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September 14th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Is it really health care reform without 'public option'?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If health care reform happens - and it this point, that's still a pretty big "if" - it's looking less likely that a so-called "public option" will be a part of it.

Senator Olympia Snowe - about the only Republican working with the White House on this - says there's "no way" that a plan that includes a public option can pass the Senate. Snowe says that President Obama should drop the idea of a government-backed insurance program in order to get more backing from Republicans:

"I've urged the president to take the public option off the table. It's universally opposed by Republicans."

Two other top senators, one Democrat and one Republican, say that the House version of the health care bill - the one that includes the public option - is dead; and the only chance for reform lies with a compromise bill still being hammered out in the Senate.

Meanwhile some Democrats and the White House are trying to downplay the importance of the public option - saying it's not a deal breaker and that it's just one way to reach the president's goal of covering an estimated 46-million uninsured Americans. Democrats are saying things like "That's a small part of this," or "there's more than one way to skin that cat."

But the fact of the matter is a lot of people insist that without a public option to compete with private insurers, health care reform is meaningless. The president says he still backs a public plan - but that he's also open to other ways to create more competition.

Here’s my question to you: Is it health care reform without a "public option"?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mark writes:
Yes, it is. Health care reform needs to address the following: 1) Pre-existing condition coverage. 2) Tort reform. 3) Transportability (job to job). 4) State-to-state competition. 5) Elimination of all coverage for illegal aliens, including ER services, period. Health care reform doesn't need additional government intervention.

Brian writes:
There is no "trickle down" when it comes to the health insurance companies. They hoard profits and that's about it. A public option is the only way to bring down prices. God bless us all if there isn't reform!

David writes:
Certainly, we can have health reform without a public option. We need to enact legislation that curbs abuses by the insurance companies. We also need to help those who cannot afford coverage, but that should be done thru private insurance. Keep government out of this and it will be more efficient and there will be more support except from the far left.

Bob from Spring Hill, Florida writes:
Stop the dog and pony show, Jack. The entire "health care reform" issue boils down to only one question: Will Congress do what is right for the citizens of this country or what's best for the corporations? The answer has been self-evident from the beginning.

Pat from Lexington, Kentucky writes:
Yes. The provisions for no cap on the amount spent by insurance companies, and inability for those companies to drop you due to a pre-existing condition – these provisions are HUGE and do constitute reform. Obama has said for months that the public option is not a deal breaker and I think they'll eventually come up with something. This health care reform will have to happen in pieces and parts.

Sandra from Arkansas writes:
No, no, no. Without a public option, insurance companies will continue to dictate prices, coverage, and policies. Preventive care will be hard to come by and we will eventually have lots more people on what is the public option now, Medicaid. Give us a choice and assure that all hospitals and doctors honor all coverage.


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. mike k - michigan

    No, without a public option it is some minimal short term gains and major long term pain for consumers. The Insurance industry is spending 1.4 million dollars every day to ensure that there isn't a public option. Does anyone think that they are spending that much of our premiums and co-pays because they welcome real competition? Without that (PO) competition, nothing changes in the long run.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  2. david doherty

    Jack, without a public option, is basicly giving the insurance company's a monopoly on our healthcare, which they've enjoyed for far to long, thats why the cost keeps going up, the goverment is the only possible way of competing with the insurance company's. So no it's not reform! Without it, cost will continue to skyrocket and the hope of getting the uninsured medical coverage will become further and further out of their grasp!

    Dave from NH.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  3. Kristine from Manchester,Connecticut

    I don't think so. We need this "option" to keep the insurance companies from raping us year after year. We need more choices or we will continue to pay up the wazoo as time goes on.
    I still think the USPS is the best bet since insurance reform has been compared to UPS and Fex-Ex. I want the best price and the care I deserve. Right now I wait up to 3 months to get an appointment and forget about a physical, those need to be scheduled a year in advance. There are not enough Primary Care doctors. People need to GET that until we have competition with Health Insurance, the deficit will continue to rise. It did not happen on President Obama's watch, that was a Bushy fo-pas. The protestors think the healthcare will get worse? Worse than it is? I do not agree. I have ANTHEM/Blue Cross-Shield, and except for my prescriptions, I am seeing more co-pays on tests that I did not use to get billed for. Something has to give~

    September 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  4. Marie Ontario

    Well Jack if the administration can make it illegal to deny insurance for people with a pre-existing condition and/or extended illnesses then you will at least have a health plan equal to what Canadians have for their pets.

    After that your country could start working on a health care plan more fitting to human beings in Obama's next term.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  5. Truth Seeker

    True reform cannot take place without a public option to keep insurers accountable and insurance affordable for the masses. Some call this socialism. I say that's crap. As an American contractor overseas I've had the privilege of receiving great care for low or no cost. There is no reason why people should go bankrupt due to an untimely illness. Not in America. A public option is an absolute must!!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  6. Melita in Atlanta

    Well, it could still be health care reform, but it still leaves so many Americans behind. I believe President Obama should pound home the point that this is a MORAL issue–how can a country this great, this strong, this wealthy, leave so many citizens without health care coverage? I saw Gloria Borger's discussion with Wolf Blitzer earlier & it struck me that re: the polls showing how many people think they will be "better off", "worse off", or "no change"–maybe many of us don't think we will be better off, but it is not all about whether or not I am better off; every American should have at least as good health care as I do.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  7. Gary Pijut

    The individuals that protested this weekend against the President's policies represent the far-out fringe of the Republican party and libertarian movements, and shouldn't be taken too seriously. After all, the tens of thousands who showed up for these demonstrations aren't that impressive when compared to the hundreds of millions who stayed home. They've been stirred up by Rush Limbaugh and the wingnuts on FOX news, and are willing to cut off their noses despite their faces. They can only thank themselves if the President's program doesn't pass, and they eventually find themselves WITHOUT medical insurance coverage, and priced OUT of the market.

    Ironically, the biggest block of voters opposed to the President's health care plan (i.e., the age 65 and over crowd) are the ones already benefitting from the "socialistic medicine" they decry, i.e., Medicare. And they're not about to give it up!! Since their motives are purely selfish, they should be exposed as such, and treated as irrelevant to this discussion.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  8. Thom Richer

    Makes no difference. It is time for a referendum for this so all important issue to be decided on by the people...all the people. Not a handful of incompetents sitting smugly in clover in Congress without a worry in the world or any empathy for working Americans. Let us decide by ballot.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    September 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  9. Sande R.

    Probably not. After all, with how people getting plucked of their cash for each hospital visit and stay it would be good to change things up for the better. Or do you enjoy paying out of your glutts?

    September 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  10. Nick Dicandia

    The health care insurance system is broken. It is apparent that this is universally acknowledged. But is the health care "system" the real issue? If there are billions to be gained from reforming the MEDICARE system why do we not attack that issue nowand recover those funds and prosecute the criminals, whoever they are, and there revamp the health care system after that. President Obama should be in office for quite a while and most lasting ledgistration is that that is derived from carefull thought, with spirited negoitation, and presented with out prejudice. Even Jack knows, or should, that there is nothing free in life. Including health care reform.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  11. Jason from Chicago

    Jack,
    why do we need everthing at once. Can we not have tort reform, allow
    insurance companies to compete across state lines and have the government show savings from Medicare etc.. .for two years and revisit?
    Lets try some innovative things that do not cost tax payers money yet.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  12. David from Northern Virginia

    If it's illegal to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and if recission becomes illegal, then premiums are going to go through the roof. Without a public option to compete against, we may actually be worse off than before.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  13. Rob in NC

    What else is reform? You will still have millions without insurance. I know it won't be cheap but what is a human life worth? Apparently not enough to warrant a reasonable discussion about the subject. It is amazing how little is important unless it directly affects you. Rob in NC

    September 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  14. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    No not at all, without it nothing will change people will continue to lose their jobs, homes, cars and life savings! The Insurance companies are only treating the American people as ATM Machines, just like most Big Businesses! They refuse to realize that if your employees can't afford your products, you will lose billions in sells. Henry ford learned this lesson he made his products affordable to his employees, which allowed most Americans to buy a cars and expanded our economy greatly!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  15. Birddog in Mississippi

    It's reform, Jack, but it won't do much to bring down the growing costs of health insurance which is what we really need to do. I think that what people are actually opposed to is the idea of subsidizing people who can't afford insurance and they conflate this with the public option. They don't like the idea of subsidizing people because it seems like 'welfare' and they think people should take responsibility for themselves or pay the consequences. The problem with that line of thinking is that subsidizing people while making sure that they take responsibility for the portion of insurance they actually can afford will end up costing everybody less in the long term than what we're doing now. It's like my mother used to say, "Don't cut off your nose to spite your face."

    September 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  16. Ron from SF

    Without the Public Option, it's just a big wet kiss to the Insurance Companies and their lackeys, Blue Cross Dogs. I'm 100% on board with what’s proposed, if it includes a Robust Public Option, as it solves the problems and gives Insurers real competition. I'm totally against the idea that I have to buy PRIVATE INSURANCE or be fined, so yes this is a deal breaker. Why should I have to pay into some CEO's slush fund? Without a Public Option, that's all it will be and when Americans need real coverage, the private insurance pirates will find a way to screw us out of what we've paid for. As an example, I give you the Banking Reform Bill. Has anyone noticed a difference in how the banks treat us, since this passed? Like Triggers for the Public Option—Heck NO!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  17. Rick

    Making sense of polling numbers. I saw a poll on the Situation Room that said 44% of the people polled said they felt healthcare reform would have a negative impact.on them – Republicans WITH group plan health insurance. 44% said they felt there would be no change – Democrats WITH group plan health insurance. Only 10% said they would see an improvment – Republicans, democrats, independants who have NO insurance. Based on this poll one might think only 10% of the population are for health care reform, when the truth is, the people without coverage, or who have gone bankrupt due to no coverage are in the minority. That doesn't mean they shouldn't have health insurance. My bet is, if 44% of the people polled didn't have health insurance then that would be the percentage of people who beieve health care reform would help them. But what boggles my mind the most in this predominantly Christian country is, why is no one asking the question, "What would Jesus do?" I think it is because they know what Jesus would do but his actions don't fit their pocketbook.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  18. mike from silver cliff co

    NO Jack, it's the same old insurance companies ripping off the consumer. We need to end health care for profit. If the public option is so bad, why do so many other countries swear by it. If ou believe Americans are the only smart people in the world then take a longer look. You could be surprized.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  19. Howard M.-Bolingbrook IL

    The answer to the question is NO! Without some form of coverage option other than an insurance company the rates and situation will not get better.

    Jack I worked for the country's largest Health Care Insurance company for nine years, until 2008. At our company profit and bonus eligibility was all that mattered.

    I worked in Customer Services. I'm a male and I can't tell you how many times I cried after talking to and telling clients that we wouldn't cover or pay the bills and claims they had submitted based on technicalities. I left the job because it was too mentally distressing.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  20. Janice from Collingswood NJ

    No it is not and I will be very angry if Obama signs a bill without one.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  21. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, oh yeah, it will be REFORM, one way or another. The only difference the so called "public option" would make, would be to give employers an excuse to bailout out of providing health insurance after the insurance companies double the price of their coverage to cover the increased risk forced on them by the reform. The lower price of the public option will make it more cost effective for the employers to opt out, pay the 8% penalty to the public option, and let the government pick up the rest of the costs. Without the public option, the increased insurance costs will be split between the employers/insured, and eventually passed on to everyone via inflated prices for products/services.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  22. Ted, Aloha, OR

    WHEN healthcare passes, the President and the Democratic congressman up for re-election will be a shoe-in. Very simple math... If only 10 % of the 40 million plus who currently have no insurance can now get it, it will make the GOP candidates look like the party they really are. SELFISH turkeys. Mrs. Palin will be the perfect leader for these oafs; she indeed does know what to do with turkeys.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  23. Pugas-AZ

    Without the public option mucho Democratic votes will dry up at the next election. It's not healthcare, it's votes.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  24. Billy from Minneapolis

    While I support Obama, I believe Health Care Reform without a 'Public Option' is still Health Care Reform. My position stands with my Senator, Amy Klobuchar, who wants to see cuts in the cost of health care. No matter what the final document for Health Care Reform looks like, the bottom line is...will it reduce health care costs. If Obama wants more support for a 'public option', then we need to see proof and details on how a public option will reduce costs.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  25. Hillcrester in California

    No, it won't reform the system enough to wring out malicious practices and self-serving profits. We will, in time, have a single-payer system distinct from one's employment, but it will take time. They say a liberal is a conservative who hasn't been mugged yet. Well, public-option opponents are health care system users who haven't had a major illness/injury yet.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  26. Vernon (Charlotte, NC)

    No!!!! The public option would act as a "check & balance" to private insurers that claim they can lower costs. The part I don't get are the same Republicans that stress the word "illegal" when it come to immigration issue; don't understand the word "option" when it comes to health care.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  27. Jane (Minnesota)

    A public option wouldn't be needed if Congress would get some backbone & think about making it law that health insurance be provided only by non profit organizations and make sure giant monopolies don't set up like we have now. How in the world are you ever going to get the out of control premium costs & health costs under control.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  28. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale Florida

    Jack

    When everyone in America works for the government what type of government would we have?
    What would they call a society where everyone works for the government?
    We have in the constituion three brenches of government They are Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
    Banking is run entirely by the goverment and now health care. We should either change our constitution or stay out of banking and healthcare
    Oh they also run GM and Chrysler or claim not to I will never go to a state run medical facility buy a chevrelet ,dodge or put my money in the bank ....SORRY

    September 14, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  29. Maria

    Theoretically, anything hammered out or obliterated by Congress is a 'public option.'

    I don't care if there is a public option right now. What is Chip, Medicare,Medicaid, SSDisability, private empoyer-paid disability...aren't all those public options.

    Right now I want to see a plan which builds a network for the new health care plan for this country, starting w/immediately signing the first stage . That would give this plan a name, defined stages by age/gender/illness, lowering costs of most drugs and absolutely no refusal for pre-existing conditions or for sudden illness. That should take place on Jan 1st, 2010 w/funding to begin that day.

    The second stage would cover malpractice caps, lower prices for high-expense drugs for high-expense treatments, the seeking out and finding the fraud in every existing health plan. Throwing out what hasn't worked and what might or what does.

    We can blame the GOP for everything, they have to go home for votes. Let's just get this thing done.

    Brunswick,MD

    September 14, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  30. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    If the insurance companies do not atone then there will not be true reform.

    Any means to raise the insurance companies level of consciousness should be attempted if they do not choose to change on their own.

    A public option immediately with a five year trigger to abandon the public option if the insurance companies decide to be competitive and meet certain targets, and every effort to allow this competition should be granted, like the ability to sell nationally, would to me, be the way to go.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  31. joe in California

    It's weak reform. Without a public option the Insurance companies win and the American people lose. The Insurance companies gain millions of new customers – but no cost controls to help the American people.

    Isn't it naive to think that coverage can't be denied for pre-existing condition or dropped -because without the competitive incentive of a public plan the insurance companies won't have to deny or drop us – they'll just raise our premium or reduce our benefits. There is more than one way to deny coverage.

    They already do that now every year as you get older – they'll just do it more!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  32. Bruce St Paul MN

    Even the feeble version of a public option that they were presenting would be better than none. And it should not be on a level playing field. The point is to put downward pressure on insurance pricing.If we are going to preserve the obsolete notion that private insurance leads to good health outcomes or is even good economic policy, then the public option at least provides a hedge against the insurance industry skirting the intent of any and all regulation. No preexisting condition exclusion? They will only find some other basis for denials and cancellations that is not expressly prohibited. Maybe we should understand the real meaning of words like socialism and MArxism, and admit that the status quo is much more harmful to us than anything that has been proposed, including a single-payer plan.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  33. Andy

    Yes. Is it comprehensive health care reform? No. I'll take a big chunk of reform over none at all. Even if the public option falls through, Obama will achieve where many before him failed.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  34. Conor in Chicago

    No it's not. It is insurance reform and all that will do is force people to buy insurnace and give the insurance industry 46 million new customers that, like me, will get terrible service at a unaffordable price. Obama is essentially selling out the American people in the process of trying to help them. I thought this guy was supposed to smart...

    September 14, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  35. Teri K

    You can reform portions of health care without a public option – but it doesn't mean that the public option isn't the best way to go. The real problem is that there are 6 healthcare lobbyists per member of Congress – and that's a whole lot of money. So if our Congressmen want to keep that cash flowing, they will fight the public option. The public option won't put those companies out of business any more than public schools will ever be able to put private schools out of business. But it would cut their profits – and that's what all the worry is about. There is a whole lot of good that could be done in this country if it wasn't for greed.

    Teri
    Palm Coast FL

    September 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  36. David, Tampa, Fl

    Jack, is it health care reform without a public option? The best answer is maybe. I would like to hear more about co-ops, or co-pays where health insurance can be purchased from a private company having the individual, tha state government and the federal government picking up part of the tab. I do not want to see any idea that can provide coverage dismissed because it doen't fit with the ideology of one bunch or the other. The important thing is what the final form, if any, the language of the bill is in. Frankly, I don't give this kind of legislation a snowballs chance in hell of passing mostly because of monied interests backing the status quoa, because they make lots of long green the way things are now.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  37. Frank Adler, Syracuse, NY

    During his address to Congress, President Obama said that healthcare reform is a moral imperative. Yet, in the many televised town meetings and debates on health care legislation, not once did I hear a preacher, a rabbi or an imam stand up to support health care legislation as a moral imperative based on the principals of their faith. Instead I heard the voices of activists opposing health care reform state their moral concerns regarding health care payments for abortions, undocumented immigrants, end of life sanctions, too costly, etc. Have we forgotten one of our nation’s sacred mottos - "In God we trust.”

    September 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  38. Razorbackufo

    if you have health care reform, you will not have a public option.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  39. Connie, Chicago, Illinois

    Jack:Let's keep it simple. These are the people who will never accept "equality". They are not ready for mainstream nor polite society. Their motto is, "RACISM FOREVER.".

    September 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  40. Jacqueline, San Jose, CA

    FIRED UP AND GOING NO WHERE! Just how many dollars in campaign contributions has the "Gang of Six," been given by the insurance companies? has their vote been paid for? There is no public option in their bill. Without the public option we get a watered down version. There is no reform with out it.
    The opponents to health care reform packaged the fight really well. President Obama and his administration failed to get the message across.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  41. James In Idaho

    Jack, The short answer is no. I conctantly hear Fannie and Freedie as examples of how government doesn't work, but the reality is, Fanny and Freddie are a clear sign that Government worked where private CEO's didn't. Fanny and Freddie were the public option for housing, and they were insured and noone except those who mistreated it as a cash cow suffered from their near collapse.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  42. Dale,,,IOWA

    Just love to see how our elected reps are going to get any money out of a public option,, no wonder they are not for it..

    September 14, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  43. Ralph Cape Coral, Fl.

    Why do we need a public option when we all know the insurance companies will police themselves and do the right thing for the country. Haven't they always put the customer first and corporate profits second?

    Just look at the Medicare Advantage plans, complete honesty and so benificial to us for such a moderate cost to the consumer. OH! I forgot the insurance comapanies are subsidized to the tune of $700 each month for each consumer by medicare. I bet I could get better coverage on my own if the feds gave me the $700

    September 14, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  44. Sandra in Arkansas

    No, No, No!!! Without a public option insurance companies will contiue to dictate prices, coverage, and policies. Preventive care will be hard to come by and we will eventually have lots more people on what is the public option now...Medicaid. Give us a choice and assure that all hospitals and doctors honor all coverage. Finding a doctor who takes your insurance is beginning to be like looking for a needle in a haystack. So what good is coverage if you have no providers who accept it?

    September 14, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  45. Chad N.

    No, its not. It will do nothing to reduce the cost of healthcare for those that cannot afford insurance, it will do nothing to regulate insurance companies and offer true competition as the only competition right now is which insurance company can charge the most and get away with it.
    On second thought it may help to get the uninsured in the U.S. coverage they can afford. You see it will be unlawfull to not be insured under penalty of law, so if you cant afford medical insurance they can put you in prison where all of your medical needs are free.

    Give me a break, no public plan, no reform.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  46. libertyfirst

    There's plenty to reform without adding a much-to-expensive public option...which we aleady have 3 versions of: Medicaid, Medicare, and the VA system. We cannot afford this 900 billion (likely much more) program. Reforms we can afford and should do include: lifting the insurance portability constraints; having Medicaid and Medicare actually pay what it costs to treat their patients - thereby reducing the cost transfer to commercial insurances; tort reform; allowing high risk pools; allowing private, non-profit co-ops to purchase across State lines; changing Medicare's fee-for-service system to a bundled system based on cost; de-regulate some of the mountains of costly, paper-producing regulations governing our hospitals (huge cost drivers)... For those advocating such a public system, please tell us the logic of adding another massive government buracracy to the mix? How will that reduce costs? You can't just cap the prices of things - basic economics 101.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  47. Tony from Torrington

    If anyone looks past the headline of "Government Paid Healthcare" they would be able toread the fine print. The public option is the first step to total government run medical coverage.

    FotiaThe U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775 – you have had 234 years to get it right; it is broke.

    Social Security was established in 1935 – you have had 74 years to get it right; it is broke.

    Fannie Mae was established in 1938 – you have had 71 years to get it right; it is broke.

    The "War on Poverty" started in 1964 – you have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor"; it hasn't worked and our entire country is broke.

    Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965 – you've had 44 years to get it right; they are broke....

    Freddie Mac was established in 1970 – you have had 39 years to get it right; it is broke.

    Trillions of dollars were spent in the massive political payoffs called TARP, the "Stimulus", the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009... none show any signs of working, although ACORN appears to have found a new source of dollars...... the American taxpayer.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  48. Marilyn - Florida

    No, Jack, it is not. I'm a Ph.D. who's worked almost all my life. Employers have always found loopholes to make sure that health insurance wasn't available in most of the positions I've held. Fortunately, I've been fairly healthy. As I get more mature, I look with longing at the wonderful health coverage my friend in Canada, Costa Rica, Ireland, Australia, France and around the world have. Since I know people, personally, all around the world, I hear directly from them how much they love and appreciate the excellent health care they have. They sympathize with me for living in a country not yet strong and smart enough to realize that a population that isn't 100% covered with health care is indeed a country that is totally unsafe and totally lacking in security for its citizens. Capitalism ... the dirty little word that has distroyed much of the rights of all Americans!

    September 14, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  49. Bruce - Delaware

    Not at all. The criminal medical industry lobbyists are still calling the shots. Commercial insurance has been a catastrophic failure of galactic proportions. We want real choice – the choice to say bug off to the corporations.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  50. Dave in NJ

    Unfortunately, Americans are growing dumber and dumber each day. If people would stop listening to pundits, Sarah Palin, religious zealots, and start thinking for themselves, they would realize that reform without the public option is meaningless. No one is proposing the government take over the health care systems of America. The plan only wants to offer one more option for all those who cannot afford traditional coverage, to give them the opportunity to buy into affordable healthcare. The hideous lack of human compassion in this country for the millions without medical coverage is embarrassing; no wonder the rest of the world look down on us.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  51. Jackie in Dallas

    I love Snowe; she seems to be the only sane Republican voice there is. However, I think she is wrong in this case.

    If the Democrats can get their own membership in line, a compromise bill between the Senate’s and the House’s current bills will be passed WITH a public option. A much curtailed and controlled option, but still an option.

    Ironically, as one of the millions of taxpayers without health insurance, I’d be willing to settle for a compromise with a limited public option as long as out-of-control insurance companies and pharmaceudical companies are pulled back under control and muzzled.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  52. Mike from L.A.

    In one word, Nope!
    Don't let us down, Obama!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  53. Mark

    yes it is. Health care reform needs to address the following:

    1) pre-existing condition coverage
    2) tort reform
    3) transportability (job to job)
    4) state-to-state competition
    5) elimination of all coverage for illegal aliens, including ER services period

    Health care reform doesn't need additional government intervention.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  54. Pam holt

    Pam holt foley, al. If president Obama doesn"n include the public option, then he can forget the public option if he plans on running for a second term as president... He knows what the majority really want and he has it in the power of his hand to do it. All the odds are in his favor to aacomplish this goal. There will probably never be as great of a chance as now to succeed in accomplishing one of the greatest benefits to the American public. If president obama passes this health reform, along with a public option, even if he were to lose the next election, which he wouldn"t, he will have Succeeded in accomplishing one of the most relative events in ameriicans lives, in history. What a legacy!!!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  55. Fritz Waldow

    Maybe it is -or could be.
    What I'll never understand is why does it have to be such a huge bill to begin with? A bill that literally asks for objections from everywhere to everything.
    Why does it seem impossible to put a bill on the table where the majority (in house & senate) agrees from the start? Is it not true, that Obama said they already have agreement on about 80% of the suggested content? Make this the bill and bring in the public option in 2 or 3 years from now -if there's still a democratic majority.

    Without the public option, the premiums will rise instead of going down, because insurers have to take the preconditioned ones and can't terminate those with current illnesses just because the individual stated the date of a doctor's visit incorrectly when applying.

    Fritz Waldow, GA

    September 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  56. Bill Glover Baltimore MD

    We can get on the road to Health Care reform so long as we start with strict regulation of the Insurance Companies. This will include a provision that eliminates "Pre-Existing" Conditions..."In Network versus Out of Network" clauses...Executive Compensation...Pricing on Premiums...Aid to the most unfortunate amoung us...Finally get the Insurance Companies out of the Decision end of Health Care...All Health Care Decisions should be made by a Doctor and His or Her Patient...Not every thing, but it's a start

    September 14, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  57. David P

    Certainly we can have health reform without a public option. We need to enact legislation that curbs abuses by the insurance companies. We also need to help those who cannot afford coverage, but that should be done thru private insurance. Keep government out of this and it will be more efficient and there will be more support except from the far left.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  58. Karl from SF, CA

    Health reform without a public option is just something you get on your shoes that smells bad. Insurance companies will only change their evil ways if they have real competition. If it happens without a public option, it didn’t really happen.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  59. Julian, New Orleans

    I think there are many steps we can take to reforming health care. We should end pre-existing conditions, put a cap on out of pocket expenses, invest in prevention care, allow people to choose healthcare from across state-lines, as well as a competitive set of options for the American public to choose from, just like members of Congress get. A public option would be a good thing to have, but it would only remain an option. Only you can decide whether you want it or not. Despite the shouting going about government take overs, rationing and pulling the plug on grandma, we should still stick to the rational reforms mentioned by both Democrats and Republicans alike. One way or another, health care has to be reformed, and a public option would be a good step towards that.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  60. Dana Spratt

    Yes Jack, without a public option insurance companies will decide when and if the ones insured have coverage and the ones without will never have coverage. As for some of the worries, illegal aliens already have coverage paid for by the government just go to any emergency room. Insurance companies already decide what items are covered and which are not, so worrying about not having the full coverage now you really don't have full coverage now.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  61. Brian Munroe

    There is no "trickle down" when it comes to the health insurance companies. They hoard profits and that's about it. A public option is the only way to bring down prices. God bless us all if there isn't reform!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  62. Chuck in Los Angeles

    Without a public option, private Health Insurance premium costs will continue to skyrocket, as there is no incentive for private insurance carriers to control costs, or cover people with existing healh conditions. What I'd like to underline here Jack, is that we all pay one way or another – if 46 million Americans are using Emergency rooms and publicly funded hospitals, where does everyone think the money is coming from for those services? I would like to see some form of a public option as a part of this plan – I don't want to be broke from medication and health costs when I'm 65.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  63. Aaron owings mills md

    Jack, absolutely not!! H.R. 3200 without the public option is a deal breaker and will discredit President Obama and the Democrats. The Public Option is an integral part of healthcare reform and must remain in the bill or else you do not have real health insurance reform and healthcare costs and premiums will continue rise geometrically. Without the public option, the private insurance companies will continue to take unfair advantage of people, especially sick people, and gouge everyone. The public option is a check on the private insurance companies and will curb their excesses. KEEP THE PUBLIC OPTION!!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  64. Tom Bachman Wexford PA

    Depends on what the final bill looks like....and nobody has seen that.
    The public "option" will quickly become the single-payer plan the left wants. Medicare is headed towards bankruptcy....WHY does anyone think this would be different??

    September 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  65. Helmand Kushkaki

    There is no doubt it will be a health care reform, but will it be the reform to accomplish the original goal? It is hard to believe it will be.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  66. Gerry Davis

    The insurance companies will win AGAIN but without the alternative we will never have true reform, and costs will just keep going up and up until they bankrupt the system.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  67. Al from SoCal

    Absolutely, the only really reform need is health coverage reform.
    * Illegal for insurers to deny coverage to anyone for any reason.
    * Allow the purchase coverage from anywhere in the United States and maybe the world.
    * Allow the price of insurance be based on one's income.
    * Coverage can only be terminated only after new coverage has been initiated.
    * Limit lawsuits and give incentives to reduce waste and fraud

    September 14, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  68. Marcus, CA

    No.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  69. Dan in FL

    I guess I don't understand how Republicans who are so "pro-life" can be so against providing basic health care for everyone. If that's not true, then where are their alternative ideas for providing similar coverage?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  70. Bill

    Jack, tort reform is needed and that is all. Get rid of large awards for honest mistakes and heavily penalize doctors who make egregious errors - take away their license to practice. If they are guilty of outlandish mistakes, they don't need to be practicing medicine. That will weed out the bad doctors and we will have mostly good doctors left. Make the loser of the civil trial responsible for the attorneys fees. This will greatly lower the doctors operating cost and reduce unnecessary procedures naturally - within the decision making parameters of the individual American while letting the people exercise their freedom and allowing the doctor freedom to practice.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  71. James Lomax

    Obama's health care plan is written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, sought to be passed by Congressmen who won't read it and want to be exempt from it, signed by a president who smokes, funded by a treasury chief who did not pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is overweight, and financed by a country that is broke. What could possibly go wrong? From Huntsville, Alabama

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  72. Casper from california

    Is it still a lake if there's no water?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  73. S Callahan New York

    Jack , you really would have been wise to direct this question to those currently holding insurance through the co ops....they could share with you the better medical care, the lower costs. it forces insurance to compromise..deal make (to the consumer advantage). I don't think the public option is a necessity...I think there can be legislation set to give guidelines on fair pricing to the insurance companies, and huge fines if they fail to follow. I think with co ops the winning ins. companies will be the ones who are willing to drop costs, increase care. It's doable...the only thing stoping anything is fear.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  74. Susan from MD

    Nope – Just a big, fat pacifier to those who are needed to pass a bill.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  75. Linda in Arizona

    What we need to understand is that Obama has NEVER had any intention of fighting for a strong public option that will provide real competition to the insurance industry. He wants the left to believe he is working for one, but in fact, he conceded that point months ago in one of his "transparent" meetings with health insurance lobbyists. He is now pretending to be for it, but, oh dear, I'm afraid he's going to be "forced" to give up that not- really-essential idea in order to get his bill passed, (providing one ever materializes, that is). "So sorry, but you know, we can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good and all that, hup hup, cheerio, don't be poor sports." Obama received more campaign contributions from the health care industry and HMOs than any other candidate. DOH! And NO, it won't be real health care reform without it.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  76. Fran

    No - and if the insurance companies want this reform - and they do want it - we know it's good for the insurance companies and not good for us! I want to know why Pres. Obama is so 'pro' private health insurance! What good is health insurance that going to cost me (a single person) 10% or more of my gross income? What is affordable about that for the lower middle class? Almost $400-500/mo. for insurance?! I don't have medical insurance right now, I'm 60 years old, and my average medical expenditures are $1000/yr. What good friends of Pres. Obama will profit from this health care 'reform'! I'm going to spend $5000 annually for medical insurance I MAY use some day for some serious illness or accident? No way.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  77. Peter

    No, reform without a public option is no reform at all. Why does Senator Snowe think that she can tell either the President or the majority of the american people to take the public option off the table in trade for Republican votes? How many Republicans? One? Even her colleague from Maine has said she opposes reform.

    The Republicans lost the last election, why is it that they, and frankly most of the media, think that the Republicans are still running the country?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  78. keith collins

    No, it's not reform without the public option, and Obama should not sign it, because costs will not go down afterward and Republicans will then say that "reform" failed to drive down costs.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  79. Steve

    Thats a big NO!

    those greedy republicans really tick me off.

    Steve in Charlotte NC.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  80. mark

    Just drop the whole friggin' health care debate and work on energy and economy. How about that?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  81. Mary Burbach

    No, of course it isn't. Yet again, the powerless will be left behind if there isn't a public option. If you aren't lucky, then you are just out of luck I guess... A lot of really good, hard-working people can't afford insurance on their own and aren't lucky enough to have an employer help pay for their insurance and they are just left out in the cold again. Where's the change I voted for?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  82. roger

    No, there will be no change, other than cosmetic! The GOP wants us to trust the insurance companies to be fair- just like they have been! Willing to take your money until something goes bad, then they drop you. The only way the rates will drop is to have an option the ins. co.'s don't control. Forming a pool for people to opt into won't help at all if it is controlled by the ins. industry. But- there also has to be limits on nonsensical lawsuits, so that doc.s insurance rates will go down, and they won't have to perform so many tests and referrals to protect themselves.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  83. Phil Cowell

    No public option and my vote doesn't go to any Democrat at the midterms. I voted for Obama in the hope of single payer but that was removed, now it's the public option he's removing. Maybe he is a liar? So we keep the insurance companies with their post natal abortion boards and nothing changes.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  84. Patricia Briones

    Of course it isn't. Without the public option it will remain a system in which our health care is sold to the highest bidder and profit, not good health, is the most desired outcome.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  85. Heidi from Arizona

    No, it's not. Period.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  86. Ron

    If there is no way to create competition with insurance companies then no. I haven't seen any plan that does that without the public option. Insurance companies have been sticking it too us for too long we need a change and a chance.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  87. Theresa - PA

    Absolutely not! If Republicans are so against the public option then I suggest they give up their Health Care benefits. After all, they have a public plan...how stupid do they think the American public is? What is good enough for them should be good enough for us.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  88. Donald McKenzie

    Yes...if we take the profit out of the system and highly regulate the insurance companies, then we could have meaningful reform.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  89. John J. Frohrip

    I belong to a co-op for public employees in Northwestern Minnesota. We recently asked for proposals for coverage afterbeing with BC/BS for five years. We received, for a sizeable group, 1 & 1/2 responses. WE were back with BC/BS and no improvement except for the insurance company. The co-op staff tried as hard as they could, but the only product they could use was what the private insurance people decided to provide. What the "Gang of Six" will push for will be no more than a shill for the priivate Insurance companies. That could be worse than what we have now. Maybe it will be a big hit in North Dakota and Maine, But its hard to see sick people getting much help in more populated areas.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  90. Mark (Newburgh, NY)

    No, Jack, it's not. Absent universal coverage via single payer with private supplemental insurance, this was the only option for real reform. Of course, the corporate-bought GOP and their brainwashed army of undereducated and misinformed citizens were somehow able to bully the majority party into dropping the last best hope for reform. If we don't get reform when the Democrats hold such a large majority in our government, we likely will never see it at all.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  91. jarus

    It's not reform without a public option. And lets be clear, the republicans will ask for changes but in the end, they still won't vote for this because they HATE President Obama. The President should just go ahead without these Republican trash and have a public option.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  92. Friar Rick

    The insurance industry lobby is trying to save its profits by fighting the "government run" public option, and they seem to be winning. Fine, instead create a private, not-for-profit, insurance company to compete with the other insurers. That will create competition, no?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  93. Steve

    No, Jack, with the public option there is no health reform.

    If health coverage is mandated for all, then without the safety valve of the public option health insurance costs will increase even more than they already are. Now at least there is an incentive to insurance companies to control their rates - and that is the option to choose no insurance at all. If all are required to have insurance, what will keep these companies from raising their rates through the roof?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  94. Jan in Phoenix

    Jack –
    No it is not healthcare reform without the "public option."
    Indeed – we would not be making any advancements at all beyond Bush's power, which is presumably still in control of us all, if the "public option" is left out. Leave it in, pass it while the Dems are in control of Congress, because they are definately going to be voted out of control in 2010 regardless, and wuite possibly out of office in 2012 – so we should use the power while we have it, and make everyone realize over a long period of time that it was well worth it, just like Social Security and Medicare is.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  95. Helen in Minneapolis

    I was at the rally Saturday in Minneapolis and a Public Option is what the majority want. We will demonstrate in an orderly fashion without screaming and using derofatory language, same as President Obama. He is a true example of how to maintaind dignity when faced with antagonism and threats of violence, while making yourself heard. Silence is deafening!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  96. Amanda

    We've mentioned before that this is above all a moral issue. Without the public option, we will be saying that it is acceptable that those who cannot afford health insurance do not deserve healthcare.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  97. Steve

    There is no reform! The reform would have been FULL Single Payer for all. Yes, it increases taxes, but it is the only answer to reducing the deficit that health care creates, lower costs & expenses that insurance companies slam people with and provide adequate health care for all. The option to buy up should be an option for those wanting a higher level or more personalized service but for people to think they actually have choice now is blind. I am disappointed in Obama for even taking the Single Payer system off the table. Those who supported him during his campaign did so with that idea. This is just a watered down version that will inevitably lead to Single Payer anyway. Like it or not we will eventually end up there. We have not learned what every westernized, democratic country seems to have already grasped – the only sure way to cover all your citizens and keep costs low is to do it through the government.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  98. David from Cortlandt Manor NY

    Without a public option any healthcare bill is not reform, it's only tinkering.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  99. Alan

    My fear is that the reforms will be undone by the next Republican Administration. A public option covering even 10 million people will be hard to scrap.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  100. Craig Underwood

    Without a public option this is just a give away to the insurance Companies and Big Pharma. We will be required by law to have insurance and there will be nothing to give the uinsurance companies any competition.
    There is hardly any competition now in most of the states now and there is nothing that will increase the competition without a public option.
    Another question is why did Obama cut a secret deal with Big Pharma? We need the right to negotiate with Big Pharma in order to lower prices. I say we need a public option AND the right to negotiate with Big Pharma.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  101. Sameer

    A public option is probably desirable, but why not get SOMETHING done now and then maybe after President Obama wins a second term, push for it then? That way he can point to a couple of years of "reform" without the option and possibly strengthen his case for it.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  102. larrywi

    The term "public option" is misleading in itself Jack. That term actually applies to teh govt run health care. The public option is a trigger that will be used in the event the DR's & Ins do not reform the Health Care in the manner in which the Govt is dictating. There is no way the DR's and or the ins can meet the requirements as is without significantly raising the costs, thus the employers who now offer it will stop, leaving only the public option, which is forced coverage by the way. Thos ewho opt out will be fined for not taking it, more than likely thru their taxes.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  103. Ed in CO

    Without some way of providing competition in markets like mine where there are only a couple of choices for insurance companies there will be no true reform.

    That is something the Republicans will have to own if they derail health care reform.

    This partisan battle once again underscores the fact that Republicans and Democrats care more about their party winning then they do about the welfare of our country or her citizens.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  104. Bea

    No way! Bush gave us the drug plan, unfunded, a donut hole, no ability to have supplemental coverage and no ability to negotiate drug prices. A disaster that needs to be killed. The public option is our only chance to keep this bill from following down the same path with the health insurance companies in charge.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  105. Kyle

    No. A healthcare bill without a public option is empty and changes nothing. Let's be an intelligent country for once and step up to the social and moral challenges of providing healthcare for all. If we were truly the "greatest country" in the world we would be well past this issue.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  106. Ann Williams

    No public option means no real health reform.

    If Democrats whimp out to Republican pressure now, voters will throw them out next year at mid-term elections.

    Got Hope? Nope. Not much.
    Ann Williams
    El Cerrito, CA

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  107. Kristin

    Absolutely not. If there is no public option, what would we be reforming? Nothing but the same ol' same ol'. The only way we will achieve competition for the insurance companies and to lower health care costs is a public option. 46 million + Americans are without health insurance, as one of the richest countries in the world, this shouldn't be the case. The Public Option is the only way there will be an improvement.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  108. Terry Doherty

    It is usless without a public option.

    Tell Congress no public option NO JOB.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  109. Ben

    I don't think it is reform without a public option. I am a Canadian and it boggles my mind that many in the US don't want a public option. I have visited the US many times and often thought it would be a nice place to live, then I think about health care. I wouldn't be able to afford it. Here in Canada it is free. I never have to worry about it because it is provided by the government. Why do Americans fear it so much. It is one of the best things we have.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  110. Louise Kallemeyn

    No, it is not health care reform without a public option. The insurance companies will not change and we will have the same thing all over again, except that now we will be paying even more for health care. We need a public option and Obama and the dems need to grow up and get it done.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  111. Will

    Developments like this are why I left the states and haven't looked back. I'm living in Canada now, working to get dual citizenship. How many of you have actually read the health care proposal. I mean the whole thing. If you haven't, you dont have any right in my mind to vote on it, as you are basing your votes on what ill-informed and highly partisan news hacks and politicians are telling you. I feel sad for the rest of my "fellow" americans who think that having two political parties means that they have choices, and who vote on issues based on what they read in a 1 page news spot on cnn or fox. Folks, if you think you can boil down a multi-billion dollar proposal that is several hundred pages long into a ten minute report you, well, dumb. I know that times are scary and the world is a big complicated place, but just because you want everything to be simple, black/white, good/bad, doesn't mean it will be so. Anyway, have fun fighting over the scraps and ending up with a bad healthcare system. Hopefully you will all be to busy doing so to realize that, barring the discovery of a mountain of gold somewhere in the US sometime soon, by the time todays 20 somethings are retiring, there will be no money left in the government coffers for things like medicare and social security. meanwhile I'll be sitting pretty in Canada, and if things go bad here well I have the skills to move to yet another country in Europe with good healthcare and social services. suckers.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  112. Jim

    I'm an insurance broker and know something about these issues. Pres. Obama got it right when he said a public option or sponsored pool is needed to provide "choice and competition" for individuals who will need to buy health insurance. I accept that compromise may be necessary to pass a comprehensive reform bill.

    America has at least three programs that are MANDATORY, UNIVERSAL and use a MIXTURE of "public" and "private" options:
    1) K-12 education (mandatory, can be met through public or private schools or home-schooling)
    2) Workers' compensation (mandatory, can be insured through private or state-sponsored insurers or self-insured)
    3) Automobile insurance (mandatory in most states, can be insured through private or state-sponsored assigned risk pools or facilities).

    Health care in the past (like schooling, Social Security, worker and auto insurance) was left up to the individual or employer, and not for all people. Our nation's businesses, individuals, economy and productivity would be better off if all Americans had health insurance and lived healthier lives – just like we decided long ago we would be better off if all Americans had some education and some Social Security retirement, and all employees had workers' comp. coverage.

    I see no reason why mandatory and universal health coverage cannot be accomplished through a mixture of public and private insurance that focuses on cost-effective delivery of health care.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  113. Annie, Atlanta

    No. It would just be a continuation of business as usual: monopolies making obscene profits by companies with real death panels called accounting departments. Without the public option, don't bother.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  114. wright- chandler, AZ

    No, it is not reform unless it also contains the single payer option. God bless Senator Harkin (D) IA. as he states there will be a single payer option passed and he just took over Former Sen. Ted. Kennedy's chairmanship of the committee.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  115. Concerned Citizen, Greenwich, CT

    Health care reform without a public option is like taking a shower under an umbrella, or sex with a condom.....you don't get the desired result, as simple as that! You start all excited and end up high and dry.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  116. Durran

    Republican aren't going to vote for ANY Healthcare plan. So the president shouldn't entertain the idea of dropping the public option.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  117. Jim in Florida

    Why, Jack, yes, health care can be "reformed" without the option of government insurance. Allow private insurers to sell across state lines, bring about tort reform, revamp and reform Medicare and Medicaid – a lot of things can be done to reform the administration and availability of health care without ramming government insurance down our throats and creating an environment where private insurers cannot compete – effectively eventually completely nationalizing health care (Obama's real goal).

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  118. John

    A public option is the only way to cut the money going to pay for insurance company overhead, from 20% to 30% of healthcare spending.

    Tort reform has been shown NOT to cut healthcare costs, only to inflate incomes of doctors.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  119. Jerry Jiang

    No.
    But if we allow our education system to be destroyed further and further, more and more people will disagree with me.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  120. Pat, Fayetteville, NC

    Dear Jack,

    No, there is no healthcare reform without the public option and to kowtow to Republicans would be a mistake. They, Republicans will not support healthcare reform no matter what is in or out of the bill. For all intent and purposes, the minority's goal is to defeat President Obama and the Democrats at any cost.

    What happened to country first? That is what it is about, not politics!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  121. K. Greene

    No it is not!
    I would rather see President stand strong for the Public Option.
    I would rather see him die on this hill than to go down as a wavering, doddling, wishy washy President.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  122. Clark R

    without a public option the "reform" will be just more of the same politics we are used to seeing. it definitely won't be change i can believe in, and i should note that i strongly support and voted for President Obama.
    An important point Jack is the fact that the public option repubs so strongly oppose to opening to the nation is the health care system they have access too. if it is so bad why are they a part of it. I can't stand the hypocrisy of these far right idiots.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  123. Liz Brocious

    No, Jack. Without the public option there is no reform. We will still be paying high insurance rates – due to lack of competition and due to health care providers having to charge more to cover the loss from uninsured folks.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  124. betsy

    Public option will become a dumping ground for the previously un-insurable. Think about it, why would insurance companies carry anyone that didn't generate a profit? The result, the public option (government option), run with government inefficiency, of course, starts out at a disadvantage and just gets worse with time. Eventually the strain will drive it (and us) into bankruptcy. The government can't even deliver the mail without the Post Office going broke, and it has a monopoly !

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  125. joe cincinnati, oh

    Without a public a public everything will look like almost the way they are, withou it the game is still on for more money for lobbyist and big company ; with the public option is win winn for millions and millions people without health care insurance and help low cost on health insurance for when companis companie compete the majority wins

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  126. george hilborn

    The HEALTH BILL will not have apublic option because Obama is not sure of himself yet and will take a "watered down " version because he knows that doing nothing plays right into the Republicans hands. Taking a"half loaf" will bolster his standing with the party's conservatives and make it easier to get other target programs through. The Republicans will lock-step oppose everything and expose them for the ninnies they are

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  127. Robert

    To Connie in Chicago: how can you possibly play the race card here? I work very hard for my benefits, which includes health insurance I am very happy with! Just because I don't want to have to pay for someone else's health costs in a public option does not make me a racist! Sheesh!

    To Ted: can you keep your comments at least somewhat thoughtful. Palin and shooting turkeys is something my junior high kids could think up. I mean, when health care passes, can we call it the Mary Jo Kopechne Plan in honor of the late Teddy "I've never met a bottle of whisky I didn't like" Kennedy? Name calling and insults is just a waste of time!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  128. Nick from Minneapolis

    What is the difference between a public option plan and more regulations on the health care community? It seems as though the public option is meant to persuade the private sector via competition…wouldn’t legislation to govern the private sector be a more effective option to pursue? Do we really need a public option or do we just need legislative reform?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  129. Charles from Texas

    I fail to fully understand the rush to revamp the entire system in one fell swoop. What is wrong with a step wise modification, first concentrating on removing all the waste and redundancy upon which so much of the proposed funding is predicated and seeing where we are thereafter? Let the government prove to me it can first "tidy up" the waste and fraud so rampant before I let them interfere with my health insurance such as it is and introduce the next "post office" like government program to "compete" with private health insurance.There is no competition when one entity doesn't worry about "making a profit" in the marketplace.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  130. Jim Sheridan

    Yes for a public option. It's the wild card that lets the public beat the guys with all the aces. But the Feds better have a good plan already on the drawing board or it will end up as a talking pint rather than an action item.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  131. Wm in PA

    Jack,

    The simple answer is, NO. A public option, open and affordable to all, is the minimum necessary to bring the United States to a level already achieved by every civilized industrial nation on the planet. We are way behind, a third rate nation and falling.
    We continue to be a nation addicted to lies, hate, killing, cruelty and misery for the masses but, that is not sustainable!
    We can change now with a plan or be changed by circumstances. We may not like the unplanned quick fix of the future, if we do not act now with common sense, cooperation and truth.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  132. Pat S SINY

    Reform is critical, however, the President's ideas fly in the face of common sense. The public option is the silliest of a litany of foolish concepts. Fraud, waste, and corruption are sure to skyrocket if the public option is part of the package. Tort reform and cross-state competition are a good start.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  133. A. Cross

    Honestly No Public Option means No Health Care Reform, only continued capitalistic greed and corruption which I exercise my Option not to participate in!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  134. Bill in Kansas

    The only way that health care reform can possibly work is to remove the profit. As long as shareholders are there to demand that profit we will not have proper health care.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  135. Ralph Vose

    Without a public option, Health Reform is useless. The Insurance companies have bought the lawmakers and won. Within a few months there will be claims or reform being accomplished while we return to business as usual, Double digit rate increases each year while coverage drops.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  136. Deborah in Blue Springs, MO

    Jack, what the hell is the point of reform if there will still be people like me without health care when it's done?!
    I make too much to get state health care but I make too little to afford private insurance! This is political b.s. at its finest! How ironic that the rich old men arguing this have the Cadillac of health care packages... paid for by the little people who can't afford to see a doctor!
    I say fire them all and let's start fresh in the Congress and Senate. We'll call it Operation Lobotomy!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  137. Todd in Madison, WI

    Jack, I guess it depends on what else is in there. If it includes malpractice/tort reform, elimination of state laws that restrict the number of hospital beds, incentives for doctors to be GP's instead of specialists, elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions, medicare restrictions on numbers of residents at teaching hospitals, real initiatives for eliminating red tape and waste, ways to eliminate the near-monopoly some insurers have in some states, elimination of some of the burdensome regulations, etc etc etc then yes it will be reform. Unfortunately, the Dems have equated "reform" with a "public option" when in fact there are many many many good things we can do to drive down costs, increase competition, and make health care more accessible. But, with the liberals in charge of both Houses and the White House, those ideas are not really on the agenda, since they salivate at the idea of government health care. Thank God for the Blue Dogs!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  138. Rich

    The public option is already the compromise. Single payer is the ultimate goal. To compromise on the compromise, so to speak, is us bending over backwards for the insurance companies, and absolutely unacceptable. The public option is necessary to put some teeth in this health care reform, and keep insurance companies from forever having a monopoly, and having us at their mercy forever.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  139. Jeremy

    Without a public option, insurance companies will continue to do what's best for their CEOs instead of whats best for their customers. Health care and, by extension health insurance, doesn't operate as a "free market"; when you need care, you don't have the luxury of "shopping around".

    Health Insurance without competition is just more collusion...

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  140. Gene

    With or without a public option, health care reform as proposed will still be reform and is preferable to no reform at all. While a public option is an essential part of what I would view as a fully reformed system, progress on the remaining improvements should not be forsaken to gain this one component, even as important as it is.

    If healthcare reform is accomplished without a public option, some will accuse the President of not delivering on his campaign promises. If the choice is to deliver nothing because the public option is retained or deliver a partial reform package without a public option, I say he has accomplished what he promised to the greatest extent possible.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  141. Ted Compton

    Health care reform without a government option is basically pointless.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  142. Wade, Alabama

    Without a public option, it will be business as usual for the insurance companies. They will not lower the cost of insurance premiums, everyone will be covered, the government will pay for those who cannot afford the premiums, and the insurance companies will make even more money as the deficit grows larger. Isn't that the plan anyway?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  143. Mark

    The predominant protesters of the public option are older folks, the same people that are on a public option of their own: Medicare. So why change something that they already have, why give a piece of it to more Americans? No, I wouldn't call it reform without the public option.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  144. H. Roberts

    Jack, When was the last time you bought a new car from the ONLY dealer in town? Did you really believe you got the BEST DEAL? The same hold true regarding health care. Without the "public option" there will be NO HEALTH CARE REFORM!! There will be no competition. By the way, I wonder how many of those "town hall protestors" were on Medicare? I am, and I can tell you it's the BEST MEDICAL CARE I HAVE EVER RECEIVED IN MY 73 YEARS!! IF THE PROTESTORS WHO WERE ON MEDICARE WERE ASKED TO RAISE THEIR HANDS I'LL BET MORE THAN HALF WOULD HAVE HAD TO RAISE THEIR HANDS!!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  145. Ed from Amish Country

    Without a public option, there is no "REAL" competition... Yes, there are several health insurance providers in this country – in some states, more than other. But, they behave like a cartel – regulating prices, so that in the end you're just choosing who has the privilege of denying your claim.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  146. Willie Inman

    I think Americans really need to re-consider the public option. I was a student living in Japan where I was allowed to be a part of the public insurance option there which is affordable and efficient. Americans should look overseas for good examples of a public option and conservatives (especially the extreme ones) should should stop making so much useless noise and join in on a more constructive argument about the issue. The public option will allow students like myself and other Americans, access to health insurance that we can afford. Health insurance reform without the public option is just the same thing all over again.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  147. Steve Axne

    Why don't we call this what it really is. It is not health care reform but insurance reform. We need better insurance regulation. Instead of having the insurance companies regulate themselves we need independent regulation. Also stop all the pharmacy adds and hospital adds. How much does that cost let along all the modern buildings they are building for services that are already taken care of.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  148. Joe @ Pittsburgh, PA

    So many people complaining: "Where is the money going to come from?"

    How about two needless wars in countries that offer no threat to us? Not even North Korea, which is our most current threat, can launch a missile to reach our shores, yet we spend billions of dollars every day, sacrificing our courageous young men and women for nothing!

    Take some of that money and take care of our people here in this country.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  149. Fred Munn

    I don't believe there is any way to reform the ills of the insurance industry without a public option. They love the idea of 40 or so million new customers, but not if they have to compete. The result will be a sham. We'll get most others covered, but you can forget about controlling costs.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  150. Cathy

    We need the public option, without it what kind of leverage do our lawmakers have to reel in the insurance giants; they are making too much money to all of a sudden feel guilt for all the harm they have done to families, and our system. We don't need the GOP or the tea party fringe; just pass a bill with the public option. If we don't have the public option the GOP will be able to use the failure of health care reform as their platform for the next election, because without the public option health care reform will fail.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  151. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    Why have we become a country that fears compition so much. Without a public option it will not have big enough teeth to cause proper compition by health insurance and pharmaceudical companies which is really needed. But with or without it will pass or we may all need to go to China like Sarha Palin for a brain transplant.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  152. tom

    Without the public option the whole plan is a joke. I guess we will let the insurance companies govern there selves.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  153. CJ of Arkansas

    NO. Without a public option there will be no "real" reform.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  154. Donna from Woodstock, NY

    Absolutely not. We've seen time and time again that when the free market principle is applied with no government regulation people of modest means always get the short end of the stick. The health of our citizens is too important to leave it in the hands of private companies who only have an eye on their huge profit margins. Issues of public health and safety should always be the domain of a responsible government, therefore a public option is absolutely critical.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  155. gwen in florida

    Of course there should be a public option!
    Something that I think should be be added to this so called debate :
    What were the yearly profits of the largest insurance providers for the last few years and what amount of compensation was paid to their top earning employees ?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  156. Jim Green, Seguin, TX, www.Inclusivism.org

    Jack, of course there are ways to have healthcare reform without the public option-for instance, making is a crime to “profit” from the healthcare of another human, or limit the health insurance companies administrative costs to 2% of the money they receive-rather than the 30% they currently rake off the top to enrich the tiny few....at the expense of the rest of us.......

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  157. DR

    No! First it was single payer, then it was a public option, then it was a flakey coop. Now it appears to be mandatory insurance with the highest prices in the world.

    We voted for change, but the Democrats are too afraid to make a change. Shame on them. Their promise of change is what won the election.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  158. Gregory Miami Beach, FL

    No it's not. Since the words 'public option' are being played down than the word "reform" should be played down as well because your unlikely to have one without the other. It makes me sick that Insurance companies will still be allowed to operate despite the fact that they sanctioned the deaths of thousands of people in the name of profit and corrupted half of our goverment. Drug companies have done thier share of damage as well. I expected more when this started but my enthusiasm has now turned pessimism at seeing the level of misinfomation put out by Insurance companies and politicians without a strong response. I also expected more out of Obama but I am now starting to see him as a mediocre president. I've learned a lesson not to be optimistic in politics because it is far too unpredictable!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  159. Mike

    No, health care reform will fail to meet President Obama's objectives without a public option. Every other civilized nation has found it necessary. When will we get off our high horse, stop being brainwashed by extremists on talk radio, and stop thinking we know better than everyone else on the planet?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  160. Bill

    I watched "Sicko" the other night....How is it that this movie isn't being broadcast on cable somewhere on a continuos loop. There are times I am embarrassed to be an american and associated with so many ignorant people like the ones who are blocking health care reform for no other reason than their collective heads are stuck in the 50's.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  161. sylvia swenson

    No. I don't see how people without insurance are going to be able to get it without a public option plan. We have one son who is a freelance graphics artist and another one who works for a small restaurant. Neither can currently afford health insurance. The restaurant certainly doesn't provide insurance or share the cost with employees. I don't understand why so many congressmen and senators are against it unless they're being paid by the insurance companies! Why can other poorer countries afford it and we can't supposedly afford it. Maybe we spend too much on things that are not as important.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  162. Karen F

    Without the public option, it is NOT health care reform. The insurance companies will raise their rates because they will have to cover sick people; i.e. those with pre-existing conditions. People will be fined for not having health care coverage which seems a little Dickens-like when people are unemployed and have no income!

    Karen
    Wilmington, DE

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  163. Ursula

    It's looking more and more like a giant giveaway to insurance corporations. What a joke.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  164. Jay In Monroe

    Jack, this thing stopped about being about reform when single payer universal health care was taken off the table. Now they want a public option taken off the table as well. That all the proof one needs that the "Culture of Complacency" Democrats are just as corrupt, gormless, and feckless and the "Culture Of Corruption" Republicans. When the President caves in to them like he always has so far, he will once again prove to the millions of Americans who voted for him that he's not really Barrack Obama from Chicago, but instead David Aceveda from "The Shield" ...

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  165. Becca from Florida

    Healthcare with out the public option is just like having a checkbook with no money in the bank – empty and meaningless and a symbol of what we could have had. Why bother – having a plan without the public option? This is only something that Republicans will take and ram back down Obama's throat while watching the Healthcare industry laugh all the way to the bank. When will America wake up and understand they are being raped? I'm a patriotic American and wonder what has happened to our country will all those right wing kooks out there. I want MY country back (from the crazies).

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  166. Alan Leff

    Jack,the reason the reichwingers are fighting a "PUBLIC OPTION" is that their owners,the health Care industry are scared of a public option.
    They would not only face a well run option but are going to lose medicare profits too!
    Its not surprising that the Party of No is working so hard to defeat the Public Option not only by negotiationd in Congress but by aiding the lies being spread on the streets.
    Sort of reminds me of the Bush years!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  167. Eileen Peabody MA

    No Jack. Without a public option we will be trusting the insurance companies to do the right thing. Shouldn't they have done the right thing all along?

    OKAY, enough said.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  168. Sandy

    Jack...that would be a "NO"...regarding reform without a public option.

    Everything Wendell Potter stated is playing out....the corporate strength and influence that both the insurance and pharmaceutical industry have to block reform is happening...thus the slow down for any decision making...very sad for the USA....

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  169. Anna the Uninsured

    NO, Jack. If the public option is dropped, no reform will take place and the plight of we uninsured Americans will only get worse. Requiring Americans to buy private insurance but allowing the insurance companies to charge any premium they want for it is the kiss of death for the poor, especially if they are then fined for being unable to afford the coverage.

    We need the public option because it would compete with the private insurance companies' outrageous rates. We are not simply choosing to not buy health insurance from them because we think we're invincible – we can't afford it!! With some competition, the for-profit companies would be forced to treat their customers as people rather than pieces of meat and they HATE that idea. We need real reform that is based upon the needs of the people (whom a democracy is supposed to serve) not the special interest groups with the most money.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  170. Ryan, Kansas City, MO

    Jack,

    The answer is simply put...no.

    How is it that people (ie. Republicans) can be for Medicare (Public Option for 65 and older Americans), and against a true public option for all? This is the most hypocritical part of this entire situation! It is almost a breach of Equal Rights when you think of it!!!

    Quite frankly, this is not a matter of a public option...it is a matter of a profit option! 46 million Americans without heatlhcare presents a real opportunity for growth economically in this country whether a public option or not...

    The question is not an economic question in the end, rather it is a moral issue...and morally speaking, HEALTHCARE SHOULD BE NOT-FOR-PROFIT; AN OPTION FOR EVERY AMERICAN REGARDLESS OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS!

    That being said, no public option is not reform...46 million Americans are without Healthcare right now with the system already in place...enough is enough. Not-For-Profit Co-Ops don't guarantee coverage??? Seriously, this is the best we can do? Crap I tell you!

    How about real reform, guaranteed heatlhcare for all through a public option, much like our education system is setup. Incentives for wellness and preventative care! That is real reform!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  171. Martin Lazar

    Jack:
    Of course "health reform" can occur without a "public option". REAL reform requires taking the "profit" out of healthcare. All health insurance should be managed by "non-profit" companies;all hospitals should be "non-profit" and strictly policed as to where the money is spent (improving facitlies and upgrading salaries of nurses and other healthcare workers);allow only resonable profits to drug companies as occurs in Canada (same drugs/same drug companies with a fraction of the cost to consumers). The savings from this alone woud pay for any currently "uninsured" individuals and help balance the USA budget. The only problem with this is the profound corruption of the elected federal government officials. Does this mean that we need to kick them out before real reform takes place? I am beginning to think so.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  172. atlrealtorchic

    If we don’t get a public option, the Big insurance companies will continue on their self fulfilling path of greed and disrespect for Americans right to fair and reasonable health care coverage.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  173. cam

    Not only is it not health care reform but a mandate will pour public funds into private corporations which will worsen not better the system.

    Gee, tax dollars going for bailouts.Where have we seen this scam before?It is becoming a recurring nightmare.

    Didn't America fight a revolution to demolish the ruling class!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  174. John in Northwood, ND

    I say no it is not. The public option is already a compromise to a single payer type system which I would prefer. I have written my senators and said that I demand a public option as I am disgusted and tired of having to give my money to for-profit private insurance who are out to make a buck first and foremost and not to provide my family with quality care. People's health should not be about profiteering.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  175. Dawn

    Absolutely not, and all you nay sayers on medicaid, and medicare should turn your cards in if you don't believe we need the public option. Without it, why change? Just keep shelling out your money to the insurance companies, and keep fighting for your life "litterally".

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  176. Leonard

    A public option will be a way to standardize health plans for the poor in the reform plan. In the absence of a public option most underprivileged Americans will have a plan that will be at the mercy of the insurance companies and may not provide a minimum level of care required for good health. In the absence of a public option health policy experts must just scratch their heads to really ensure that private insurance companies do the right thing. That will require a lot of government regulation of the health insurance companies which will be described by large government opponents as too much interference. This is a virtaul Catch 22 situation for the president and his policy experts

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  177. Rose

    No Jack of course not. We just need to get those money hungry good old boys out of the Ins. sector. They are taking us all down with them. I want the option, and I say get rid of them the money hungry demonoids. The root of all the evil.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  178. jeff

    No public is no option at all for the people who don't have healthcare. The greedy people who run the industry have never cared about the needy. And never will.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  179. Jeff B from SF

    No Jack. Its not reform. It is just a shell game where money get moved around with the same greedy player of big pharma, insurance companies and politicians.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  180. ET from Indiana

    Jack,

    Here is what will happen without a public option. They will pass a bill making it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions or due to illness. The insurance companies will say, "OK, here is your coverage, that will be $20,000 per month in premium, please". Welcome to reform, insurance company style.

    The insurance companies are EVIL, VILE companies that MUST BE REGULATED!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  181. Cathy E.

    We HAVE to have that Public Option!
    I lost my insurance when the premiums went from $325 to over $700 a month. No one can afford that...and the insurance companies know it. In my eyes.. Anthem Blue Cross is Lex Luther, the Republican Party is Kryptonite and I'm yelling with all my might "HELP ME SUPERMAN!!"

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  182. Lorraine Miller

    I thnk the marchers with the hateful signs and slogans are a bunch of lamebrains and looneys.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  183. Peter LA

    Without a public option the republican weasles win & the citizens lose

    September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  184. Jake

    Health care without a "public option" will not be reform. For health care reform to be called "reform," there has to be significant changes to the previous system. And a "public option" would be that significant change. What a lot of people do not understand is that the private insurance companies want health care reform. They want the United States to mandate health coverage. Why? Because that means more potential customers for them.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  185. EJ

    It's frustrating that all of these lawmakers have fooled people into thinking that this is all about the pros and cons of government healthcare.
    The only thing standing between the people and affordable health care IS the government. All the government has to do is abolish the law prohibiting the purchase of health insurance by individuals across state lines and the whole problem will be SOLVED.
    The reason that hasn't happended is because the insurance companies PAY lawmakers not to change that law – just like they paid them to implement the restriction in the first place.
    Wake up!! The insurance companies are running this show.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  186. Gary Meixell

    Jack,
    If the Democrats want the "public option" for healthcare, why don't they just amend the Medicare bill to allow everbody access to the system. That would save over 1000 pages of wasted paper, plus the Congress' debating time. My understanding is that the Medicare Plan is actually a "public option", it may not be run efficiently, but at least it's an example of a "government run health care system".

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  187. JoN

    We need a MINIMAL STANDARD OF CARE for everyone. Period. If the insurance companies want to be able to make money, then they will simply have to offer BETTER services than the government to convince those that CAN AFFORD private insurance to invest in their policies.

    You never saw Ford or GM trying to attack public transportation saying "the auto industry can't compete with a public transportation system." Those of us who can afford cars, drive them. Those of us who can't, ride the bus.

    If insurance companies had a similar say in the auto industry, buses and carpooling would be illegal and so would walking. And everyone would be required BY LAW to own their own vehicle.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  188. Darwin

    Yes there is plenty of opportunity for true reform without a "public option". If this debate has shown us nothing it has brought to the open the many regulations which prevent true competition between traditional health insurers. And it has shown places where we would benefit from good regulation rules as well as the bad ones. It has also shown the difficulty presented to us from some of the polices of current health insrance providers such as pre-existing conditions. I predict pre-existing conditions to be the most difficult aspect of reform. We need it but the reason we do not already have it is because it goes against the math of insurance. Even the prospect of requiring everyone to carry insurance in support of pre-existing conditions simply allows the insurance provider to spread the associated cost across a wider resource pool. A government option simply spread this same cost across all tax payers. Well not necessarily all tax payers as the, thus far, proposed funding methods are all sneaky which adds to the opposition of a government option which a straight forward honest and fair method could possibly allieve.
    Thank You
    Darwin

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  189. DEE

    NO! This endeavor would not be health care reform without the public option. It would be business as usual for the privater health insurors who already hold us hostage to whatever they want to charge and on their terms. We NEED a public option to give US, the consumers, some leverage. However, if the public option passes with so many restrictions that only certain demographic groups would be allowed to buy into it, THAT would just give more perks to some that the average American can't have. Let the public option pass and be available for anyone who wants it. Medicare works beautifully. I will take government sponsored health care any day over private profiteers. The government is not on Wall Street making profits on the sick!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  190. Roger Chambers

    Without a public option, it would not be real reform. We need to look at it as the many countries with better health care do: Health care is a basic human right for all citizens. Without a public option, insurance and pharmaceuticals will continue to dominate health care in the name of high profits.

    If the bill does not include a public option and real reform working towards affordable universal coverage the President Obama hopefully will have the courage to veto it.

    Roger
    Utica, New York

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  191. Jeff Hunt

    Sorry to say it, but no, health care reform without a public option is a complete joke. The Democrats won the election, this is what they promimsed to deliver...the Democratic leadership needs to clamp down and bring the party members in line with the direction given by our President and the leader of their party. Who cares if Olympia Snowe votes for this or not! The Democratic leadership is acting like they only have 49 votes in the Senate, not 59. When the tables were turned (for the last 15 years) what did we see from Congressional leaders like Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich, or Dick Armey? Come on Harry Reid, get the troops to line up beind our President.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  192. James

    Those on right, know that to cover everyone in the US would require that the entire population be treated as a single group, be it public or privately run and regulated by law, provided they have any interest at all in doing so. By keeping the threat of the loss of health insurance over the heads of employees and the disadvantaged on public assistance, we effectively reduce innovation by creative capitalists, and eliminate incentives to those seeking something better. I guess that’s one way to keep the masses in their place. , The current system doesn’t work for most, even those that are too dumb to recognize it

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  193. Jeremy - Jacksonville, FL

    While any improvement is a welcome change, without the public option, I don't see how the costs will be brought under control. It will not be true reform.

    Is really is despicable, Jack. We are the only westernized society in the world that does not have universal health care, yet we are the wealthiest. I am tired of blatant lies designed to deceive and manipulate the people being protected under the first amendment. Why is it legal to incite anger and potential violence from unstable rednecks...all in the name of stopping the people from getting the care they need?

    The fact that there has been this much resistance from the people clearly shows too things: The reports that America is one of the most uneducated countries on the planet are completely true. And there is no limit to how far hatred, bigotry, and racism can affect the political views of the simple minded.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  194. Glok

    Health care reform without Public Option definitely not an option – It would not worth an effort...

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  195. Generation Y

    Yes, it is health care reform without a public option. We should not miss the opportunity to change the direction of our health care problem. Why does the media act as if we can not build upon whatever bill comes out in the future. A bill that will tackle insurance reform, help some of the 40 million uninsured and start bending the cost curve of medicare is giant step in the right direction.

    President Obama is trying to leading us into the future. Sometimes it feels like the baby boomer generation "who got us into this mess in the first place" is trying hold on to their past and their power...

    Generation Y

    September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  196. Jacques

    With an option, without an option... we need to at least try SOMETHING.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  197. Mary Ann Miller

    Jack
    "Just Say No" to no public option. Everybody needs to realize how hard the insurance industry is fighting the public option to know the Public Option is the right way to solve this problem. If their exorbitant profits weren't on the line, the insurance companies would not be contributing so much money to the congressmen and women who oppose this legislation. It's all about the money – not health care for the American people. Pray that enough of our Congress people stand up and are counted.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  198. Ethelind parado

    I know of many personos who can definitely afford insurance but are not interested in getting unless its free. Mnay people are unconcerned about any insurance because they have selfish ideas that someone else should the bill if they have need of insurance. These are the persons that couldn't care whether this works,options or not . Shame on them.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  199. rob shelton

    Jack –
    Without the Public Option offering a real choice, the health insurance mafia will continue to ruthlessly predate the American consumer. There is no way around it.

    And frankly, I am tired of hearing how much cheaper and efficient the private sector is when compared to the government. The evidence simply does not support that conclusion.
    Rob

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  200. stan calif

    Without a public option there is not a hope in hell of any meaningful healthcare reform. The insurance companies arent spending million for nothing,as they know the crazies that are bused in to demonstrate is doing the job to sink reform. Those fighting against reform better have good health insurance as they will need it after the insurance companies get through raising rates. A public option is needed to make health care transportable across not only state but county lines. Put some trust in an educated thoughtful President.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  201. Terry, Ft. Bragg

    Without the public option, spiralling health care cost will crush our economy out of existence before Obama's first term is up. Of course that is not news to the suicidal segment of the Republican party. It is what they are counting on. They don't care how small the pond is, just so they are the biggest fish in it.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  202. Emma, San Luis Obispo, CA

    No, No, No Jack. No public option means no way of keeping the insurance companies from ripping off the American people. What would you prefer, 3% overhead or 30% with CEO's making millions of dollars on the backs of sick and injured democrats AND republicans?
    It's Wall Street profits who win over the healthcare of taxpaying citizens.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  203. Hank Slatoff

    True health care reform will occur only when we get the insurance companies out of the equation. We need limit liability for malpractice so that doctors do not have to practice defensive medicine and eliminate profits from the decision on whether to allow drugs to be prescribed or procedures to be performed.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  204. Len Silva

    Pragmatism be damned! Better to go down fighting and lose than to give in to the insurance companies.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  205. Jack45

    No, absolutely not. Without true options that allow the public to choose less expensive means to achieve quality health-care, the country is doomed to paying more and more and still not covering adequately the millions who also need health-care.

    When will our representatives understand tha we can learn something from other countries. Even if one doesn't like France, the fact is that their costs are 10 or 11% of GDP instead of 16% AND they cover all their citizens, while we leave 45 million plus uncovered. So, consider the Japanese system if you don't like the French. Don't like the Japanese? Look at what the Germans have done. Don't like them? Well, look at the rest of the industrialized world and consider that our system is so woefully behind others that it's putting the entire economy at risk.

    Pharmaceutical companies? I used to buy into the argument that we need, in some sort of altruistic line of reasoning, to provide cheap drugs to the rest of the world while absorbing high R&D costs. Other countries' pharmaceutical houses appear able to conduct R&D and still allow for price competition. Are we now spending more for pharmaceutical advertising in the US than R&D? How does this benefit us.

    Don't tie our negotiating hands when it comes to drug prices. If competition is good–and I still believe it is–why don't the drug companies have to compete for customers, such as the US Government or any other entity.

    Public options are powerful weapons in the war on inefficiencies in the health-care industry.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  206. Yasin

    if there is no "public plan" in the health care reform, I don't think it is fair to say that we have reform at all .

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  207. Roadkill

    Seed money and an FDIC kind of thing for non-profit co-op insurance.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  208. Leigh

    Reforms such as ending pre-existing conditions and higher charges based on gender will help, but premiums and deductibles are out of control and have been out of control for decades. I can't see how those costs can be controlled without serious competition that a public option will offer. The public option is imperative to health care reform.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  209. kevin

    In my opinion NO. I am a healthcare worker, own a small business and due to diabetes I can not get affordable health insurance. I currently spend about $500 per month on medications and lab work. Without a public option groups like Cigna and United will make insurance "available" if required by law, but the premiums will be out of reach for most without government help. My guess is they are licking their lips and waiting to get the government subsidies and pad the bottom line.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  210. Tom

    And how do Republican's propose to "reform" health costs if they do not deal with the "hidden" – costs of emergency room treatment of the uninsured – costs to which middle class people who have insurance tend to turn a blind eye? Without the public option you only have a half-assed healthcare reform.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  211. Steven J. Beto

    The Public Option may be the only way to keep insurance companies and politicians honest. But wait, this is still national health insurance. What happened to national health care?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  212. Steven

    Jack maybe it's time that those of us who have supported this Administration, along with other members of the house in the democratic party is simple..Send our Representatives our voter Ids by the mass if they don't support Public Option...then and maybe then they will get the message!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  213. Matt V - Dallas, TX

    Without the public option, they can't possibly expect or require everyone to have insurance. The costs will just keep going up and up and while they will accept pre-existing conditions, the cost will be so high that nobody with them will be able to afford insurance. There would HAVE to be hard limits on out of pocket expenses that are reasonable with no loopholes for the insurance companies to exploit. Also, maybe some assistance for people who still cannot afford the expenses. Watch the insurance companies and republicans call those limits socialist too.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  214. Joan Mills

    No. Without a public option there won't be reform. Why not just pass a bill and let the Republicans vote against it? The Democrats should be able to do it alone. Don't give up!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  215. TOM (INDIANA)

    Easy question, no,no,and no.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  216. JGB

    Yes, but the Democratic controlled congress and president are not willing to deal with common sense solutions, they are only looking to give handouts paid by those of us who actually work. Guess you can't ask illegals to contribute towards their healthcare.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  217. Vulcan

    No it isn't. Unfortunately they are killing this one too. Unfortunately one more thing that is good for people of this beautiful country is slipping away with the help of insurance companies and it's narrow minded aid.

    They kept saying that public option is communism and that government should not sell insurance policies. Why does it is really matter as long as it makes the health care more affordable for us? If government ran operations make us communists then lets get rid of the army, the police, fire departments, universities, municipalities etc. and privatize them all. Who cares if they help us living a better life, we just aren't communists right?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  218. kelly holland

    No. the public option is essential to true reform. The insurance companies are the only ones yet to receive their comeuppance. They know that the president is after them, & now they're screaming in horror. All these marches, town hall meeting outbursts, numerous commercials designed to frighten only serve to mirror their horror. Of course the right wingers oppose competition. They own the insurance companies, the military, & pretty much all the money. I love seeing them squirm.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  219. Valerie LaHart

    Absolutely!! Without the public option, reform will not occur. If you cannot afford health care insurance (18% a MONTH of my salary pays for my health care insurance) you need help. The public option means those folks who have NO option, will at least be able to see the doctor or maybe pay for medications. C'mon. It seems those who are most opposed to the public option are those who are securely insured. It is time to belly up to the health care bar and give others a little security.

    V. LaHart
    Florida

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  220. Mike1952

    How can anyone think a non-profit, tax exempt, government entity provides fair competition for any for-profit enterprise? The public option will result in a huge government monopoly with inefficiency, fraud, and waste that would make medicare look like child's play. Private insurance companies will be run out of business and my plan, which I am totally happy with, will be destroyed (along with 85% of the insurable population). That will put me on the government plan which I abhor the thought of. With 300 million on the government plan there will be too little supply to meet the demand and fraud and waste will increase the cost at least as much as no public plan. There will be waiting periods for care, and a board will determine what care you get (so called death panel). Instead of an insurance company denying coverage it will be a board of bureacrats.

    There are better ways to reform health care and I'm glad the people have spoken out and changed the agenda of the looneys in DC. Score one for the liitle people against the elitist leftists.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  221. Nico Luttrell

    It isn’t really health care reform as much as it is health care re-routing. Can it still lead to a successful destination for a better health care system? Yes. However it is a much riskier route to take. Pres. Obama needs this bill to become law, and more importantly, he needs the plan to succeed or else it could completely ruin his chances at a second term.

    Southern Illinois University
    Carbondale, Illinois

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  222. Jim Boyles

    What is Health Care Reform without a public Option. These large companies need some competition and if not monthly costs will rise for all customers. I do not understand what the right is afraid of with the PO except that they receive large sums of money from them. The right is in the pocket of the health care companies and they are just protecting them by opposing the PO. I for one feel that we need to include the PO and impose retrictions on the providers to insure that our costs and services dont continue to escalate. I wonder how these noisy,rude individuals who are protesting and have no facts think no reform will help them in the long run. They are dreaming.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  223. Greg in Illinois

    No, it's not reform without a public option. The insurance companies know this, which is why there was an anti-option ad played just after you asked this question. They will gladly spend 100s of millions and spread as many lies as possible to protect their golden eggs. They've found perfect surrogates in the Rush/Beckkk crowd who will gladly scream propaganda and protest their own best interests.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  224. Andy

    Is it a must have? No.

    It is sad that this whole issue has devolved into a sandbox fight.
    Getting the insurance industry to drop "pre-exisiting conditions" should help EVERY American who "always is heathy" until he isn't...then what...surprise...you've just been taken!!!!

    I am deeply skeptical of the insurance industrie's commitment to lowering cost..they certainly want to get all the new customers. I think they will eventually need a STICK.

    I will accept half a loaf..but the republican's obstinance is deeply troubling. The attitude in congress reminds me of my children, who I will quote...."I didn't lie..I just didn't tell the truth".

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  225. Rus in St. Paul, MN

    Yes, you can have signifigant and substantial reform without a public option. Being able to buy policies across state lines, allowing several small businesses to pool together to get insurance for their employees, allowing individual tax credits for insurance, tort reform, standardizing forms and electronic records for efficiency, etc... Reform does not need to mean expansion of programs, we can fix the faults in our system without it just as easily.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  226. Jim/NC

    Who knows...I don't believe there is one single person in this country that can explain the ramifications of "Public Option" and how it would play out in the future... no not one!!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  227. sam

    Without a Public Option there is no reform. Without a public option the Republicans will have their wish, which is Obama's Waterloo, and the Democrats will lose the majority that they have now in the next election.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  228. nancy goldsen

    Jack, if this attempt to save the middle class is fought back by the health ins.companies we have no one to blame but our sytem which allows big $$ to run the country even tho we all elected a populist president...who now seems to have lost his voice when it is most important that he speak up..how did that happen? $$$talks_____walks.,,,well you know what goes in that blank
    nancy calabasas

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  229. Josh from Chicago

    If there is no public option, the domestic terrorist (teabaggers) win. This would not be change I can believe in. It would be more of the same.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  230. Mentor

    No Jack. Public option should stay other wise it is not reform.
    Thank you.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  231. Lorraine Miller

    I do not think it is true health care reform unless there is a public option – no strings, no triggers – no ducking the issue. It is shameful that we are the only industrialized natiton that does not provide health care for its citizens.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  232. Richard Murphy

    I believe that a "public option" is the only hope for breaking the stranglehold that insurance lobbyists have on our "publicly elected representatives" inside the beltway. I spent a year in Great Britain and the horror stories related to their health-care system are greatly misrepresented. Even as a foreign student I was given great health-care coverage in a timely fashion.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  233. Jay

    Yes we need an option, a public option! If we don't have a public option we are leaving our health in the hands of the republicans, where only the rich get well.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  234. Gigi

    Since we are the only Democracy without public health care for it's people, doesn't it make make you wonder....what the Republicans are up too...

    Oregon

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  235. Steve

    It seems obvious to everyone accept those Republicans taking donations from the Health Care Industry that there will not be any true Health Care Reform with the PUBLIC OPTION!!!
    When you examine the amount of money & energy the K Street Lobbyists for the Health Care Industry are applying to stop the Public Option and you examine the reasons why, you quickly realize that absolute need for the Public Option in any Health Care legislation.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  236. CraigB

    Nope, and you know what's even worse? Someday, when we realize how much we really needed this, someone just might try to stand up in Congress and say "We've been there, done that," implying that the health care issue had been forever settled, during the Obama Administration.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  237. Sullivan Bradley

    The answer is a resounding "no"! We've had decades of the insurance companies holding up the American people, aided and abetted by their accomplices in Congress. If we end up with a bill without a legitimate public option, one that offers real competition, we'll have more of the same with the exception that it will cost the American people infinitely more. It will be just one more windfall for big pharma, the insurance companies and the healthcare corporations, and one more incredibly expensive taxpayer and consumer boondoggle. Here's the correct formula: real healthcare reform = real public option.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  238. robert campbell

    All is lost. The war is over and the American populace has lost their battle for universal health care. It will take the business community to press for relief from the skyrocketing costs of health insurance to make it happen.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  239. Bill

    Dear Mr. President,
    Please tax me an extra $100 per month or so to help provide medical benefits to people who need them. I have a steady job with good medical benefits, but I don't know how long it will last. I might need help tomorrow, or perhaps next year. So please take a little extra money today, so that if I lose my medical benefits tomorrow I can still go to the doctor.

    Thank you,
    Bill
    Piscataway, NJ

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  240. John - Carlsbad, CA

    Jack

    It is a step in the right direction. There are a lot of things missing in all the various bills that would make more impact on the cost of healthcare in this country than whether or not a public option is in place.

    The sad part is that because we entrusted healthcare reform to a bunch of crooked politician lawyers nothing more can be expected. Having these people come up with healthcare reform is like asking a plumber to perform brain surgery. It doesn't make sense.

    Once whatever passes or doesn't pass out of congress we need to get serious about real reform. We need to get the best and brightest minds in the world come up with plans and ban all lobbying on this group. Then maybe, just maybe we can get true reforms that change our sickcare system into real healthcare and remove all of the greed in the system that is causing all of our problems.

    John
    Carlsbad, CA

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  241. maureen

    There will be NO healthcare reform without a Public Option. The Public Option will provide a counterbalance to the healthcare insurance companies and provide competition that will keep prices down.

    All elected officials who are against a Public Option should be voted out of office. Many of them receive enormous contributions from the healthcare industry PACs.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  242. Gary Penley

    Of course it's not anything like the health care reform that Obama promised. He's just trying to weasal a way to pass some kind of worthless bill to save face.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  243. Ron Samuel

    Without a public option health care reform is meaningless and the silent majority will ensure that Obama never sees a second term since it will prove once and for all that lobbyists are more powerful than elected officials. Maybe then the constitution can be re-written to include lobbies as a legally recognized branch of government.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  244. william T. Gavin

    There are lots of other things that could be revised. The president said he wanted to rid the system of fraud, this has nothing to do with a public option. Oh by the way you just mentioned 45 million people uninsured, the President just rervised that down this past weekend to 30 million. I guess he is leaving out the illegal people, now that he says he in not going to cover them.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  245. DORZINE

    Yes, we do need a public option to help Americans afford the price of Health due to the simple fact people are not making enough money to afford health insurance. Per example I see ads on TV stating for 6 dollars a day u can afford it. Add it up 6*31=180 dollars and that is just for singles and 10 dollars a day for families. That is close for 300 dollars where there are trying to pay mortgages, car insurance, rent , and their daily expenses. COBRA wants 250 dollars for a single person so imagine for a family. We need this more than anything to help American recover and be able to purchase other besides health care. Companies are moving companies to foreign countries so they have to pay the cost of health care.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  246. Bud

    It used to be By the people, Of the people, and For the People, Now it doesn't seem as though those who are suppose to be representing We the People are particularly interested in the best interest Of the People. We the People just don't contribute as much money to the campaign funds of the representatives as the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. We know what they are, its just the price we are bickering about. The public option is the only alternative For the People and without this option there would be no actual reform. It is time to stop the madness and start serving We the People. We need to trust this President, he is the first honest one we've had in a long time.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  247. Stewart Levin

    Yes, there can be real reform without a public option. The fact is that government can regulate the insurance industry and has done so in the past as with the HIPPA legislation.

    If there is mandatory requirements that all people buy in, then there would not be adverse selection and health insurers should be able to and be forced to provide coverage without pre-existing limitations and still be profitable. There should also be government sponsored re-insurance for those with serious / chronic illness as there is for flood insurance, nuclear insurance and terrorism insurance. Assistance to the private sector makes more sense than putting them out of business.

    It will be essential however in my view that all people treated in care centers and hospitals prove citizenship as no more free rides can be tolerated. If citizenship is not established then upon treatment , fingerprinting and processing must take place so that treatment is not repeated.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  248. Linda Richards

    Without the public option, health reform is a joke. The insurance companies will get millions of new subscribers as a gift and a co-op large enough to compete with those insurance companies would require massive start-up money. This raises the question of who will finance the co-ops and how badly will they rip us off. We need a "People's Lobby" funded with tax dollars to fight for us taxpayers. Politicians are handing over our futures to special interests every day whose only goal it to make money. Our legislators are bought and paid for and our only function seems to be that of cash cow.
    Linda in Woodbury

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  249. Elise

    To me, making profits out of sick and/or dying people is sickening. If the public option is not accepted, nothing will really change. The USA will remain at the bottom of the list what sound health care practices are concerned.

    Other countries are far more humane in providing health care to all their citizens. As an outsider I'm thinking that the Americans don't care what the rest of the industrialized world thinks of them ain't it?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  250. Ken in NC

    Health care reform without a public option amounts to nothing more than a smoke screen and we all know smoking is hazardous to your health. Health care reform without a public option amounts to increasing the size of the shaft the Insurance Industry is using on the public. To answer your question......Hell NO.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  251. John Langeland

    Wrong question! "Is is still health care reform without single payer?" should be the question.
    Senators and Representatives have been bought and paid for by insurance interests; cost containment is impossible without single payer. This country's fear of government keeps meaningful cost savings and humane care impossible.
    Every other advanced democracy spends less and has better care, with some variation of single payer at the base of theiy system.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  252. wayne granum

    If the American people don't get a Public Option its a slap in the face to every working class man & woman. What a bunch of traitors these Senators & congresspersons are to common folks. May they all burn in hell. Wayne in Ephrata , washington

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  253. Joe Wilson

    LOL, it's funny listening to all of these people who've drank the "public option needed to keep costs down" kool-aid. It's been brought up repeatedly by numerous people from numerous parties that being allowed to purchase insurance across state lines and giving individuals the same tax benefits as companies when purchasing insurance would bring insurance costs down as well. I also hear people say how the public option is the best way to keep costs down, yet I don't see any evidence to support that. What detailed studies have been done which compare the public option to health exchanges/co-ops, and also the option of opening things up to purchase health insurance in the same manner as you purchase auto insurance? Until all of the options have been compared and a detailed report released on the benefits/risks of each option, why should we support a public option or any other? Because some politician said so? Sorry, that's not good enough.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  254. Dale (Florida)

    Health Care Reform without a "Public Option" would be a typical day of politics in the capital: The politicians would pat themselves and each other on the back for a "job well done", while in reality they accomplished little or nothing for the American people.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  255. lourdes alonso

    I think the public option is a most in any health care reform that will be the only way to kepp the insurance companies honest. The way things are now the working class are the only one paying the price either to pay high premiums or go without insurance. The very poor have medicaid, the illegal inmigrants when they go to the hospital don't pay, and the very rich don't care. thank you Lourdes Alonso

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  256. David M in Seattle

    You can't beat the odds by reshuffling a stacked deck. If you want a positive outcome, you have to replace the deck. Trying to fix healthcare without introducing a new concept isn't reform. A more apt description would be 'renorm'.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  257. Danny O

    Jack,
    Let's take away our law makers insurance, let them find their own and make them pay for it, and while we are at it change the law that prevents doctors from reporting Federal Law Breakers. Oh, and the House and Senate have no breaks until We the Peoples business is taken care of. After all they work for us!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  258. David

    The real problem is that none of what we're talking about is health CARE reform. That suggests a change in how our doctors deliver care, and that scares people. This is about health INSURANCE reform, and had we called it that from the beginning it would've been a done deal by now. Nobody cares who pays their doctors and hospitals as long as they get the care they need, and nobody is going to mount a spirited defense of insurance companies other than the insurance companies themselves. We can get insurance reform without the public option, but only if the federal government heavily regulates private insurers. A public option would be a lot simpler and less intrusive.

    David
    New York

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  259. Robin in SC

    I've worked in healthcare administration for 17 years and I see where the money goes...its to the profit margins of big insurers. Without a public option, there is no check and balance to make the insurance companies more competitive. Competition is the heart of the free market, but the only competition insurers engage in now is to see which executives have the highest salaries. We regulate power, water, even TV and telephones, but we don't regulate or oversee the insurance industry in a meaningful way. A public option has to exist in some form or we may as well not bother.
    Robin in Greenville, SC (pay no attention to Gov. Sanford or Rep. Wilson!)

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  260. Texas Pioneer

    The Insurance companies are getting just what they want. All of those healthy twenty year olds that don't have health insurance will be mandated to carry health insurace while the affordable public option will be off the table.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  261. Tony D.

    Public Option is manditory. Without it, we will mandate health coverage, and leave millions to the fate of corporate health insurance. Why on earth would we think they will drive down their own prices? Finally, why does the far right think governemnt is so evil and irresponsible when we are attempting to help the under privileged, but when we spend money on war, and nation building it's righteous?
    Why would someone prefer Corporate run health care over Government run health care. Corporate america is profit driven. At least governement is, we the people, when we participate.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  262. michael moriarty

    Health reform must include the public option. It is shameful that we are the only 1st world nation that does not provide healthcare for its citizens. The only other step to take if the public option does not pass, is to mandate that the medical industry (including hospitals, doctors and insurance companies) must convert to non-profit status in 4 years.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  263. Rich in SoCal

    Of course you can have reform without a massive government takeover of the health care system. There is no way that the government will run a more efficient system than can be run in the private sector. Let's start by cutting waste and fraud and obviously have significant tort reform so we in the health care industry do not have to practice "defensively".

    September 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  264. Warren Lafayette

    No. The public option is essential to getting insurance to those who cannot afford insurance due to unemployment or low income. The Republicans and some Democrats who oppose the public option are more interested in preserving insurance and pharmaceutical companies' profits, than assuring all Americans have insurance. If one checks who opposes the public option, and who received large campaign contributions from these companies, you'll find that most politicians opposing the public option have been well paid by those whose profitability they are protecting. Many of these go on to highly paid jobs, with these companies, after leaving public office.

    Those who are sick, or have sick children, don't care what you call it, as long as they can get treatment without bankrupting themselves. Remember, insurarance companies are in the business for profit, not to help people. If medical care was at cost, the money that would have been profit would go far toward paying the cost of covering the uninsured. Medical coverage and treatment should not be a profitability issue.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  265. Lance E. Oliver

    I think the caption said it best, Is it health care reform with out public option? (NO)! Why are we even still talking about this? Kennedy was right Heath care is our Right not a privilege. Every person in this country deserves health care! If the Republicans say that there's going to be bureaucrat between you and your Dr. well it's to late a bureaucrat is between you and your Dr. they are called the insurance companies and they are showing America that they are running the show. Its time we took our health care back from the insurance companies and make it a level playing field.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  266. D. Fernandez

    No Jack, it's not health care reform without a public option. The Republicans apparently are looking out for big business interest as usual and have pysched a receptive public that is anti-Obama, for whatever reasons, to go along with their idiot-ology.

    Unfortunately for most of those folks, they don't realize that the 30% of the countries ethnic minorities (not including white Hispanics and other whites) that have some percentage which may use this option, still will not reach the numbers of white anglos that will most likely require the option due to their current economic situation.

    In other words, GOP White guys are trying to screw everybody while one Black Democrat is trying to help everybody -White and Black. Ironic.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  267. ed

    Govt doesnt work. Bailouts for Detroit. Bailouts for UAW. Bailouts for Wall Street. Separate health insurance for Congress. The track record for failed utopian govt programs is terrible...medicare, medicaid, post office, social security, SEC finding Madoff, Fannie mae, Freddie mac, HUD, stopping illegal immigration, etc. Stop the madness!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  268. Fred Knezevich

    As a Canadian watching the US health care debate it is a no brainer health care by insurance companies is health care for profit. First get rid of the litigation, second eliminate health care for profit, and third control drug company profits by allowing generic drugs and you will facilitate a health care system for everyone. Canadians are fiercely and overwhelming protective of our system, faults and all. We have lower infant mortality and we live longer than you. We can choose our doctors and for the most part our delivery of emergency care is excellent. I have lived in the US, but I'll take Canada as my home.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  269. Jim Sarkus

    It is not appropriate to have a public option since that will simply move us to socialized medicine. I would be willing to accept a public option if first, the market based approach fails. This will force the insurance companies to put forth a good faith effort, because if they don't, they will lose out.

    If a public option is chosen, it is very appropriate to have the senators and congressman, as well as all government employees, be required to participate in that public option as well as non government employees since it will move us to socialized medicine. This will require our lawmakers to put forth a good faith effort to ensure that the medical care coverage is appropriate and cost effective. Frankly, If the eventual plan that moves us to socialised medicine is deemed by the government to be good enought for those not employed by the government.......THEN IT IS ALSO GOOD ENOUGH FOR THOSE IN THE GOVERNMENT!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  270. ED MCLAURIN

    If the insurance industry is allowed to continue to take 30 to 35% of the healthcare dollars we spend, there can be no meaningful reform. Without a public option, the big insurance companies will continue to "have their way " with us and we get no kiss, just more of their CEO's earning hundreds of millions of dollars in salaries and stock option while the American public files bankruptcy.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  271. Joe Kent Island, MD

    No, a non-public option bill is just another empty bill that will not help the people who need the insurance the most. The GOP claim to be the moral party; how moral is it to allow American's without financial means to become sick and die or be in debt for life.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  272. J. Cox

    Jack . . . "OPTION" . . . "OPTION" . . . "OPTION" obviously is a word in the English language that a certain percentage of our U.S. population is incapable of comprehending. Can we 'please' get this "OPTION" word translated as meaning . . . Yes I Will 'or' No I Won't as one's choices ???

    September 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  273. Jimmy Crackhorns

    A National Referendum with multiple voting parts should be put together...we as a nation should vote for this and get this out of the hands of special interests and money'd politicians. I cannot fathom how ANYONE woudl think the current set-up is consumer friendly or acceptable for our society.

    Insurance executives already play death panelist, they arbitrarily decide who gets treatment for what, how much treatment, and then they take your money and go golfing leaving the doctors to pick up the slack. How can you NOT see how screwed up we Americans have allowed the capitalists to become.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  274. Robert Hieger

    Jack,

    It should be obvious that any healthcare reform that does not include a public option entirely misses the point. Those who oppose the public option allege that the public option (or single payer not-for-profit healthcare system) would equate to a government takeover of healthcare and that those with private insurance would be forced into the public option.

    This argument is entirely without merit. There is no evidence to suggest that a public option will force those with private heathcare to use the public option. There IS, however, ample evidence to suggest that private insurance roujtinely and criminally denies coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions. Private insurance also very often tries to dictate the treatment regimen that a doctor uses.

    If the fear is that under a public option, one loses the choice of what doctor one goes to or that the quality of care will be degraded, the current private options that exist routinely restrict treatment modalities and deny insurance solely on the merit, or lack therof, of pre-existing conditions. Moreover, the insurance premiums place private coverage well beyond the budgets of far too many Americans.

    So the question is if the private option is not working, and the public option has not been explored, what possible justification is there for the blatant lies that pervade the airstream? This smells like money to me.

    So yes, any insurance reform that does not address a public option on a large scale is undoubtedly a miserable failure.

    Sincerely,

    Robert Hieger

    September 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  275. TadesseH

    The reason behind the opposition to public option is all speculation. They say there is no guarantee for this and that. I shouldn't be the first to notice that there is little or no guaranty for any of the proclaimed insurance policy as a totally private dominated health care business as we witness it. It leaves behind a considerable sector of the population that need it most. So what will the compromise bring? In my view, it won't be any more than a cosmetic change.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  276. Carol

    No, we need the public option. I am a Canadian living in the US for over 30 years. I cannot understand the ignorance in this country. The Government is finally trying to give back to the people and they are fighting it tooth and nail. I know the Canadian system and I am so tired of the lies people are telling about it. The health care system here sucks and I have only nine and a half fingers to prove it. They killed my mother and almost killed my husband. If they do not get a public option here this country will never rebound. I am here legally, I cannot get any kind of assistance. Have had my own business for 28 years but cannot afford healthcare. There should be a law against big business making a profit from someone's misfortunes. Get educated people! This is the first president who really wants to do something for the people. Let him do it!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  277. Yasin

    if there is no “public plan” in the health care reform, I don't think it is fair to say that we have reform at all .

    Columbus, oh

    September 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  278. Dr. terrence Lauerman

    Dear Pres.

    To think that I worked to get you elected. You appear to be nothing but a closet Republican catering to the folk running the currernt health care rip off.

    PUBLIC OPTION, PREFERABLY SINGLE PAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  279. Hudson

    Jack,

    Without a strong and robust Public Option there will only be piecemeal health insurance reform – not health care reform.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  280. Terry

    Public schmublic. Certainly the insurance industry can be trusted to balance reasonable profit-taking with care for the well being of Americans. AIG, for example, has been a model of good corporate citizenship. Has it not?

    Terry, Edmonton

    September 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  281. Larry Sockwell, Social Circle, Ga.

    Tort reform would go a long way toward reducing health care costs for everyone, period. Forcing states to allow everyone an option to buy the insurance they want would increase competition among insurers, competition and lower overhead reduces costs.

    We do not need more innefficient government agencies to further display their ineptitude at managing anything but tax collection and spending.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  282. Miles

    Jack, as a circumstantially non-practicing co-op farmer and small business owner, I have absolute confidence that consumer cooperatives can effectively deliver health care reform as promised by *both* sides of the aisle if, and only if, it is done properly. No member of Congress or any "special interest" group can effectively champion what is supposed to be a consumer-based initiative. I have submitted brief proposals to the President and Sens. Baucus, Snowe, and Collins outlining how the "co-op" can have more than enough strength to compete in the "free market" and drive down costs across the board while offering coverage to all. No luck yet so I am revamping my proposal, but would love to talk to you about it.

    As a disabled veteran, student, and at-home caregiver for my sick old man, I find myself in the precarious position of being at once uninsured, underinsured, and uninsurable. As one who stands to lose the most if this is not done right or not at all, I must implore President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Howard Dean, Progressives, Unions and others to drop their call for the "public option," a single-payer system, or any threat thereof.

    ...Miles... from Northern Maine

    September 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  283. dani

    It's not about people–keeping them healthy, it's about business, and where health is concerned that is so truly a shame. So much for parties being able to work together and make any real changes that might actually be able to help a people, especially the ones who need it most. There are too many who just don't care, and they don't have to because they have insurance and they have their own agendas.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  284. Chad from Los Angeles

    NO! Dems have the votes in the house and senate. They don’t need the GOP and thier health industry lobbyists. Obama needs to be more bold, dare I say, like Bush would have done! Bush passed so many otricities through without Democrats support, so turnabout is fair play!

    Its time for a CHANGE, can WE BELIEVE you will do it?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  285. alex from hampton bays, ny

    Dear Jack:
    No. This country needs a public option.
    I would ideally like to see a single-payer solution but I will settle for the public option.
    Jack, why don't you run a story on the money received by these public officials from healthcare industry sources, such as Olympia Snowe ($~750K), Senator Grassley ($~2 million), etc.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  286. joe w

    Anyone opposed to the public option should vow not to apply for medicare at time of retirement. If it's good for the seniors, then why not for the rest of the country?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  287. Braden

    Jack,
    In 1996 Bill Clinton signed the Welfare Reform Act that reformed Welfare and it worked. It didn't expand welfare, it didn't add more money to it. It "reformed" it. "Reform" does not mean "Form" a Public Option. The Public Option sounds like a great idea, imagine, a low cost public option that people who can't afford private Health. Wonderful idea! ...People should agree that's a "great idea"...what we don't agree on is that it won't work as planned.

    President Obama said last Wed.: “the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects.”(Just like Social Security and Medicare do?) Now who in their right mind really believes that? Same old song and dance, Jack. I will only believe the President if he were to promise to resign if it's NOT self-sufficient or even appoint Senator Joe Wilson a Cabinet Position.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  288. Maria

    If the insurance companies and the republicans are against a public option, of course it is essential for the rest of us & there is no health care reform without it–pretty simple! Oak Park, IL

    September 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  289. Loren

    Whether there is a public option is a straw man in the current problems with health care. If you look at basic services, a check-up, casting a broken bone, reducing chloresterol, there is no medical cost crisis, competition reins supreme. What is the problem is medicine at the margins–cancer care, genetic diseases, which is really what eveyone is complaining about, catastrophic care. The problem with those costs are there are no cures, no consensus methods of treatment, no inexpensive equipment for treatment. Why does a CAT scan machine cost so much? They're big and not too many are built every year. Why are cancer drugs so expensive? They are magic potions, testing is expensive and too small a population for sale. Can health care reform fix these problems? No, and anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling himself. The idea that everyone can be saved by our doctors, while a noble goal, is a fool's errand. Work on fixing Medicaid, Medicare, Veteran's care first, and take those savings, if any, and expand those programs, after all those were pitched to cure the same problems that this so-called health care reform is being pitched to fix.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  290. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – Federal law has no jurisdiction over health care insurance offered by private insurers locally within States. There are only two means by which Congress can outlaw the current features of insurance policies that have so many people afraid of losing their coverage: make health insurance into Interstate commerce (e.g., "interstate insurance exchanges"), or offer direct competiton in-State under the "general welfare" power of Congress ("public option".) An entire industry of small, highly profitable, and extremely mean underwriting companies will be put out of business by real reform , so they are fighting it tooth and nail. The furor opposing the public option is fueled by disinformation and funded by vested interests. If there is no public option, there is no force to prevent your insurer from dropping you when you need them most. Any other questions?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  291. Chad from Los Angeles

    No.

    Why do people fight the idea of a non-profit healthcare system? It can’t be good that people make money off fellow Americans getting sick. How patriotic is that?

    The US Post office is extremely efficient! It costs 44 cents to send mail to anywhere in the country. I would think that kind of efficiency and cost structure would benefit healthcare industry if given the chance!

    September 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  292. Al from GA

    As someone who is currently "uninsurable at any price", this will change my situation, but it will not bring down costs, especially if it does not lower the interstate barriers republicans howl about in the media.

    I'm an economist, but apparently one of the few not blinded by the pseudo-religion of "free market fundamentalism". There is a tremendous amount of collusion and stagnation in the insurance markets. While opening markets as suggested by republicans may help a little the impact will pale in comparison to a robust public option.

    Unfortunately, It appears neither of these courses is being considered. This should prompt anchors to ask tough questions about the connection between their campaign funding and their policy choices.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  293. Steve Gex

    Insured Americans are spending $326 billion a year for coverage – and we can’t wait any longer for reform.
    Only Insurance Company Win With out a public option

    September 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  294. David

    No. I can't trust the health insurance companies, which make money by not paying claims, with my life.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  295. Michael H

    Co-ops can work, but there will need to be government assistence in setting them up, getting them going and ensure that they are available as a competive option in all markets. Individuals won't be able to do this without government assistence. It's a great way to sell it to the people in that it's owned by the people but backed by the government. But I'm sure Republicans won't support it as they probably like the co-op idea because they know it will be too diffcult to set up. If I were the democrats it's a good comprise – offer the co-op option with goverment assistence in setting it up and then include a provision to implement a goverment option if co-ops don't work so it doesn't need to be passed again.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  296. Linda

    Older workers have experienced age discrimination and layoffs because employers are afraid that the medical expenses will drive up the premiums. The same holds true for persons with a sick family member – they can be let go at any time. Such workers need a strong public option with unrestricted enrollment or they will continue to face unemployment. It is a matter of survival. 25% of all jobs last less than one year and workers are better off with a stable government health insurance plan rather than having to change to a different employer plan every time they work for a different temp agency. This is not a matter of ideology or a political power struggle. People need a stable, government to enroll in now.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  297. Justin

    It is astonishing to me how the Conservative Coalition in this country claim to be "pro-life", yet they are so hell-bent on making sure millions will die because they simply cannot "afford to live". It astonishing to many, that those who say they believe in peace and understanding, show little of both when it comes to their own countrymen and women.

    We, as a whole, cannot claim to be a morally progressive society on any grounds while denying certain citizens (those without the means or the money) the right to basic and universal healthcare. There is no other way to see it.

    If one votes against healthcare for all, they are voting to exclude individuals from what is a basic human right; not a privilege. If one votes against healthcare for all, they cannot claim to be moral on any grounds. If one votes against healthcare for all, they're simply aligning themselves with a way of life that will not only lead to the downfall of this country, but to the distinction that we as a people, care not for the betterment of all.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  298. ray munholland

    no! as a healthcare provider for 11 years, the public option is the only way to have a chance of bending the cost curve. i would prefer that it be definite (with a few years to "get it right"); but i could accept "bulletproof" triggers that will cause an irrevocable implementation of the public option.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  299. Perry

    Healthcare reform is still reform without a public option. But healthcare reform without a mechanism for doing what the public option is MEANT to do, i.e. reduce prices, is going to leave a huge problem unattended.

    I have a pre-existing condition. Without some sort of price control, I will merely be charged a great deal more for coverage. The result is the same. I'm a dead duck.

    September 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  300. Steven

    "NO" I would like to see what the public reaction over heathcare would be if all the Reps and Senators campaign contributions from Healthcare Insurance companies were put on national news, starting with the most to the least! Who do our elected officials work for, the people or the Healthcare Insurance companies?

    September 14, 2009 at 5:34 pm |