking" with the insurance industry – and I have to demand an explanation for why that should cost most of a trillion dollars. What kind of new bailout is that?

    If you legislate that they must cover pre-existing conditions and not drop coverage for sick people, they will just jack the rates for such people so they can't afford it. If you make them give the same rates, they will jack the rates for everybody. How do you think it will feel to pay, say, $3000 per month for insurance. And anyway, they can always drop you – say because they don't like your credit rating.

    You either have to have a public option in competition with private insurance....OR....you can nationalize the entire private insurance industry. The free market has failed us here, and they are not going to suddenly become anything other than what they are now....Greedmongers.

    Lee in San Francisco

    August 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  144. Rick from Murfreesboro, TN

    Without a public option there is NO HEALTH CARE REFORM. Without it things will remain the same, it will be business as usual. There are too many of us hard working Americans who do not have health care of any kind. It is the shame of our nation. The Death Panels of the big insurance companies determine who will live and who will die right now. Where is the outrage against these blood suckers? Where are the grassroots groups disrupting meetings to protest the situation we are in now. The only protestors are those who have been bought and paid for by the Big Health Insurance companies. Our congress people and Senators need to quit listening to them and listen to the millions of us who cry out for help. Represent the people not the special interests!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  145. Tom

    I don't think we can afford to have a public option. Has any one looked at the national debt lately? Also isn't the current government health plan, Medicare, going bankrupt? Most doctors in the Corvallis/Albany Oregon area won't even accept new Medicare patients because the payments are so low. What good would a government health plan do if physicians won't participate in it?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  146. Jim

    This so-called Christian nation should be ashamed of the way it treats the poor uninsured and medically underserved. What would Jesus do?!?!
    Yes we can and should pass health care and health insurance reform. This President will probably not get all he wants–presidents rarely do.
    Without real reform, eventually the 40 to 50 million uninsured will overwhelm the nation's hospitals and clinics. Those with Medicare and private insurance better worry that the emergency rooms won't be available to treat their heart attacks when there is a waiting room full of the sneezing, coughing, moaning and bleeding uninsured. Insuring the uninsured will save billions in medical costs that those of us with insurance now pay.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  147. Nancy, Ocean Park, WA

    As a long term care health executive for 30 years, I am very familiar with Medicare and Medicaid which are very successful models of public plans: organized by a central government system but provided by varying private and public organizations.

    I have been a provider for both for profit and non profit health systems (and because of this wish all health care was non profit....putting profits back into programs vs into investors pockets).

    Currently I am also a small restaurant owner who has health care but can not afford it for my employees. The cost would cause our business to close. We must have a government option to be able to pool uninsured and underinsured and in order to be able to purchase services at reduced costs. A public plan option is the only way small businesses can afford to participate. To date, insurance companies have done nothing to offer help for small businesses. It is amazing to me the difference in costs of health care for my small business vs my larger employer health systems.

    To not have a public option will mean no real change!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  148. John F

    Jack,
    Consider what walmart does for the majority of the american people. It interjects competition which lower prices. No credibility in the health care industry today. Who is the republican party trying to protect. Public option the only way

    August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  149. John Pinter

    Jack,

    The best way to get a public option is to deprive members of congress their health care. The american taxpayers pay 75% of their health preminum the 25% that they do pay is pre-taxed, if they had to pay, we would have a public option in a new your minute. But when you have Bacus and Conrad taking millions from the insurance companies, there is no way. I don't think that those two are aware of the coming firestorm within the democrat party, I am going to demand of my two senators to vote those two off the finance comittee, there is no way the american people can have a seat at the table with them.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  150. John Vanover

    It should be clear to anyone who does not have the mentality of 'a kitchen table' that the Public Option is the only true direct threat to the heart of America's health care disaster: the insurance companies. I pay over $650 a month for health insurance (which can be terminated at any time for any reason). Were a Public Option available you can bet the farm that I would immediately drop that expensive, and restricted, coverage. This is the reason the fear and propaganda campaign, at whatever cost necessary, has been mounted. And only a free press (that means you guys) can tell the truth and do what is right for America – before it is too late. Don't be afraid to say, "this is not true", to the lies.

    Please only use my first name. Thanks

    August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  151. Edward

    The threat of public option should drive the insurance companies to perform more competitively. More regulations usually do not lower the real prices, but the forces of competition inevitably do.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  152. frank

    The real “DEATH PANELS” are the insurance companies that deny a person coverage or raise people’s rates because of pre-existing conditions.

    Frank
    Honolulu, Hawaii.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  153. Scott from Clemson, SC

    I think health care reform can happen without a public option, but something has to be done to keep these insurance companies honest. When it comes to medical treatment, I want my doctor to decide what's best for me, and not my insurance company. Whether that happens through private insurance or government-run insurance doesn't make much difference as far as I'm concerned.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  154. Joan

    No it won't pass without the public option. Nor should it. It would mean that the insurance companies won so they could keep on making their big salaries on the backs of everyday working stiffs. We should really have a single payer system like they have in Britain. People stop listening to the lies put out about the British system. My relatives and friends live in England and they are happy with the system. When I ask them if they would change theirs to ours they always say – NO WAY! They never have to worry about being sick. They can go to the doctor at the first sign of a problem making it the best thing for preventative medicine. My relatives have had all the operations needed and believe me they are healthier than we are in the U.S. People in Washington should get some backbone. They all act like children. Get the problem taken care of and stop the messing.If we had these people in Washington making plans in W.W.II in England we would have lost the war. We had Winston Churchill and he told the people like it is and just get to work. That's what I say to those in Washington. The people elected you to get this job done NOW DO IT!!!!

    Joan

    August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  155. Pam from North Carolina

    We need a public option to assure no 'for profit' insurance company is making the decisions on whether my family gets access to care.

    Medicare's administrative load is 3% vs. insurance company load of 20%; where is their 'value added' in the process between me and my doctor? Are my insurance premiums funding the insurance company's $14.3 million lobby payments to defeat a public option?

    If a public option isn't a viable competitor, why are they spending so much money to make it go away!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  156. Miriam - Washington, DC

    Is it really hard to just have an A-B-C healthcare menu where we can mix and match based on what's in our wallet. Column A is private insurance companies, B is a co-op plan with private and local public coverage, and C the federal public option based on the VA's healthcare and the one Congress receives. Let's see if Congressional officials can say why we can't have a plan as good as theirs.

    Miriam – Washington, DC

    August 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  157. Julian Powers

    Without change, it is death care, not health care. Why don't our elected lawmakers understand what essentially the rest of the civilized world does: enact some variant of single payer which is what humanity needs?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  158. Gene in Andover, Minnesota

    Yes, absolutely we should require a public option in the healthcare bill, because without it ithere will be "business as usual," with all the insurance corporations continuing to dictate the terms and prices of benefits to Americans, and giving obscene pay and bonuses to it's corporate heads! Only when they have to compete with a public option, will we be able to see more reasonable benefits for all Americans. Thus, I believe that a healthcare bill without the public option should definately be voted down!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  159. Ramon Martinez

    Jack,

    Yes it could, but should we settle for reform that doesn't include a public option? The public option it seems to me would be our best hope of squashing the too-big-for-their-britches private insurance and big pharma groups, and their all-powerful lobbyists that have held American healthcare hostage far too long. These groups aren't fighting the option because it will run them out of business, they're fighting it because it will decrease their exorbitant, over-the-top record profits and increase competition in a market they've held over the coals for decades. I like what FDR said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." No more.

    Ramon Martinez
    Emeryville, CA

    August 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  160. Sandra H Howerton Rocky Mount, NC

    It can and it probably will, but it will be reform in name only. In reality, without the public option, it will be just a government give-away to the insurance companies that have been ripping people off for years.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  161. JOY KELLEY

    Cause we have the power of the vote, and we want a public option so all poor people can have health care, just like the rich.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  162. Linds, Ohio

    Yes, I believe that we should pass Health Care Reform NOW with the public option. Without it, we are back to square one with insurance companies calling all the shots They have caused this problem by being GREEDY. We need to stand with the president and not let the right wingers have the final say as they always do. I, for one, am tired of all the scare tactics and lies they are using to try to force there will on the american people

    August 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  163. Keith from Texas

    We could let the republican's call in Dick Chaney and let him meet with the insurance companies like he did with the oil companies.
    Or how about letting the Republican's get with the insurance companies like they did the Drug companies.

    No Way

    August 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  164. Curtis Wampler, Udall, KS

    Not only can health care reform pass without the government option, it should. It will cost billions, do nothing to help most people, and will cause more people to be unemployed when the insurance companies go out of business.

    If we want to reform health care, we need competition within the health insurance industry – not a government option to put them out of business. Competition can start by allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  165. Al

    I am from Canada but have lived in the US for fifteen years. My rates have doubled in that time. In canada I had never had a problem for 43 years in Canada with health care. We need the public option to get the cost of health care down.
    Al

    August 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  166. Tony

    Mr. Obama says Medicare is doing a good job. How about that every member of Congress regardless of age be mandated to make Medicare as their primary insuer regardless if they are covered by a privater insurer.

    That's what the Govt does to the Seniors at 65 regardless if the are still covered by a privater insurer.

    If all of Congress was on Medicare, we would have the better doctors and care that we receive from our private insurer. Would any Congressman/woman give up there private insurer for Medicare!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  167. Larry

    Jack,
    Well we see how well the "Private Option" is working. My insurance premiums are the only thing going up faster than inflation right now. Just for giggles Jack, why don't you look at how much money the congressional members who are apposing this option have taken from the Health insurance lobby. I think that would be a very telling statistic.
    Larry
    Marion, NC

    August 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  168. Terry Gloege

    Until someone can explain how they are going to pay for the medical care to be given the 20 million illegal aliens the President wants to make citizens and their 80 million relatives who will follow under chain migration, health care reform isn't going anywhere.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  169. Mike in Mississippi

    I don't know why the public option can't be an enhancement to Medicare/Medcaid. The tools for public healthcare are already in place. If rich providers weren't playing tug-of-war with rich health insurance companies so they can each get richer, we wouldn't even be discussing this. I say enhance Medicare/Medicaid for the disabled, unemployed, and retirees; and, establish reasonable costs to which the providers and the insurance companies must adhere. Capping premiums and provider charges along with structuring malpractice awards to within comensurate limits seems like a good place to start.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  170. Cary

    The system is so out of finantual ability for so many Americans that it is braking us. It is about time for republicans to stop blocking anything that Presedent Obama or the Democrats come up with that may be worth trying. It seems that it doesn't matter what the idea is, the republicans want to vote against any idea unless they come up with it all by themselfs.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  171. Connie in Florida

    I don't think so. It can change some of the ways the current health care insurance providers do business with us like annual and lifetime caps on coverage and so on, but that's not going to do anything about the PRICE. The ony thing that will drive the price down and make insurance affordable, is having a product that is cheaper. Supply and demand...My premium doubled the last 3 years and the co-pay almost doubled. In 10 years with the same health insurance company, they collected 20,000.00 dollars from me and another 60,000.00 from my employer. In those same 10 years, I had 1 ear infection, 3 anual exams, a mammogram and my daughter fractured her wrist. School physicals were cheaper outside my plan than my co-pay. For what I paid to have insurance, I could now have a small house.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  172. Steve Fitts

    It is not health reform without the "public option". I hate the public option, though. I am for starting all over and scapping the house and senate legislation. I want politicians to be open to a single-payer government run health reform: medicare for all, like they have in Britain and Canada. Yet, the public option is the only way to have real reform because it gives the insurance companies competition, and the public a choice!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  173. Nicole

    If there is not a public option then what use is health reform? Insurance and pharmaceutical companies hold a lot of money and it's evident from their past "payoffs" to government officials that they won't allow anything to pass that will affect their profit margin. If they don't pass a public option then ask the ones opposed to it to give me an address so I can send them my healthcare bills. Maybe then they will understand the position that many of us are in.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  174. Julie Brandon

    Health Care reform without a public option is no health care reform. The present health care providers have had ample opportunity to bring down the costs of health care to date, so that everyone could afford it, but now they claim that now they really, really, really will try harder. PLEEEEZE...what are our elected officials thinking, the only way we will see any meaningful change in our health system is to just bite the bullet and do it. We can't afford not to do it.

    Our economy is in the ditch, businesses are failing at and astronomical rate and everyone agrees it is at least partially because of business' health care obligations to their employees (both present and retirees). Those businesses that are keeping their heads above water are either dumping completely or downsizing their healthcare costs without regard to any negotiated contracts that promised those benefits to their workers/retirees. Soon every American will need a public option because they will be unable to afford a plan offered by Health Care providers.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  175. mamady traore

    health care reform should not pass without public option it is very inportant.

    from = akron ohio

    August 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  176. Patricia/Georgia

    After visiting my republican representative, I realize that they are not interested in helping Obama pass this bill. I asked why cant 8 or 9 republicans just go to his office and say "let work together to get this thing right" and he looked at me with buldging eyes and said "it's not done that way." I asked why not...he had no answer. The public option is an important part for those who have no insurance or want ro reduce costs. I think President Obama as tried to get bi-partisianship but when members of his own party don't want it., I don't know. I think he wants health care and maybe will take what he can get and hope to add or delete at a future date. Whatever happens, we need a reform or we will be putting it back into the insurance companies hands just like the republicans want. When was the last time they did anything for the lower income?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  177. Doug in Montana

    It will take a public option to keep insurance companies honest, to get everyone covered, and to cut down on the $BS.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  178. Bobsie

    Jack:

    Not the kind of heath care reform Obama spoke of pre-election and now and not the kind I want.

    No matter what the Democrates give up, the GOP will always say
    no.. At least that's what seems to be happening. It appears that the GOP is full of greedy sickos.........

    We need a public option so that big isurance will have some
    worthly competition,..
    So do whatever is needed..

    Therefore, please RAM it through you bad-ass Democrates and lets get on with life-after all of your vacations, of course. The very lives of the middle and lower clases are depending on your word...
    Make it the right words--PUBLIC OPTION

    August 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  179. jim Blevins

    While our current health care is well down on the list for quality, there is no doubt that American has far and away the most expensive health care on Earth. Something has to be done to get the costs reduced. Of course, those costs go into the pockets of the insurance companies, so there is strong motivation to block it. A government created, but not controlled Co-op might work, but something is needed to compete with the insurance companies that is not build on obscene profits.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    August 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  180. Ken in NC

    It hasn't happened in the last 8 years while Republicans worked for a bipartisnship deal so it will not work now.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  181. Gabriela

    Any health care reform without a public option is doomed to failure. Competition from a lower cost public option is the only thing that will force insurance companies to stop increasing premiums so that their CEO can add another million or two to their already outrageous compensation packages.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  182. Bob George

    Of course it can, once we stop subsidizing the insurance industry.

    Let's begin by taking back the millions of bailout bucks we gave AIG and use it as seed money to phase every american into an expanded version of the federal employees health plan.

    This has been the answer all along.

    Bob , Sevierville, TN

    August 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  183. Michael McAffee, Santa Rosa, California

    We've been arguing this for fifty years. One thing I've learned is that you cannot legislate common sense. If that were true there would never have been a sweetheart deal for Big Tobacco. What makes you think Big Insurance and Big Pharma are any different? We need a Roosevelt ... you know ... that guy we thought we voted into office.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  184. James E., Morgantown, WV

    Jack, If there is no public option and we don't take control of our own healthcare situation here at home, it's just a matter of time 'til THE Communist Chinese Corporation buy's up our entire healthcare system. Talk about Communism!!! Please, think about this and widely share this idea if you agree! I want it owned and controlled by Americans!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  185. Dr. Gerald Tevaarwerk

    Dear Mr Cafferty
    Yes, the Democrats should give up on the government-run option in exchange for mandating a number of conditions under which insurance companies (and co-operatives) would be licensed to operate: 1. No exclusion conditions; 2. Must offer a basic package of products and services defined by the government and also to include the provision of drugs and basic vision and dental care; 3. Complete national portability; 4. Completely paid for by premiums to be paid privately and/or withheld on the paycheque (like income tax); 5. Make it compulsory to join for everyone below a certain income.
    This option would obviate the role of employers, while insurance companies are afforded an opportunity to make a profit on extras offered in addition to the basic package.
    This approach has been highly successful in the Netherlands, which has one of the best systems in the world, yet the lowest rate of inflation for medical products and services.
    Sincerely, Gerald Tevaarwerk, MD. Citizen of Canada and the Netherlands, married to an American citizen.
    I have practised medicine in 3 different continents and am familiar with various systems,

    August 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  186. Dave in Iowa

    The idea that government involvement will spur competition is almost laughable. This is just another excuse for government takeover of another aspect of our economy. If you really want to increase competition, repeal the state and federal laws that prevent health insurance companies from competing across state lines. That is why there is limited competition on a state-by-state basis.

    Regardless of what side you are on, ask yourself this question; The average employer pays approximately $4,700 per year per full-time employee for health insurance. The finance committee plan will "fine" companies $750 per employee if they drop their health insurance. It's not a "fine", it's an incentive. The government knows companies will drop their insurance and save 85% of their healthcare dollars and put $4,000 per employee straight to the bottom line. If the government didn't want employers to drop their insurance and force employees into the public plan, why else would they only fine them 15% of the cost of their health insurance. Why else would they do this???

    Within 5 to 10 years, most employers will drop their insurance. Then government will blame big business for the growth of the public plan even though they provided the incentive that made it happen.

    If we want healthcare reform, drop the public plan.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  187. Charles

    Although they may ultimately pass a bill that does not include the essential "Public Option," true health care reform will not happen without it. It might be more accurate to call such a bill a "Health Insurance Reform Bill," although even that would have minimal impact and approach the level of a bogus, wasted effort with no real impact. Then we could forget about any improvements for another fifty years or so.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  188. pat

    Look everybody has an opinon on Health Care Reform.
    Does your Congressman or woman want reform or a public option no.
    The American people need to be asking their Congressional Representatives, how much money are they lining their pockets with
    from the Health Insurance Companies and from the Drug Companies?
    I understand the angry, the frustration, and why the public is scared.
    I retired from the Federal Government, my health insurance coverage
    was great and affordable. When I retired the affordability went by by.
    It was affordable because the government paid half of my premimum and I paid half. That is why a public option is absolutely necessary.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  189. Robert Bryant

    Without an option for a public healthcare plan to compete with the current private insurance monopoly of our nations healthcare, there is no reform. It is simply called regulation, a concept that most on the right dont agree with either.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  190. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    I'm not hearing anyone talking directly about reigning in the hospitals. Maybe we should study our current system and analyze and identify where the problems exist. For instance,every three to four months my husband goes to a hospital for testing. Every time I have to call their billing department and complain that we do not owe this money. They agree and tell me that this hospital has a contractual agreement with my insurance to accept their payment as payment in full. This hospital,I'm certain is doing this to other people too because the representatives I've spoken with have told me that there is a "glitch" in their system. They are double dipping. Many folks,especially older ones, are just struggling to pay these bills that they really don't owe in the first place. Impliment some oversight on these hospitals. They are what is driving healthcare cost through the roof. Fix these many "glitches" and the current system will spin like a top!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  191. Steve Barker California

    Jack, There must be apublic option to control costs. As the government has checks and balances to prevent runaway power grabs, a public option protects us from runaway costs. Even the best european health care programs have public options to cover contingencies.

    thank you for asking
    Steve

    August 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  192. Jerry,OK

    Jack,
    A public option would place pressure on insurance companies to lower prices...Who doesn't want that?...Isn't that what reform is all about?
    Medicare does fine without insurance companies, but going to a singler payer program that stops insurance companies from draining trillions off the healthcare system would make to much sense, so lets do the dumb thing, and let them drain off as little as possible competing with the public option.

    Jerry Wilson

    August 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  193. Dennis

    Jack, I thought the whole idea of a public option was to offer health care for those Americans who could never afford health insurance in the first place. Seems to me, without it, health care reform will still benefit only those who have current coverage while those who need an alternative to high insurance cost will continue to do without. I guess it could happen but could you still call it health care reform if millions are still without?

    Denni / Nashville,Tn.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  194. Jean OK

    Without the public option it will be more of the same. The right is only opposing it for two reasons,
    1. they are totally misinformed and being led over the cliff like they were in the past eight years,
    2. it is opposed by those who are only going to vote against this bill in any shape or form in order to destroy President Obama in hopes of a come back in the upcoming elections. Bottom line IS the majority of American citizens DO want this bill to pass with the public opion.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  195. Linda in California

    I am in favor of a public option. Hope our democrats in congress don't back down.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  196. EugeneWiese Midlothian,Va.

    What's in a label? From a marketing standpoint,labels/brand names are very valuable.I don't care what they call it public option,Medicare,or socialized medicine,if the American citizens are covered by a law that gives everyone doctor and hospital care at a resonable price(Medicare is not free,I've been paying premiums for 20 years,at a phenomally low price) with all the stipulations President Obama wants,I will be satisfied,and I think every sound minded citizen should ,except for the profit takers,greedy conservatives,special interests,Liberterians, so called blue dogs,independents,and other half assed Republicans. Gene

    August 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  197. Scott in Oklahoma

    Obama's recent lie about healthcare bills. Obama stated in an interview with Wolf that illegal aliens will not be able to get health insurance under the new bills. FACT: neither bill requires that the government use the E-Verify system to verify a person's citizenship, therefore illegals will indeed be able to sign up for the Government-option.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  198. Jackie in Dallas

    There ARE certain reforms in healthcare that can occur without the public option, but they don’t constitute a comprehensive reform. And that doesn’t help the millions of us without insurance of any type. Only the public option can do that.

    You know, though, I’d settle for limiting the insurance companies from dumping customers who get ill, the unregulated raising of premiums to outrageous levels, or preventing them from turning down customers with pre-existing conditions. That would also have to include limiting the pharmacuedical companies from advertising prescription-only drugs and for charging horrendously high amounts for drugs, and would also including speedin up the access to generic forms of drugs. That still wouldn't cover me personally, but it sure would help a lot of people.

    That’s a start.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  199. Gene in Minnesota

    Yes, the public option should be a requirement in the healthcare bill, and if the Republicans won't support it, it should be passed without them. The Democrats are the majority after all, and the Republican Party has become the party of "NO!" All they seem to to want to do is frighten Americans and deny them any healthcare reform of any kind!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  200. Mike in St. Paul

    I thought that was the entire point. There is a real mindset in this country that you are here to contribute as a taxpayer or you are better off dead, both to yourself and to the nation. You are here to pay 28% income tax, 6% state income tax, 7% sales tax, capital gains tax, license fees, impact fees and service fees, but do NOT ask to get anything back for that, especially if you find yourself in dire straits with something you should have had the foresight to prevent, like a brain tumor or getting hit by a drunk driver. Freeloader.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  201. Greg Alexander

    The public option is essential for true health care reform to come about in the United States. It is the one true way to force down costs.

    You can tell how afraid the insurance companies are of losing their profit margin by how much dust is being thrown up into this debate. This is the fight they never wanted to have; but now that it's here they will spare no expense to put outright lies into the discussion.

    Couple that with folks who simply hate the Obama administration (who knew?) and you have a powerful enemies bent on keeping killing the public option and keeping medical and insurance costs high.

    It's time to take the gloves off and show just how much these institutions lie and overcharge to make themselves rich at the expense of the american people.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  202. Lee in DC

    Health care reform without the public option is like giving your car a new set of tires, a new coat of paint, and a wax when it's missing an engine.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  203. Mary Jane Anderson

    No! No! No! I juat had a simple chest Xray and it cost 797 dollars. There is a need for a public option to controll the cost. I am unemployed and the state health plan they offer for 200$ a month is substandared. I think this is what Mass. may have. It has high deductables and covers only 80% of a hospital costs and MDs costs leaving someone who can't pay with a huge bill. Also it only covers 100,000$ a year which is joke if anything major happens. I know I worked in the health care industry for 30 years.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  204. Chuck From Bethlehem,Pa

    Jack, If there is no public option, then where is the reform? The insurance companies will still make the decisions that doctors should be making. They will continue to base their decisions on the profit margins, rather than a doctor making decisions on the patient's medical need. AND,I bet without a "public option" the drug companies won't be lowering the cost they charge for their drugs. We need someone with the power to purchase huge quantities of medicines that can force the drug companies to lo9wer their prices.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  205. Ray Riverhead NY

    Why doesn't someone make the point that we are already paying for universal health care. Every time an uninsured person ends up in an emergency room who do you think is paying for the multi thousand dollar bill and subsequent hospitalization? Answer: The same fools that have been screaming at the town hall meetings.
    Until America becomes so cold and uncaring that we allow people to die on the street without rendering care, the cost will always fall on the public.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  206. Jorge Rios

    Reform without Public Option will be totally ineffective. The Insurance Companies will just get even deeper into our pockets.
    San Jose, CA

    August 21, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  207. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    That is the question, isn't it? That's one of the reasons 24 hour newscasts are so popular. I think the only way it will pass is if President Obama can overcome the outright lies and fear the Republicans are spreading. Of course, their pharmacutical and medical allies, who fund heir re-election are pulling the strings.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  208. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Of course there should be a public option. More Government always saves money and brings efficiency, look at Amtrak, Auto-bailouts, Medicare, Social Security, Fannie/Freddie, bank bailouts, and the US postal service. All those losses sure add up over time and someone will eventually have to pay the bill. Socialized medicine may work for a few people short term, but in the long-run, our children's children will pay the price and look at us as a bunch of selfish, entitlement driven idiots for bankrupting them and lacking any foresight for the destruction we are causing.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  209. Mary Jane Anderson

    Once again where are polls taken and what age group are being polled I see more support for the public health plan then the polls are telling us. I don't trust who owns the media they are all invested in the health care industry and would loose plenty of money with a public option.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  210. Peggy in Virginia

    Jack,
    There must be a public option to keep costs down and to make sure that all Americans are covered. Those who don't want it and are happy with their insurance company to me are a bit cockey. Who knows what the future holds for them, they may lose their job or in the years to come it may become too expensive for them to keep and now the public option would be great but Congress didn't pass it because those with insurance didn't want it. Also thinking in the long term your child might be covered with your insurance today but lets say if your son has asthma and is out of college looking for health care good luck with that. And when your son asks why his parents weren't for health care reform what do you tell them other than you had yours and good luck to everyone else?? Do it for your kids and grandkids so there are options out there for them that they can afford when it's their turn to look for health care.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  211. Kris

    Jack I say if the big insurance companies & the drug companies were not allowed to pay one dime to a political campaign or hire lobbyists we would end up with reform. The politicians would no longer cater to them for campaign money....and rates / prices could be lowered since they no longer would be throwing that money away. All of that money could be used to improve their product!!!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  212. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    Then it will not be reform the right might trust the insurance industry but they look at the bottom line ;as a country we can do better

    August 21, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  213. Hemril Pilus Grange

    I really hope you reed this Jack. It might be helpful to understand the current debate on health care reform. It was written by a man who knew human nature better that many of us. He said:

    " And it is necessary to be careful that there is nothing more difficult to begin, neither to succeed more doubtful, nor to lead more precarious than to venture to introduce new institutions; because the one who introduces them has for enemies all those to whom the former institutions are profitable, and it finds of hesitant defenders in those whom the new institutions would favor for fear of the opponents, who have the laws for them."

    Machiavelli, The Prince

    August 21, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  214. Rick--NE

    Hey Jack....here's the bottom line, health care costs are outrageous. The whole problem lies with the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and doctors making fortunes. A government ran insurance option would be great....then maybe the insurance companies, etc would have to be more competitive....

    August 21, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  215. Royce Roberts

    We all agree that we want exclusions to end. Without the ability to exclude risk, competition cannot happen This is why everything being proposed including the public option is a bankrupt idea. It is actuarily unsound. The reason Medicare & Medicaide are so expensive is because the Govt has taken responsibility for the highest risk/cost individuals that the insurance companies can't/won't profit from. The only real reform is to take all money currently spent for premiums and taxes and put it into one pool. This eliminates all the doctor's problems with claims process and is the absolute lowet cost option. If we did this it would lower the per capita cost to a level similar to other western industrialized nations, and would not cost a dime more than we are paying today. Oh yeah, and everyone would have coverage! Insurance companies could continue to sell gap policies for those who wanted to pay for it so they would be smaller but not put out of business.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:10 pm |