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October 20th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Should health care reform contain a public option and be mandatory?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A majority of Americans supports two of the more controversial parts of health care reform: the public option and requiring everyone to buy insurance. A new Washington Post/ABC News Poll shows independents and seniors, both crucial groups, have warmed up to the idea of a public insurance option.

57 percent favor the public option and 56 percent support making it mandatory for all Americans to buy insurance - either through their employers, on their own, or through Medicare or Medicaid.

Here's the catch: There's even broader opposition to how to pay for all this. 61 percent are opposed to the proposed tax on so-called Cadillac insurance plans.

And nearly 70 percent say they think any health care bill will increase the federal deficit... although almost half of those people say it would be worth it to grow the deficit in order to get health care reform.

If you're having trouble sleeping tonight, the Senate Finance Committee has posted its health care bill online - all 1,500 pages of it.

This Senate plan does not include a public option. But in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she'll continue to fight hard for the public option.

Republicans and some conservative Democrats are opposed - saying it will drive private insurers from the market and lead to a government takeover of health care.

Here’s my question to you: Should health care reform contain a public option and be mandatory for all Americans?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Ken from Delaware writes:
A public option will make no difference as long as we have the same Congress we have now. They have taken care of Wall Street, the banks, the insurance industry, and the defense industry. My health care premiums are going up 20% next year and they will continue to go up 20% per annum. Greed has infected every aspect of our society and it can't be stopped anymore. The Democrats have the presidency, the House and the Senate but nothing has changed.

Scott writes:
Yes, give us the public option and make it mandatory. I would rather pay reasonable taxes to be able to see a doctor than to never be able to afford insurance and live the rest of my life in fear.

Ron writes:
I could live with the public option, but nothing should be mandatory for all Americans when it comes to health issues. Many people are happy with what they have. I believe that the "mandatory" issue stems from the absolute hate Congress has for the insurance companies. The government can't even run an efficient post office, how can they run our health care?

Elaine writes:
If it's mandatory, it better be affordable. To be affordable, there must be a public option.

Bill writes:
No. The clear experience with mandatory insurance is that some people just will not sign up – at any price or with any penalty. And nobody is going to deny them free services when they need them.

P.J. writes:
Yes, Jack, any national health care reform must include a public option and it should also be mandatory to have health care insurance. Recently diagnosed with cancer and subsequently terminated from my job, I have lost the Cadillac heath insurance I had and can't get anyone to insure me now. (Can you say pre-existing condition?) I'm screwed. We need a public option.

Lisa from San Jose, California writes:
I want the Cafferty Bill – end the anti-trust exemption and expand Medicare to all.


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. David - Chicago

    The "Public Option" must be part of Healthcare reform. We need more people paying into the system. We need more options than what's available in the private sector. It's simple Economics 101. Stop debating and start doing.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  2. David Gerstenfeld

    I wish I knew. There's to many experts that have to many opinions about health care for me to know which will be the best for everyone.
    David, Las Vegas

    October 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  3. Rachel

    Those demanding it are not those who will be paying for it. Nobody should be able to demand something that someone else has to pay for. Health care is not a responsibility of the government. When did people quit taking care of themselves and their families and expect government and tax payers to do it for them? The country needs to get back to personal responsiblity and not this Gimme state we have become.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  4. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    I like the coverage I now have and want to keep it. I resent the government having to tell me who I can buy insurance from. How about all of us having the same coverage that the people we put in office have.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  5. Tina Tx

    What the point if it does not contain a public option? We might as well stay and pay through our teeth on what we have now, right?

    October 20, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  6. GRW - Toronto

    As a Canadian, it is very interesting to follow the debate around health care and the "Public Option". The US is the only developed country in the world that does not have government run health care which does not distinguish between pre exsiting conditions, propensity to develop a particular disease or family history in granting coverage. In Canada and the other developed countries, you get sick, or injured or need a checkup and you pick your physician, go to a hospital or Dr's office and are looked after. No bill, no payment, no concern.
    I would suggest that is the way all people of the world should be treated and thus a public option would be a good first step to move the US into the civililized world.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  7. Betty

    Republicans and some conservative Democrats are opposed – saying it will drive private insurers from the market and lead to a government takeover of health care.
    No, it will not drive private insurers from the market,but they will not have as much in profits and will be unable to have as much money to buy politicians in DC and in States to do their bidding.
    When they do get someone to insure,they will be so grateful, they will not cancel that insurers policy at the first sign of a medical problems. Who would want to buy coverage from a healthy insurance co that will cancel when they have to pay out some money for them to have treatments

    Fayette,Ala 35555.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  8. Mike

    I don't understand how a mandatory public option would NOT lead to government run health care? We can't trust big business to run it competently, let alone the government.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  9. Joe in VA

    Here's how I see it. Any type reform will fail unless everyone is a player and is required to have insurance. Also, private insurers cannot offer competitive plans unless there is a pool of healthy people among the ill – they cannot insure only the sick and stay in business. If 15 million opt out of whatever plan is passed, we'll be right where we are today. Those with insurance will be sucking up the costs of those who have none. So, while I favor the reliance on the private sector, there has to be some choice for those on the lower end of the income scale and there has to be some incentive for the private insurers to develop economical base line plans. The only way I see that happening is some type public option and a requirement that all have insurance. It's a bitter pill but I don't see a viable alternative. Oh yeah, and we can save $50+ billion if we get the ambulance chasers out of the picture.

    Chatham, VA

    October 20, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  10. Matt

    Mandating health insurance but not providing a public option will give health care insurance companies a free pass to exploit and rip off the american pubic, gouging them for poorer service at ever increasing prices.

    Matt,
    Santa Barbara

    October 20, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  11. Meg from Troy

    Jack–
    Yes and yes again. America needs universal healthcare with a public option available to those who cannot afford or don't qualify for private health insurance. It seems simple, but obviously based on the rhetoric and drama of the past three months–it is not.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  12. Karl from SF, CA

    Yes on both counts. It’s time we joined the rest of the civilized world and get everyone covered with affordable health care. We are paying the most for lousy service. If the health insurance companies want to join the real world and compete, fine, but if not, it’s time for them to diversify, as they say in the corporate world when they have taken us American people for all they can squeeze out of us. Those overpaid health care executives need to find a new scam to make their living.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  13. Jamie in St. Louis

    If it's mandatory for emergency rooms to treat everyone, I'm not sure how you can control health care costs without forcing everyone to have insurance. That being said, I'm against the public option and think it will eventually lead to a government take over. The way I see it, the public option will lead to one of two scenarios. 1. It will be so successfull that it drives other private insurance companies out of business, takes on more people to insure than the government had anticipated (like the childrens health care bill in Hawaii) and leads us to a health care system that drastically increases the deficit and eventually will go bankrupt like Medicaire is currently slated to do over the next 10 years. 2. Since President Obama has compared it to the post office it seems that their is a chance that the public option won't be able to compete with the private insurers, will lead to record deficits, and become unsustainable.

    All in all, there usually seems a better way to fix things than getting the government and the endless burearcracy involved.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  14. Scott Richards

    I'm still looking in the US Constitution for the amendment that comes close to detailing the US Government's role in providing me with a doctor or guaranteeing my access to any aspect of the free market, such as medicine. Personally, I planned my career path with the necessity of medical insurance at the forefront and now, in this new age of needing to feel good about our actions with no regard to logic and reason, we must “take care” of everyone who failed to properly plan their lives thus leaving them with minimal or no health insurance. It is funny however, to realize how many people such as my self and wife who once relied on state run clinics that, by the way, still offer medical services to patients based on their ability to pay. My first child incurred charges of $125 on my wife and I in 1984. In today’s dollars that amounts to about what… maybe $450? I think we should be more concerned with the unquestionable fact of our nation’s downward spiral into third-world status coupled with staggering debt, record-breaking unemployment topped off by continuous assaults on individual liberties. Face it, this whole “health care dilemma” once solved will be followed by the “housing debacle”, the “transportation catastrophe” and on and on until big daddy government will be present from cradle to grave, wiping our noses and ensuring we don’t bump our head whilst getting up from our government provided bed enroute to the local welfare office.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  15. Irv Lilley

    Jack, Yes there should be a public option. But the insurance companies will continue to fight it tooth and nail. They say the public
    should have choices. Jack , There 57 different plans available to the
    people in PA. alone. How much more choice should be available.
    I volunteer with the Office of Aging , in Lancaster Pa. Many , many times people will come to the office because they are totally confused about insurance or are having a problem with their insruance . No I don't think it should be mandatory for people to buy insurance . If a public option were available it would make it a lot easier for anyone to afford insurance.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  16. colin

    NO! All this administration want to do is to let us how to live. I know are those who want to tell what to do, AKA Obama supporters!

    October 20, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  17. bud rupert

    Yes, a public option should be part of the final bill. At a minimum it will provide cost effective insurance for those people who decide against the Legalized Gambling Option-Better known as the insurance industry.
    As far as everyone being made to buy in to the system. That's probably the right way to go in order to increase the pool of payers and level the playing field for everbody. Just about every other wealthy nation does it this way. if people are poor or are out of work the government picks up the tab for them.
    That's about as good as we can get right now Jack. But, I'm hoping that down the lane we go to an even better system that illiminates costly and wastful "fee for service" and either does away completely with the insurance providers or turn them non-profit the much like the Swiss, French and German systems.
    And for those "deficit hawks" let me say: Their are 2 things that all nations should provide their citizens. Defense against agressors and health care. It's the moral and right thing to do. Every other industrialized society has figured that out. Guess who has not?

    October 20, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  18. Thom Richer

    Yep. Public option. If the main reason some in office are against it based on the feeble contrivance that, "it will drive private insurers from the market," they do not have a leg to stand on, so to speak. There is no way in hell private insurers will give up this kind of money. Especially when they know we will never see a complete government takeover of health care. They are simply not satisfied with their piece of the pie and will not give it up even if not as big as it is at present. It's a BIG pie, Jack. Hate to say it but all this pity and corporate welfare going to the rich before the people's welfare, is making me sick. Know of a good cheap doctor, Jack?

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    October 20, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  19. Jack in Florida

    What is all the furor over the alleged cost of the proposed healthplan?
    What is the difference between paying taxes to the government for health care and paying premiums to a private insurance company? Why are some congressmen concerned about driving private insurors from the market? After all aren't the private insurors responsible for the healthcare mess. Of course there should be a public option using medicare as a model and it should be mandatory to make it work.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  20. Carla Martin-Wood, AL

    It is my prayer that we have the public option. I am one of the fortunate ones - I have insurance. I've also just gotten out of the hospital from an angiogram. I took a look at the claims on my Blue Cross notice. Since August, maybe $15,000 in claims. Of that, Blue Cross paid less than a third, which the providers accepted under their contract, so I owe nothing. If I didn't have insurance and the lower pricing it provides, I would be liable for that $15K. So I have to think of those who are in that position - and they are usually in lesser jobs or with no job at all. It's WRONG. Morally wrong in a country that has so much. I hope and pray we get the public option - because I may need it some day - and the guy next door desperately needs it NOW. Should insurance be mandatory? That depends on how affordable they make it - because some can't pay at all. And I hope we DO run the insurance companies out of business - I'd love to see us have the kind of medical program that England has so that no one goes without excellent care.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  21. Shawn, KY

    Absolutely, there is no chance of making health care affordable without both a public option and making it mandatory for all to be insured. This so called government take over of health care is the biggest hoax of all time, designed by those in congress in bed with the health care industry lobbyist. It’s immoral to continue to allow 40,000 Americans to die each year because of no coverage. There has never been a better reason to pay more in taxes if it can help save this many lives. Of all the waste of our tax payer dollars, this would be one time I would gladly pay more to help save a fellow Americans life. Those with affordable care against this plan are clueless with what less fortunate people deal with. They need to open their eyes. ears, and hearts to this problem and stop thinking only of them selves. One day we will all come before god for finale judgment so lets try to be more considerate of those less fortunate.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  22. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    The only way it should be mandatory is if there's a public option. Otherwise, it's a gift to the insurance companies.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  23. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    Yes. we have to do something even if it means a public option. The private health care industry gives the word capitalism a bad name.
    So what if the US has the best medicine and the best knowledge or technology in the world when it comes to health care. What good is all this know how if the average American can't afford it.
    The health care system keeps slapping us in the face with that fact and its getting old.
    Keep your bells and whistles and give me a stick to make a splint.
    That should cost only about $50 dollars.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  24. Slotl, Marietta, Ga

    The Tax Reform Act of 1986 contained a provision called SECTION 89. It's purpose was to reduce "employee-benefit discrimination," i.e., to see to it that lower paid workers get the same health care coverage as higher paid workers. Sound familiar?

    Companies were forced to determine if the dollar value of the insurance plans that their employees actually choose was distributed among them in such a way that lower paid employees do not have lower valued plans. Non-discrimination testing (in today's terms).

    The intent of Section 89 was to try to tax "excess" employee benefits offered to the Highly Compensated employees. The problem was defining what "excess" actually meant. Are the same benefit plan offered to two different companies (with the same level of benefits) actually the same? One company charges it's employees $50/month for employee only coverage, while the other company charges it's employees $100/mo also for employee only coverage. Why the cost differential....the size of the "group" as interpreted by the insurance companies. Does a part-timer who is offered benefits getting a "better deal" than the full-timer offered the same coverage?

    Bottom line, in 1989, Section 89 was thankfully repealed. Why? No one could put a "value" on the employee benefits. Will taxing Cadillac coverage be the answer......No! Do some research into Section 89 and you will find your answer.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  25. Mickey Gensler Bronx, 10471,N.Y.

    Why should we be concerned as to whether private insurance companies stay in business.? They were not concerned as to whether private citizens were treated fairly in the insurance market. There would certainly be no uproar as to whether we should have public options if insurance companies acted with integrity.If private insurance companies cannot compete with the public option, which is only an option, then they do not deserve to stay in business.

    Mickey from the Bronx.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  26. Ken DE

    A public option will make no difference as long as we have the same congress we have now. They have taken care of wall street, the banks, the insurance industry, and the defense industry. My health care premiums are going up 20% next year and they will continue to go up 20% per annum. Greed has infected every aspect of our society and it can't be stopped anymore. The democrats have the presidency, the house and the senate but nothing has changed. We have been hoodwinked and bamboozled again.

    Dover, DE

    October 20, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  27. Bob In Spring Hill, FL

    Hi Jack,
    A public option, and by that I mean Midicare for all, is a must if we are ever going to break the insurance industry monopoly on healthcare costs. It is also imperative for democrats because a lot of them will become unemployed in the next election if there is no real public option after this whole song and dance.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  28. bt Sullivan

    How are we going to pay for this???

    October 20, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  29. Ron

    I could live with the Public Option but nothing should be mandatory for all Americans when it comes to health issues. Many people are happy with what they have. I believe that the "mandatory" issue stems from the absolute hate Congress has for the Insurance Companies.
    The Government can't even run an efficient post office, how can they run our health care?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  30. John in Lake Tahoe

    Jack, health care reform without a robust public option is not reform we can believe in – it’s window dressing on an unacceptable status quo.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  31. Jack Arns

    Hey Jack,

    Mandatory national health care can't be much worse than things are now. I just had a visit in the ER and received 2 pills, 2 pictures, and a 2 hour wait. I received a $4,300 invoice and I have no insurance. No one gives you a price sheet when you walk into the ER!. Let's put this into perspective: For $4300 I can get a trip to any hospital and get great care......in Paris! Or maybe a week at the Four Seasons and get a House Call. There is something very wrong here......

    October 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  32. RJ from Lake,MI

    I have no problem with public option as long as everyone who uses it pays for itand the ones who dont use it dont! It can NOT be another endless free giveaway! If tax dollars has to fund the option at all then people must give up things like cell phones, high speed internet, satellite tv, and after that they have to show they really cant afford health insurance to qualify! Then they should have to take drug tests and be clean as a whistle. Prove to the tax payer you are living healthy. No more hiding assests and scamming the tax payer so you get out of paying for a service the tax payer doesnt get to enjoy!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  33. Ken in NC

    The Insurance industry does not want the Public Option because it will give them competition they don’t have now instead of a Monopoly so yes we should have it. As for it being mandatory, yes it has to be. You see, people more than anything resist change. Also people willfully do stupid things without question. Republicans are a prime example of that so it is necessary to make health care mandatory. Consider that if people living in a flood plane did not have to buy flood insurance, they would be at a total loss when a hurricane wipes their homes off the map.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  34. Annie, Atlanta

    If it doesn’t have a public option, it better not be mandatory to purchase coverage. That just might spark the revolution that’s smoldering just beneath the surface. I already have my pitchfork; I just need a torch. And as far as that deficit goes, it's only ok with Republicans if it goes towards wars?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  35. Deanna Grissom

    Good Lord Yes.
    The question to ask is why not?
    So that Private insurance does not have to be competitive????
    So that private insurance has even more money to donate to politicians to control their votes?
    So that within the next 10 years private insurance can raise our rates another 300%?

    Only an insane person, someone high up in private insurance or someone putting their party over the best interest of this country would say it was a bad thing.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  36. Mark (Newburgh, NY)

    Single payer. Pure and simple. Anything else is caving in to the insurance company special interests. Cut out the middleman...all Americans have a right to health care!!!!!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  37. Lisa, San Jose CA

    I want the Cafferty Bill–end the anti-trust exemption and expand medicare to all.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  38. Bill from pa

    Of course.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  39. Mike in Colorado

    The Health care plan should have a robust public option however I don't think that it should be mandatory. If someone wants to gamble and loses then they should really lose and have to pay all costs and not be allowed to discharge any debts in bankruptcy.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  40. Kathy Ramsey

    Yes and Yes

    October 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  41. Michael Howley

    Mr. Cafferty,

    In all of this debate, people have overlooked a few very important details. First of all, we already HAVE something of a public option for health care. It's great coverage, but sits between Food Stamps and Welfare in eligibility. Second, anyone who says a public option would place a bureaucrat between patients and doctors have clearly never had to deal with their Insurance providers. Those companies are local monopolies – competition across state lines and competition with the Government are the best way to solve the problem. In the meantime, how about a breakdown on the numbers that claim the $800,000,000,000 or so Senate plan will REDUCE the deficit? I'm not buying it, and no one seems to be trying to sell it. We the People demand FACTS!

    Michael Howley,
    Northville, MI

    October 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  42. Bernadette Loesch

    Jack, A GREAT BIG RESOUNDING YES! How many ways do you want it said. Enough dickering already. We are so ready for the Public Option and more than ready to shift the monies from what Insurance Companies are getting from us to a Government Plan.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  43. ricky Ohio

    At least a trigger! Why not put a public option on a special election? I'd rather vote on, it than have a political interpret what I want!!!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  44. Deanna Grissom

    To those who apparently refuse to educate theirselves, we ALREADY have Government run health care in the form of Medicare...are you planning to say No to Medicare when your of age? I thought not.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  45. John in Lake Tahoe

    Jack, you just mentioned "Medicare for everyone." That option is so logical, so simple and so perfect that it has absolutely no chance of ever getting through Congress.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  46. Scott

    Yes, give us the public option & make it mandatory. I would rather pay reasonable taxes to be able to see a doctor, then to never be able to afford insurance and live the rest of my life in fear.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  47. SteveSD

    Absolutely. A Public Option and everyone covered. You know, like the rest of the civilized world does it. Even the not so civilized places have it.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  48. Debra

    YES!!!!!!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  49. Joe Towey

    Yes to the public option and yes to it being mandatory for everyone to have insurance

    October 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  50. Jacob

    Yes and Yes

    Without a Public Option, insurance companies can continue to fix the market where no real competition exisits. Making Health care mandatory will help drive down the costs because of the MUCH LARGER risk pool.

    Lets get it done!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  51. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    We need every thing you have expressed Jack on top of gettimg more choices!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  52. Mary Kish

    Yes it should, and actually I like your idea Jack..short and to the point.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  53. George Scott

    Health Care Reform without a Public Option is like breakfast without orange juice. Without a Public Option, what's the point?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  54. Seth

    I think it should not be mandatory. The government could save themselves a lot of trouble by not worrying about health care, why not restrict doctors on how much they charge? If doctors and doctors visits were not so expensive, health care would not be a topic.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  55. Bob Hollie

    We need a public option, universal health care would be even better.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  56. van joyner

    Jack,as long as it affordable and affective i see no problem with it,i have medi-care,i pay for it, but i dont use it, i am 100% disabled veteran (viet nam) iuse the V.A.but i do have a problem with paying for the political bigwigs health care while they are have such a turmoil trying to give us tax payers a solid health care program.I am Van from Houston Texas.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  57. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    We need every thing you have expressed Jack which i beleive has veen suggested...on top of getting more choices!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  58. Robert

    I was for the presidents plan when it first came out, but now more than ever. My mother needs a triple bipass, but because she has not health insurance she is only going to be treated medically. She is high raisk even with the surgery, but to be told she cannot have it due to her insurance situation is flat out wrong. I hope both parties see the need for this in this country.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  59. Isiah samuels PA

    yes it should and president obama is going to make sure of it

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  60. abaski

    It seems obvious to me that in a country where I cannot have a car without carrying insurance, people should be treated on the same footing. And if a person's financial situation is such that they cannot afford insurance then the public option should be offered to them free. Every other first world country and a few not so first world countries do this already. Should n't the leader of the free world?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  61. Joan Brault

    Yes to both. We need to cover everyone beacuse that is necessary to spread the risk and eliminate the free visits to the ER for the uninsured. A public option will result in Medicare for everyone..and then they will need a private supplement as Medicare recipients must do today.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  62. Stephen Fox

    The mandates in the health care bill are wholly unconstitutional and illegal. Every Senator and Representative voting *for* them in any bill...can be sued, charged, arrested, tried for treason and be jailed. And if President Obama signs a bill containing them, he too can be sued, charged, arrested, tried for treason and jailed upon conviction.

    The mandates exceed the limitations of congressional power. Congress does not have the authority to require this–no matter what the rationale. If they don't like that, they can amend the Constitution; but, until then, they have no such power. They do, however, have an Oath of Office that each one took. They swore to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution. If they don't, they commit treason.

    –Stephen Fox
    Panama City, Florida

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  63. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack, typw too fast...!

    We need every thing you have expressed Jack which I beleive has been suggested...on top of getting more choices!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  64. JonATTY

    @GRW-Toronto ; the problem is Americans will abuse it. They already use the ER like a personal doctors office. If they have to pay for it, they think twice about going every time the have a sore throat. It wouldn't work here, We need more options and less governemt involvement, that would be reform.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  65. Elaine Murray

    If it's mandatory, it better be affordable. To be affordable, there MUST BE a public option.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  66. Carol Shepperd-Peterson

    Yes! There must be a public option and health insurance must be mandatory. If not all U.S. Congress representatives and Senators should give up their tax-payer funded health insurance and join those U.S.. citizens who are witihout.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  67. Richard

    Of course it should. This is one of the few ways to monitor the insurance companies while still giving them new customers to offset any reduction in profit margin.

    The insurance industry must also comply with ALL anti-trust laws, no more exemptions .

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  68. Mary Dyer

    YES!!! It's time! Let's get on with it. The only thing standing in the way of a public option, which is the right and moral thing to do, is the cowardice of too many members of Congress.\
    Mary Dyer
    Independence, MO– home of Harry Truman, who was ALSO in favor of a public option.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  69. Marty Doane

    Absolutely, we must have a Public Option. The multi-billion dollar insurance industry will not go away when "an option" is made available. The insurance industry is so collusive in their pricing policies that they will demand higher premiums as a result of a Reform Bill without a Public Option. We are being held hostage by a group of companies that do not promote health, but illness. Illness that they profit from!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  70. Gerald Boyette Tampa Florida

    I'm 66 and a Public Option would seem to simply be a return to the old Blue Cross-Blue Shield from the New Deal which covered all Americans. That was before Congress passed the "Cherry Picking" law that allowed exclusion of sick people from the Insurance pool. That's when we got into this immoral system.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  71. BEVERLY-Mystic,Iowa

    P.S. By the way, if there is any question about what the Republicans & the insurance companies are REALLY up to, & why, listening to what WENDALL POTTER has to say will remove all doubt.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  72. RJ from Lake,MI

    A big chunk of the people crying they cant afford health insurance all have cell phones and high speed internet and Nike shoes! Get rid of the things you dont need and buy your health insurance! Try going without, its an ols concept but it works still today! I`m tired of people sticking their hands out for something free instead of getting off their butts and work for it!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  73. john holseth

    Yes to both

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  74. Art Wilson

    Yes and yes. Auto insurance is mandatory and has been a good thing. Health insurance needs to cover everybody.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  75. Dan Fleury

    How can you make this mandetory and NOT have an affordable public option? I can understand auto insurance being mandetory, but if you can't afford it you can choose not to buy a car! If this is forced on us I will be depending on the public option but it looks more and more like the Republicans have "scared" this off the table!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  76. Ann Overbeck

    Definitely, yes, but let's call it Medicare for All. If people want to invest more of their treasure in private health insurance, that's their choice.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  77. Zal

    Yes, I'm a supporter of the public option who would like to have its opponent explain just how, in its absence, insurance companies could be made to restrain their exploding rate increases. If we do expand choice among insurance companies, how do we ensure that they will offer coverage that those with preexisting conditions can afford? Merely having choice available and making the selection of an affordable and meaningful choice possible are not the same thing. Short of wage-and-price controls or subsidies for such patients to the insurance companies, I don't see how its possible. Worse, once we start throwing money at the insurance companies, those supporting such an approach may try intentionally or out of ignorance, to starve it at the funding end. Remember how so many of them had no clue as to why middle class families really needed to be included in SCHIP! We should ask opponents if they have anything but an ideological opposition to some governmental role in promoting medical care to offer against the public option.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  78. nigel, ontario

    jack i think the american people should be voting on whether healthcare should have a public option,not the politicians.(who all happen to have the best healthcare available)
    isnt that what democracy is about. the peoples view.
    nigel

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  79. Jack Dermody - Phoenix, Arizona

    How is a public option for healthy citizens less important to the infrastructure of this country than roads, bridges, and the armed forces? Why are we the only powerful nation that treats healthcare as an exclusive possession of some, and not an inclusive prerequisite for everyone?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  80. Miriam

    Yes there should be a public option. The health insurance industry has not been kind or fair, and they are masters of manipulation. Fighting back will be painful for them, but it needs to happen.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  81. Diane Morgan

    It is imparative that the health bill include a public option. What other way is there to keep the insurance companies homest. If they are so sure that the federal government screws up everything, what's the worry. Competition is at the heart of democracy. If the government can't run a health insurance program, the private insurance can get a big laugh!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  82. pete lopez

    You bet, we seem to give fee medical insurance goverment employies

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  83. Vera Sokolova

    Public option has to be icluded.
    More over cr insurance should go to state and home insurance should go to cities

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  84. DorothyGelder

    Of course we should have public option, do you think we don't already pay for everyone that does not have insurance. If it is mandatory, and everyone pays, it should be less for all of us.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  85. Chuck in Warren,Ohio

    Jack: Forget the Public option and give everyone Medicare, that includes Congress and all!! I think that would solve all our problems.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  86. Gail

    Yes and Yes! The Senate has been hyjacked by Insurance industry lobbiest and have lost all credability. Max Baucus' campaign funds are bulging with dirty insurance money and he's jepordizing health care reform by rolling over for them. Don't like Ms. Pelose but she's the only one that hasn't forgotten that this is a government "of the people" and not "of the insurance companies."

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  87. steve from lake placid

    jack;

    its no-brainer! the postal service (run by the government last time I checked) is closing offices, and is something like 5 billion in the red, and they sell stamps!

    And you want the feds controlling 15% of the United States GDP?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  88. Russ, Golden, CO

    Yes, it must be mandatory for all Americans, and anti-trust exemptions must be eliminated, and it will probably need a public option of some kind to work. The threat of a public option through a "trigger" based on non-performance by the health insurance industry may be enough to make them see the light, but I'm not counting on it.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  89. Maureen, District of Columbia

    You BET there should be a public option. Aside from removing the anti-trust protections and opening up interstate competition, it's the only other thing that will get these companies off the damned dime. Should it be mandatory? Well, auto insurance is mandantory, isn't it? Don't tell me our country values the life of a car more than it does that of a human. Ofcourse, it should be mandatory.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  90. Hubert Reeder

    With the upcoming healthcare legislation requiring insurance companies to insure everyone including those with pre-existing condition, the insurance companies are sure to justify raising their premiums for everyone.

    The insurance companies are lobbying Congress to keep the Public Option health care insurance option out of the current legislation because they are afraid the Public Option will force them to keep their premiums at a competitive rate. They will spend millions and fight tooth and nail to prevent that.

    We all wish we had a way to minimize the rising cost of doctor and hospital services.

    Including the Public Option insurance option in the legislation can be just the tool we need. Even if we don't choose to use the public health insurance option now, we may wish it was available to us some time in the future as health care costs continue to rise beyond our ability to pay.

    Just having the public option available may help keep health insurance premiums down.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  91. Gail

    There absolutely should be no public option nor mandatory insurance. This will cause the insurance co's to go out of business and cost us all a fortune along with extremely poor care if it is run by the government.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  92. Jane (Minnesota)

    Jack, after the Health insurers released that "report" they had prepared before the Finance committee vote, I've become convinced that Health care should not be a for-profit business & we should actually have a single payer (or Medicare-for-all) system to eliminate this silliness. I also believe everyone should be covered too, since hospitals cannot refuse to treat the uninsured that show up at the emrgency rooms.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  93. Linda Watkins

    Yes - America needs to make the moral commitment that everyone is entitled to health care; thus, coverage for everyone should be mandatory. Insurance companies need to be "nonprofit" and to enforce this, there needs to be a public option. We are the only industrialized, wealthy country in the world that does not provide health insurance to our populace in some form or other. We spend more on health insurance than other countries and, despite having excellent doctors and medical facilities, we have consistently poorer medical outcomes. When are we going to wake up?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  94. Ryan Muncie IN

    Jack, if the insurance companies today were reliable and trustworthy, then maybe they wouldn't be worried about the public option. They are only afraid that the public option might help middle class and poorer people than going bankrupt on their high costs. They need to have competition to have lower costs, but in todays insurance companies there is no such thing as too much profit.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  95. zerrissen

    Absolutely both. I don't see how a mandate without a public option is anything more than putting a gun to our heads and letting the insurance companies pull the trigger. Without both, neither will work.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  96. Jacque D (Oregon)

    It definitely needs a public option but as to mandatory, that's another question. Definitely no fines since money is the prime difficulty for many people. Most insurance does not cover alternative forms of health care that many people are now using. Also there are those who use only faith healing and should be exempt from required insurance.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  97. Robert Rozsay

    The answer is to paying for healthcare is close the loopholes and tax the tax the obscene bonuses of corporations and wall street.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  98. Ian

    Anyone who opposes a public option has not had to pay for insurance. Being a freelancer, my insurance costs me a sizable percentage of my income. And although I do have insurance, the care I get is limited and insufficient. A public option would force the whole industry to rethink the business model.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  99. larry

    Yes and Yes Jack, and while Congress is grabbing anything within reach it mind as well take away anti-trust for the Insurance industry and Major League Baseball. There is no sound reason why any industry should receive such special protection.
    Meanwhile the congressional health plan should be abolished pushing congressmembers back to their states to struggle out-of-pocket like the rest of us.

    larry palm beach

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  100. John

    The public option is being forced upon those who do not need it or want it. Obama's socialistic tendencies are worrying in that they are trying to foist change of an entire health care system, instead of going after the true problems, which includes rising costs. It's too bad that people didn't know Obama's true intentions when they voted for him. His Chicago-style politics do not play well across the United States and he is setting himself up to be a one-term flash in the pan.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  101. Dean Chapman

    Jack,
    We all need to register, document or be licensed for a variety of responsibilities afforded us. Why not health insurance?
    For responsible citizenship, I would encourage my three sons to get coverage. For security I would appreciate the choice.
    Please let the viewers know that this is a no brainer, and the country needs this change and then needs to move on. I can no longer afford my mortgage either.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  102. Bill Coleman

    No – The clear experience with mandatory insurance is that some people just will not sign up – at any price or with any penalty. And nobody is going to deny them free services when they need them.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  103. Dr. Sam

    YES! Public option NOW! Republican politicians used to cite the Gogressional Butget Office dicta a lot. Well, there is one they don't cite–and don't want you to know. The one GBO dictum that public option will not drive private insurers out of business.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  104. Art in WV

    We cannot trust corporate America with our health. The only thing worse than a government bureaucracy is a corporate bureaucracy. The government inevitably answers to its people, the corporation only ever to itself.

    My wife and I are mid 50s and despite being in relatively good health, we pay almost $1000 per month for essentially nothing more than catastrophic coverage. Our deductible is over $6000, so we can never file a claim. They just keep sucking the money from us and give us nothing in return. We still pay out of pocket for all of our health care expenses on top of the $1000 per month in premiums. It's obscene!

    In the very least, Congress should consider lowering Medicare eligibility to 50 or 55. We're the ones getting squeezed the worst. The young mostly have their health and the elderly are already covered. Something as simple as lowering the age of eligibility would be easy enough to do.

    These private insurance people don't want to give up the windfall that they are reaping at our expense. It's paying for their bad investments.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  105. Sam Garnet

    Could 200,000,000 Americans afford $2000.00 a year and all that money go into one pot to be run strictly for Health for every American in the country! No more insurance fees, employer fees and taxes. All run by medical and financial experts and not answering to anybody but the citizens of America and absolutely no politicians.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  106. Mona

    Yes. It's the only way there will be any change, and change is way overdue.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  107. earl newland

    Of couse. Its a no brainer. If the ins. co. win, we lose. Look up the word lose in the dictionary. It's an apt description of the state of our health care today. Ins co. exempt from anti-trust laws? No wonder were getting screwed.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  108. claire

    We need the public option. I have been paying for my health insurance since I was 18; I've never been without. I am now 52, lost my job in March and lost health care coverage with it. Cobra wants $400 per month (and to some that is reasonable). I can't afford it. I'm not asking anyone to pay my way – I just want to be able to afford it and I don't see any other way but the public option. And yes – I'd love a single payer system in this country – at least our taxes would be paying for something positive instead of wars.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  109. Marion/ Alabama

    Lets be up front it is a Government Option,not a public option,and the health care bill costs will add to the deficit,to believe it will not is foolish.Mandatory health care,should be like mandatory car insurance,but what happens when you lose your job and can not pay for it? It is one thing for the state to require you to have insurance,but the federal goverment has shown it can not run social programs,just look at Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  110. Randy

    A public option is only necessary if we want to control the cost of health care. If not, we can just rely on demand to go down when the costs skyrocket...

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  111. Allen L Wenger

    Yes and Yes. Why should we limit any option for Americans? If the opyion is no good, we will learn that over time and it won't be chosen. If a person is sick, Doctors and hospitals have to treat them. If the patient doesn't have insurance, everyone else has to pay for it.

    Mountain Home ID

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  112. James, Mississippi

    Yes to public option. Health care is too important to be left solely in the hands of fatcat insurance execs.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  113. Loy Arrington

    I just received notice from my insurance company. My premium for next year will go up 40% and my copay will double and this is for suplimental insurance since I am on Medicare.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  114. r in boston

    Yes, health care reform should contain a public option funded by the federal government with the provision that all federal employees including members of Congress as well as the President of the US be given this option. Public officials can gaurantee that it is the best health care plan. (Remeber that pay raises for Congress pass thru debates real fast). For people who think government should stay out of their healthcare, would you rather have an insurance company that takes your money mandate what is right for you for health care. These insurance companies are buddies with those on Wall St and give their executives bonuses even though they deny payment for pre-existing conditions, etc.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  115. Tyler

    Jack, surely the presence of a public option which provides a legimate alternative to private coverage for those excluded by medical status etc, negates the need to mandate. There should be no one uninsured if a public option exists; those not selecting private coverage would be covered by the public option.

    Alberta, Canada

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  116. char schroeder

    Yes, public option should be included! The problem is that those representing us in D.C. are simply acting as whores to the insurance/pharmaceutical companies. With a million and a half dished out everyday, what power do I have? I don't even have an extra buck to give them. How on earth did we arrive at this point?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  117. Jerry Barton from the South Poconos in PA

    Should Helth Care have a Public Option?
    YES! YES! YES!
    I am tiried of being RIPED OFF by the Insurance Companies, so that their Executivies can line their pockets with Fat Bonus Checks on the Backs of the Insured!
    Jerry Barton
    from the South Poconos in PA

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  118. Kathleen Posey

    Yes, A public option should be avaliable. Health care should not be profit driven. I also believe in a single payer system,though unfortunetely that's not on the table!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  119. Joseph Jisa

    We definitly need a STRONG PUBLIC OPTION, without one nothing will change. Why do you think the insurance companies are spending millions of dollars to spread lies and misimformation? These same insurance companies will never get out because of a public option, they just don't want to give up there outragious profits. They would have to take a cut in there wages, but still would make a lot more than the average worker out there. What a shame.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  120. Debra

    Yes, definitely we should have a public option. A public option should make the insurance companies straighten up, sort of slap on the wrist when they really deserve a boot to the butt!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  121. C.J. - Michigan

    Mandatory health insurance without meaningful price control? The Insurance Industry would be getting a nice big present from the American people for the holidays.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  122. Steve Johnson

    Of course there needs to be a public option to give the insurance company's competition but to mandate to the public you have to purchase it or be fined is definitely socialist. We could easily cover every American if the wealthy were taxed on social security more than just up to $110,000 a year.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  123. Alicia in Nebraska

    Yes to both. This is the only choice I'm willing to consider other than the method I would prefer of eliminating private insurance companies entirely from the mix.

    What on earth makes it right for the profit making insurance company to take a huge cut off the top of Americans' heath care dollars? The very best option would to extend Medicare to all Americans and to tax accordingly.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  124. Clyde Woodfin

    Any 'Health Care Reform' that doesnt resolve the problem of the health care 'Industry' putting health before profits does nothing to repair the mess that our medical system is in. Unless we take back control of our country from Medical Industries and Companies they will remain our Dictators. Lets be frank, this country is run by companies. Unless we treat companies like Politicians we will never have a fair shake. Making health care, in it's current form, only benefits the health care companies and puts people in a position of being punished for not being able to afford it. This is a shame, and definitely makes me ashamed to be an American!!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  125. Scotty "H" in Wisconsin

    The public option is a deal killer...Who wants to be forced into a plan because their employers drop better private insurers for this so-called option. Just make it cheaper and subsided for the poor. Cut out all that waste that Obama says is there and use that. Giant Medicare is not the goal. It doesn't work too well. We need something better than that........

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  126. Richard L

    I think public option is an invasion of my privacy. I like the coverage I have and don't want the government runnning health care of my life. Your comments today say the public is in favor of a public option, but my personal poll tells a much different story .... who are you polling?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  127. Michelle, San Francisco

    Jack – of course the reform SHOULD include public option and be mandatory. If not mandatory, people will continue using ER and all of us will have to pay for it. I was born and raised in France with a public health care system so it has always been very difficult for me to comprehend the current health care system in this country. The French system is not perfect BUT it works and French people love it.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  128. john in saskatchewan

    Only greed merchants and senators who have sold out to the private health care lobby would vote against a public option. Don't make it "mandatory", make it available to all...with the proviso it be based on ability to pay. My God, every developed country has a public option. How hard is this to honest people?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  129. Josh, Minneapolis, MN

    Requiring health insurance coverage with a viable public option in place isn't the problem. The real nightmare scenario is an insurance mandate without a public option. If you think the health insurance industry has you over a barrel now, just wait until you see your premiums then!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  130. Bill

    Yes it should contain both. Sitting directly behind the wall street money grabbbers are the insurance companys dictating what they will cover and how much they will pay and you will pay. No checks and balances for them now.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  131. Nancy L, Massachusetts

    Yes and yes. In fact, I stongly believe that we should have a non-profit single payer system. As long as one person profits from denying health care to another, the system will not, can not, be fair to all.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  132. Julie in Jersey

    NO! Know how England pays for their healthcare? GAS TAX! Does anyone realize what they pay for petrol? Not only that, madatory healthcare would infringe on our constitutional rights.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  133. Eddie Bryan

    What you said about expanding Medicare and Medicaid to the rest of us is exactly right, Jack.
    And do away with the antitrust exemption.
    I am 56, just 9 years from the age requirement for Medicare, and still I see this as the thing to do. Just thinking of the relief my nieces and nephews would get makes me believe in this idea.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  134. Florida

    I want to know if the Doctors will be mandated to accept us as patients on a public option. I can't say yes or no until they define that. I do not support mandating us to buy insurance. If the public option is a good one, they won't have to mandate us.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  135. Bob in Texas

    Public option – Yes!!! Mandatory – No!!!

    A public option based on percentage of income makes good sense. When the insured's income reaches a certain level, he/she will find a more cost effective private plan. Employers, then can subsidize either or both options for their employees.

    It is unnecessary and demeaning of the public to make this plan mandatory. If it's a reasonably good plan the vast majority will enroll, but pressuring people to buy something they may not want, for whatever reason is unconscionable and will be counter productive in the long run.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  136. mike, nyc

    as long as the final bill produces the best quality health care for the best possible price then congress will have done it's job. whether or not that is best achieved through a public option i don't know (although i suspect it is). the ability of insurance companies to keep improving their bottom lines should not be a primary consideration.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  137. Sherry Blair

    Yes, a public option should be included. It is already a compromise from the better option of single payer. Yes, everyone should be required to pay for it.

    We don't have to think about it as forcing us to buy a product. We should think about it as paying our fair share, like we do for wars and roads and government. Also, people who don't have the income can be treated the same way as they are under now under our tax system- a graduated scale with exemptions on the bottom. If people aren't going to be required to pay for health care, then I want out of paying for war!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  138. Patty.D. Bristol, Pa.

    Jack, we must have a Public Option. The Insurance Companies have monopolies in almost every state. In some cases, they have almost 90% of the market. These Companies have no problem cutting of ill people, poor people or anyone who has a pre-existing condition. it is immoral. I heard people sceaming about 'Death Panels' this crazy Summer. And a lot of people realized the Insurance Companies are the ones with the 'Dealth Panels' 45,000 Americans die every year because of lack of health care. As Americans , that is unacceptible

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  139. Mike from Florida

    Just like the requirement that all drivers carry insurance on their vehicles. Those of us who are responsible will. Those who disregard the requirement won't. We the responsible, will end up footing the bill either through our fees or higher taxes.

    Stop the lobbying in Washington. Lets see how far this goes when campaign funds dry up. Hypocrites the whole lot of them. Survival of the fitest should rule.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  140. Harvey--- Texas

    Jack, your idea is brilliant. "Cafferty goes to Washington." The problem is everybody in Washington is deaf.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  141. Phillip DesMarteau

    Yes, we should have a public option and all should be required to buy in.
    This fullfills the right to life that the constitution says we have. It means nothing to have the right to life if you don't hve the right to the means to sustain that life. It isn't fair if you choose to rely on others to pay for that service, unless you don't have the means to do so.
    We will be able to bring down the debt once we stop the stupid wars we are at present involved with.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  142. Jack Blackstone, M.D.

    No public option.

    IF going to require pre-existing conditions be covered by insurance companies; it is mandatory that all citizens be required to purchase health insurance...not just be fined for not doing so. Insurance companies bases premiums on risks for God's sake!

    Until tort reform limiting payment for pain and suffering included,like exists already in disability cases, not going to hold down costs of defensive medicine.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  143. Polly, Limestone, TN

    Yes, absolutely to both questions! Too many people I know are struggling financially and just can't afford the exhorbidant cost of health care coverage. The ones who already have it argue hard against a public option. I wonder how they'd feel if they lost their jobs and their health care was suddenly taken away. I suspect they'd quickly change their tune!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  144. Shellie, Texas

    Yes, absolutely we should have a public option. It's the only way to make sure we have real competition in the market. And yes, it should be mandatory, as that's the only way there will be enough enrollees to cover those with pre-existing conditions. We will have to give those who can't afford it a break, but in the long run, having insurance for everyone will make America and its people stronger.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  145. melissa

    It's all about money Jack, not our health and well being.
    Congress and the Senate are afraid if they pass Public Option, the will not get their "bribes" from the Insurance Industry.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  146. Terry Nagel

    Of course, there should be mandatory health insurance, and to do that there must me a government option. Blue Cross of Idaho just informed me that my True Blue Managed Medicare plan premium will increase by over 20% ($94 to $114), while at the same time there will be big slashes in my coverage as well as copay increases of 25 to 33 percent across the board. This is happening at the same time that prices of drugs not covered by my plan are increasing by over 20 percent. How much of this can one take?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  147. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Jack,
    Will you take YES for an answer?
    YES, a single payer public option should be, must be part of the package. One of the greatest threats to the health and longevity of Americans is the private health insurance industry.
    YES, insurance should be mandatory and affordable for all.
    YES, the antitrust exemption for the insurance industry should be repealed
    and
    YES, Medicare should be available to any US citizen as a matter of right.
    And Yes, the party of NO will fight this to the last ditch!
    Pablo
    Arlington Texas

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  148. Marilyn Smith

    Absolutely, Jack, a public option is by far the best way to lower costs
    and complete with the insurance companies. After all, forcing the ins. companies to lower the cost of premiums is what we want and need,
    right? Otherwise they can charge what they want to. I don't think
    health care should be so profitable. And obviously every one should be signed up and covered. The very best solution would be a national payer system like the rest of the industrialized world.

    Marilyn Smith

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  149. Gladys Wheeler

    Yes, we need an option against the Insurance companies! The Insurance companies just keep raising their rates and keep going up and holding the people hostage. The government is the only one big enough to stop them.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  150. fred schindler

    Health care legislation needs passage asap. Millions of Americans are without health coverage while millions more are under insured. Private insurance needs to carry the load where possible. In areas that are under represented by the insurance companies a public plan is needed to insure everyone gets quality health care at a price they can afford. Insurance needs to be portable so those moving from one area to another retain coverage and those changing jobs also retain coverage. Mandatory participation is needed to insure no one tries to beat the system and get medical care at no cost. On the other hand, those without jobs or those in low paying jobs must not be denied care by their unability to pay for quality care.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  151. Steve Campitelli

    Jack, I will answer your question like a politician–yes and no. Yes, the health insurance reform bill must include a robust public option; and, no, purchasing the coverage should not be mandatory. No matter the tide of opinion to the contrary, the two things are not necessarily inseparable. Any federal law which attempts to compel someone to purchase health insurance would also violate a person's right to privacy. People have a right to keep their health information truly private–and away from insurance companies of any kind.. It would also violate the right to be secure in one's person and property. If a program is good, it doesn't have to be mandatory, Jack.

    Final point: Addressing health insurance costs without addressing health care costs themselves is like trying to bail out a dingy with a thimble during a Cat-5 hurricane!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  152. Gerald Boyette Tampa Florida

    The Declaration of Independence includes the concept of government acting for the General Welfare, not just a few. Public Option healthcare would inject hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy which is now going to only a few. That would be good for everyone except those few.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  153. Earl Cameron

    I voted for change and that includes healthcare insurance reform, a public option, and mandatory insurance to create competition in the marketplace and to assist those who cannot get insurance because of pre-existing conditions or who cannot afford insurance. Please do not let the threats and personal attacks from the GOP, insurance company lobbyist, and corporate greed get in the way of real healthcare reform.

    Earl
    Bonner Springs, KS

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  154. Joey

    If you ask me, the whole idea of making people buy health insurance without a strong public option is ludicrous. What does the government expect from such a so-called reform? Everyone will be required to pay for insurance regardless of whether or not they can afford it. Then if you absolutely cannot afford insurance, you will be the one that is ultimately fined. The point of reform is to help poor people, Jack, not punish them for making less than $30,000 annually. A government mandate without a strong public option IS NOT CHANGE!!! Anyone that would disagree is likely an idiot.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  155. Mike from Florida

    Seth

    Why not control what you can earn in your lifetime? I know that if you move the China they can grant your wish of control salaries and what you can make. Move

    October 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  156. roy hyde

    yes we definitley need a public option plan. what would be the point
    of a bill unless we have mandatory insurance for everyone?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  157. Rachel

    I'm a 1st year pharmacy student, and in one of our classes we have spent a significant amount of time talking about the healthcare system here in the US. One of the biggest things we talked about was how the biggest entry point into the healthcare system here is the Emergency Room. One of the BIGGEST reasons we discussed was the fact that people don't have insurance, and can't afford to go see a doctor until it is an emergency. Having health insurance means that when you START to feel sick, you can go see someone, instead of waiting until it is life threatening, and costs everyone a lot more. Everyone having some sort of insurance that allows them access to preventative care will bring costs down for the rest of us.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  158. Melissa

    Simply put, not just yes, but a resounding YES!!!!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  159. RJ from Lake,MI

    The weak lay around for something free and the strong goes out and get it! I`m not expecting the government to take care of me and neither should anyone else! Stop being a puppet led around by the strings and be the one with the strings, and it aint gonna happen laying around all day!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  160. Virginia Fleming

    Jack me & my husband support the Public options

    October 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  161. Clyde Woodfin

    Any 'Health Care Reform' that doesnt resolve the problem of the health care 'Industry' putting health before profits does nothing to repair the mess that our medical system is in. Unless we take back control of our country from Medical Industries and Companies they will remain our Dictators. Lets be frank, this country is run by companies. Unless we treat companies like Politicians we will never have a fair shake. Making health care mandatory, in it's current form, only benefits the health care companies and puts people in a position of being punished for not being able to afford it. This is a shame, and definitely makes me ashamed to be an American!!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  162. Nancy Lee

    Definitely!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  163. jim

    A public option is absolutely required for better health care in America.
    My family has already received health care rationing from private insurance and it has no recourse, at least with a public plan you coud have a recourse at the ballot box

    October 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  164. Mary St. Augustine, Florida

    With out a public option, we may as well stay with high premiums, high deductibles and pre-existing conditions.
    This is what the insurance companies have now and want it to stay that way.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  165. Gerry In Toronto

    A strong public option is absolutely mandatory in order to drive down cost and offer coverage to most Americans, something enjoyed by all the rest of the Western world.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  166. Richard - Florida

    Just another example of ruining it for the 85% of us who have worked for health coverage that we like ..... to cover the 15% of those that didn't. We would be much better with health tort reform and interstate laws to open the market to the free enterprise system!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  167. Luwanna Guysville Ohio

    Jack,

    Yes, but there is an important issue that all of you guys are forgetting to ask about or cover at all!!!

    Yes we need to have a public option, yes everyone should be covered one way or another, but more importantly are they going to have riders for my dogs? Do you know how much it costs for a visit to the vet? How much Frontline and heartworm medicines costs? When are we going to have a serious conversation about animal health costs?

    How about adding a medical rider to that 1500+ page document?

    Luwanna Guysville Ohio

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  168. Bill Harvey

    Yes, the public option is necessary to provide incentive for insurance companies to manage and lower their costs. And it must be mandatory to spread the added costs over a wider population. Imagine how much car insurance would cost everyone if you could buy it only when you need it–after the accident!
    Bill Harvey,
    Kapolei, HI

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  169. Rob Arshonsky

    The public option in the Heath Care Reform bill is an absolute must! We are the only developed country in world to not provide universal heath care coverage! Conservatives claim to be patriotic and that the US is the greatest country in the world, yet the US has one of most inefficient and costly systems in the world and they refuse to do anything about it. The US has a majority of Christians. If they believe i n the Bible then they would be in favor of universal health care! The new testament says time and time again that everyone should take care of the poor and sick.... this is their chance!
    People who say the health care industry will fix itself are flat out wrong. The private insurance companies have had scores of years to fix the system and they have overwhelmingly failed! The age of deregulation needs to come to a close....look what happened to the financial sector 10 years after deregulation.

    Cheers,
    Rob
    San Luis Obispo, CA

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  170. Julie in Jersey

    One more thing. Remember 84% of Americans are already covered. 6% will no doubt fall thru the cracks. That leaves 10%! We are doing all of this for 10% of the population!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  171. Linda in Arizona

    Oh, for God's sake. Without a public option there will be no real competition and the stinking insurance companies will just keep raising rates. You can't make it mandatory for people to buy this overpriced crap if there is no public option. Unfortunately, Obama, the wimpy sellout, made a secret deal (on C-Span, hahaha) with the industry lobbyists long ago, and he will not support a public option with anything other than the weakest lip service. Without his leadership and support, there will be no public option, or if there is something called a public option, it will be watered down with triggers, opt-outs, or co-ops. This whole business is nothing but a huge scam perpetrated by the Obama administration as a giveaway to the insurance industry. I hope the entire bill, if they ever get one, goes down in flames.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  172. Brenda

    Mandatory Health care is a NO in my book. What does the government know about health care? More than they know about bail-outs and trying to control every aspect of our lives? I thought the people ran the government not the other way around! I do not see this in our constitution!
    Brenda in Ga

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  173. wellington527

    Speaking as a person who does not have healthcare, YES I think the public option should be included in the healthcare bill and be made mandatory for those who want it. The insurance companies charge too much and my friends that have healthcare say that the insurance companies are ripping them off. At least wth a public option the insurance companies will have to come down on their prices.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  174. Joel M - Wisconsin

    Jack,
    As much as I resent being told what to do by the government I understand that my required participation in health insurance will help bring healthcare to those who would otherwise be left to die by the insurance industry. Opponents to the public option say that the free market can take care of it if we let them. Isn't that how we got into the financial crisis? By letting wall street go unwatched or regulated. The insurance industry is in the business of denying claims, that is how they make money, by figuring out ways to not pay for our healthcare while raising our premiums. Left to their own devices we will find that 5 years from now we are still sick and they are laughing all the way to the bank. Probably a Swiss bank at that. I don't care what you want to label it socialism or government run or what ever. Insurance companies are just another bunch of corporate thieves fleecing middle class america.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  175. Sean

    So...apparently pushing off the costs of WAR are affordable, but healthcare costs are not. I may be ignorant, but why do we have so much more trust of the insurance companies to rule as opposed to the government. The public option may not be the best option, but the democrats of this country seem unwilling to push aside the conservatives with their early 20th century ideology to do what's truly best for the American people....which is single payer. If the public option gets us closer...so be it. Wake up Conservatives! The Cold War is over! There is no "big red dog" in the backyard anymore. Caring about our neighbor didn't come from Marxism...I believe it came from another book.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  176. Carolyn Smith

    Yes, I pray it does. Otherwise the middle class will once again get screwed. Our local newspaper this weekend had an article explaining the present plan and said it would not be any help to the middle class and small business. I hope that was not true – it would be so discouraging! We need help!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  177. Gerry

    After nearly a year in and out of hospitals in both Phoenix and LA with heart failure. After installing an LVAD "artificial heart", spending 2/3's of my $2 million dollar cap, tagging me with a pre-existing condition, by all means, YES, YES,YES to health care reform, with a public option and penalties for no insurance and pay for it by ELIMINATING those ant- trust benefits for the health insurance industry!!!!! If the deficit climes, so be it. It's time to do something for the American people and not pay for unnecessary wars.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  178. Anna in Chicago

    If we mandate people to buy health insurance we need to madate employers to hire American workers. We can not have government that controls the people and refuses to control business this is Chinesee type of government.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  179. michael A.

    Drop the "mandatory" from the health bill. This is America where people have the right to be stupid and NOT have health insurance. And that stupidity is penalty enough.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  180. Carol, Rock Hill, NY

    Absolutely. Why anyone thinks it's alright for the insurance companies to make billions while denying coverage to so many who need it is a mystery to me.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  181. Ellis in Colorado

    The insurance comapanies have had a monopoly too long. We have to have a "public option" to provide compition in order to stem the rising health-care costs. And insurance or government coverage of some sort must be mandated for all; again, to lower costs for evreyone.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  182. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    If the will of the people is for a public option and mandatory coverage then that is what should happen, and our legislators should do the work of the public that has elected them.

    I for one look forward to a public option as it has been proven over and over we cannot trust big business, such as the health care providers, and a public option would require these businesses to look to improving their corporations instead of always going to the people to correct their inefficiencies.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  183. J, Utah

    Yes to both counts. But let's avoid a system like the Canadians! I don't want to have to wait on list after list to get the care I need. I don't believe it's humane to let people suffer because of a waiting list.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  184. RJ from Lake,MI

    Public option only if the ones using it pays for it, not a single tax dollar should go to this.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  185. PJGLASSO

    Yes Jack, Any national health-care reform must include a public option
    and it should also be mandatory to have health care ins.
    Recently diagnosed with Cancer and subsequently terminated from my job I have lost the Cadillac heath insurance I had and I can't get anyone to give me insurance now.(can You say pre-existing condition)
    I'm screwed....WE / I need a public option.
    PJ

    October 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  186. Leonard R. Sendelsky

    I Believe We Need A Gov. Option With Negotiated Reimbursements By Hospitals, Doctors And Other Providers Depending On Costs To Keep The Large Health Insurance Companies Onest and Create Competition

    October 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  187. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Pelosi wants to save the world with YOURRRRRRR money
    This is crazy we need jobs and a fix in the economy, not yet another massive government program
    David

    October 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  188. Christopher L., Tulsa, OK

    Great work as always Jack. Hmmm, Public option and those that oppose it. Here's a thought. Why don't more people open their eyes and see that people like Rick Scott, one of the leading people in opposition, when running United Health Care was responsible for the largest case of Medicare fraud in U.S. history? This is who they're listening to. People need to realize that if the health care industry is willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to oppose reform, just how much do they stand to "Not Make" off the rest of us? I'd be willing to bet it comes close to what we'd need to pay for health reform in the first place. At least vampires fed off the healthy, unlike the health industry that feeds off those that truly need quality and affordable care.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  189. dean

    why spend all that money for consultants and waste time for never ending discussions. open medicare and medicaid to everyone and close the donut hole.why resolve it the difficult way if it could be so easy and medicare would be strenghened too.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  190. Robert Kloster

    Yes and Yes, There should be universal coverage, Public option and no pre existing condition limits on service or cost. The days of insuring only people who don't hamper insurance company profits by daring to get sick should be banished forever.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  191. Bruce Chatman

    Jack,
    It seems that if we discuss it long enough, the clutter and noise falls away and we get to the meat of issues. I'm one of those "older" (60 +) folks who believes that government healthcare can work very well. Of course we should have a public option (if that's what you want to call it). And yes, coverage should be mandatory. There will need to be subsidies for those with lower or non-existent incomes, but I believe we are smart enough to figure that out. I was skeptical before, but now I'm glad that the debate on this issue has taken a long time. The smoke is clear and finally we can see a way to do something to counteract the insurance companys' stranglehold on our lives and on our growing national deficit.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  192. Dave Findley

    Absolutely NO. I have not seen a Government program cost effective. Why do we not compute that Social Security is bankrupt and Medicare is bankrupt. WHY? The government prices their product for votes and not to cover the cost. The Public Option will bankrupt all private insurance providers faster than a speeding bullet. And isn't it sad that all Federal employees, especially Congress, will get an exception for coverage that is better than the Public Option and without any cost to the individual senator or congressperson. Investigate fairness.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  193. pat scully

    We shouldn't be forced to buy heath insurance. Just another way Big Money has manipulated our legislature. Insurance Co.'s don't belong in health care at all. Gov. should handle it as they do defense. Too much money has already ruined health care in this country. Democracy is being slaughtered be greed. Insurance Co.'s have paid millions to stop insurance reform. A lot of that buys off our elected officials.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  194. John

    Jack,

    You have common sense, ample brass, and you aren't bought and paid for (say-congress). Seriously Jack, have CNN run you your solution of removing the anti-trust protection and expanding medicare along with Wolf's comments on the legislation with the public option being 500 pages less than the legislation w/o the public option for the next 24 hours. Skip the balloon boy stories, limit the mind numbing repetition of of other stories by 50% and just get the message out. At the end of each airing of your segment, give a website address where people can get the names, numbers and phone numbers of their government officials and keep it on the air long enough for people to write it down. I'd say that would serve your viewers best.

    Keep up the good work Jack!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  195. Tracey Wood

    Jack! I'm a Canadian with a genuine interest with U.S. politics, but I have to say that on this question of health care I just don't get it. Universal health coverage should be the right of every U.S. citizen. How has the U.S. gone so off-track on this over the years? Your costs are higher than in the rest of the developed world, yet your life expectancy outcome is worse. As if that isn't bad enough, what you all completely miss in this dialogue is the intangible value of individual peace of mind. You don't have any - even if you have insurance! - while the rest of us do. We don't give a second thought to it and simply go to the doctor of our choice at the time of our choice. What you need is a single payer system, but since the current debate has never dared contemplate such a bold move, the least you can do is offer a public option and require everyone to participate. Your nation's fear of "big government" and government intervention is preventing you from doing the right thing.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  196. Harry Moscatiello

    I agree with Jack, with 1 page revoke health insurance's anti-trust exemption and have medicare and medicaid cover everyone not covered. Govenment should not provide plastic surgery, mental health, or anything other then life threatening illness and accidents. To pay for the govenment program put a tax on Wall Street bailouts and fast food. Tax those things that make you sick.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  197. John from Tillamook OR

    In the Declaration of Independence we were said to be endowed with certain unalienable rights-those being, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". None of these rights are guaranteed with our present health care system. We need a public option to actually begin to make those words mean something as our forefathers intended. As for making it "mandatory"... A good idea, but you can't expect people who have no money to be able to pay anything, regardless of the style of health care we have.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  198. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    No public option therefore you have no health reform, it has already started the health insurance industry is already raising rates and I would be they will get very expensive before they stop. The bunch of worthless congressmen who are against a public option should have to go out and buy their own insurance off the street, but since the taxpayer pays their insurance they want the best.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  199. Rene, Houston TX

    Yes it shoul be mandatory to get health care with a public option. I have good medical insureance. I am even willing to pay more taxes for Health Care Reform. I will never vote Republican again for the rest of my life. They act like they don't care about Health Care. What makes me better then people who don't have health care. Everyone should have health care in this great country that I love the UNITED States of America. Remember the ket word UNITED.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  200. Lew Wilson

    Absolutely Jack. If we can find money to kill people, we can surely find money to heal people. Our right wing friends never complained about deficit spending to kill Arabs in Iraq and for a trillion plus dollar tax cut for the rich. Don't you think it about time to spend some money to heal American citizens?

    Lew

    October 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  201. Bob from St Cloud, Minnesota

    Yes Jack, take the payments out of your paycheck each pay period
    as they did with mine the last 35 years. I didn't miss it that much
    and now I am on medicare. Supliment inscurance keeps costing
    more and paying less for claims . We are one serious illiness or
    surgery from loosing everything we wooked for all our lives.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  202. Ann Overbeck

    No one should profit on human misery. Everyone should be entitled to care and comfort in a humane society. All health/Illness care professionals should earn a decent salary, not a "fee for service" which encourages perpetuating illness.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  203. Marian Rakow

    Absolutely a government option or it will be worthless like our medicare drug plan. They just want you to think that you are getting it cheaper, the time you add up all the expences you are paying more.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  204. Darren

    Without the 'public option' there can be no viable health care reform.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  205. Big Al - California

    The more choices the better. Why not allow access to Medicare for anyone who wants it and is willing to pay? UPS, Fedex, and many others do very well in competition with the US Post Office. The same would be true of health care. This would be much better than imposing taxes, fees or price controls on private companies.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  206. Lara

    The archaic anti-trust exemption should be wiped out NOW!!!! Shine the light on that, finally!

    I support the public option, I concede to mandated insurance to arrive at a public option, and I am glad to see rising support towards these ends.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  207. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    Public Option, yes–that's social justice. Mandatory, no! that's slavery. Americans want choice not mandates. The only way we could have mandatory health insurance would be if there was a single payer and everyone paid tax like we do for Medicare and that the Public Option-Medicare fund wasn't being constantly emptied for somebody's pet projects.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  208. annoyed citizen

    The bills that Congress have proposed has nothing to do with bettering the Healthcare System. They're simply trying to redirect money from the private sector to the public sector. If they were truely interested in reform, they would all be pro interstate commerce. If person in New York can buy insurance Wyoming, you'll see how fast the cost would drop. On another note, what happened to transparency? The final bill will be drafted behind closed doors and even if they put online, 1,500 pages is a bit much for anyone to read including Congress. This is more of the same political BS in the clothing of Hope and Change.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  209. Bob Southfield, MI

    I'm a senior with Medicare and I vote yes on health care reform with both a public option and manditory enrollment. I am not threatened in the least by the phony messages from the Party of No that seniors will lose Medicare benefits under a reformed program. The basic Medicare program will remain unchanged and adjustments will be made to a more expensive Medicare option. A watered down health care package without a public option and manditory enrollment is not reform.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  210. joe s

    Insurance company Y competes with insurance company X.Bothceo's profit for themsrlves $5,000,000 a year. The goverbnent czar of the public option makes $250,000 a year.Whose premiums would you rather pay? The private insurer or the public option ? By the way.this is called real competition.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  211. Esther Ohio

    PUBLIC OPTION
    they have tax income tax and medicare and social security they can find a way to make it available for all. If it is good enough for them to have a government operated health care it is good enough for the citizens who put them in office to have the same. get rid of private insurance and go all public. The amount that they pay their CEO a year will pay for our health care.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  212. Chuck in Sheboygan, WI.

    Yes, we should have a public option. Poll after poll shows that the majority of American's want one, so let's get it done. Better yet, a single-payer system, but our spineless politicians aren't going to let that happen. Mandatory? Well, if you choose not to have insurance I think you get no care but do agree to be an organ donor.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  213. Tim - North Dakota

    YES, YES, YES. Nobody questions weather auto insurance should be mandatory. We need an option...A public option.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  214. Sandra

    Yes to both. However, fairness dictates that we lower costs, and I am convinced we need a public option to do so. It astounds me that people who like and depend on medicare don't see that a public option handled properly can be a really good thing.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  215. Ryan - Galesburg, IL

    Yes, it must contain both a strong public option, and universal coverage. We need the competition, and if not universal, the emergency room will still be primary care for too many. This must be about health, not wealth.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  216. catherine

    Public Health Option is the only option; without Public Health Insurance their is no reform.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  217. Bill....Michigan

    yes, jack
    it's time the congress actually voted the way that we, who elected them, wish........
    rather than the way the lobbyists want
    medicare for all is still the best way
    Bill in Michigan

    October 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  218. gueos

    We need a public option...
    It has no sense people dying in the most powerful country in the world for the lack of health insurance. It looks to me that health care is a luxury services in this country instead to be basic service the every citizen should have. It is cheaper to go to other countries and be treated for health issue, visit those countries and come back to USA.
    Some people might say that is not safety to go other countries to take care those issues, but let me remind you that USA is not the only country with good doctors or hospitals. In fact it would be an excellent business to create clinics in Canada or Mexico exclusively to attend U.S. Citizens.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  219. Shawn Powers

    I hear and read about what they want to do but what about me the person that they supposedly represent I am an Emt for a private ambo company and I don't make enough to pay my bills and eat and have gas how can I possibly have this as an extra cost. I made about 27000 last year and don't qualify for any sort of assistance. My bills are rent, BGE, car insurance, phone with my only extra being basic cable w/ internet, after that is food and gas. I haven't bought clothes except socks and underwear in 5 yrs How can I be expected to shoulder more in an economy that after all is said and done I still might have to decide between eating and having gas to get to work. Maybe our august body of statesmen can buy their own gas and start having to spend their own money then they might understand why ours is so important to us.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  220. Jo

    Yes to a public option and yes to everyone having to have health insurance according to financial status! Really my choice is MEdicare for all!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  221. Roosevelt Samuels

    Yes to public option, on a national level it would cut purse string of the insurance corporations and provide affordable healthcare. Every American needs healthcare or only those who can afford the cost... Let us decide which thought difines us.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  222. Betty

    Yes and yes! If you can only see it from a "self-interest" perspective, it is much like the requirement we have for drivers to have car insurance. Have a car? Must have car insurance. Why? To protect all of us from the cost/problems associated with an accident involving an uninsured motorist. Apply the same scenario to health care. It is really very simple.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  223. Janet

    Yes, insurance should be mandatory for all
    Yes, a public option should be mandatory as well.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  224. C.J. - Michigan

    Mandatory health insurance without meaningful price control? Wrap that bad boy up with a bow and send it Big Pharma for the holidays.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  225. Leonard R. Sendelsky

    We Should Also Pass Meaningfull Tort Reform To Cut Down Frivolous Law Suits Where The Doctor followed Clinical Pathways As Outlined In Best Practices By There Peers Depending On The Disease Or Illness and Were Followed By The Provider

    October 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  226. Rosalie Blackmon

    Everyone including the Senators voting know there is no real health reform without a public option.
    Everyone needs to remember when it's time to vote how your Senator voted!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  227. joe zappia

    jack...this issue boggles my mind...the fact that americans cant see the benefit of a public option plan...this shows that AMERICANS truly dont care at all about each other...the top 1% obviously runs the country...and they dont want the public option plan...but for the american people to agree with that top 1% is even more troubling...im from canada...and as u know we have FREE health care...emergency rooms are generally super busy...and the process usually is long and drawn out...but EVERYONE gets treatment...the treatment they need...ya we get taxed more than the US but its well worth it...the priorities of the US Government do not include its people

    October 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  228. Matthew from Orange,CA

    How many people in this country DON'T have health insurance because they can't afford it? Alot!

    If you make it manditory, they still won't have it because they still don't have the money, and if they die from something preventable, well you just lost tax revenue for the future especially if they didn't have children.

    If you force me to buy something, you better give me more than one option to fit my budget, otherwise scrape off the word 'democracy' and scroll in the word, 'dictatorship.'

    October 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  229. Clint from Tulsa

    Not only should we have a public option, we should go all the way with true universal, single-payer health care like the rest of the industrialized world. Health care companies be damned.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  230. Sherry Gallegos

    Yes; healthcare reform must include a strong public option, so that poor and low income citizens and citizens who have no medical coverage through work can be covered. Isn't that a major reason for healthcare reform, to cover the millions of Americans who have no insurance? Since insurance companies are concerned about loosing business to the publice option, congress could establish limits on who has access to the public option.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  231. Bill Case

    Jack you just said something on air that started light bulbs popping. Could you explain what you meant by changing the anti-trust laws in order to make health insurance companies more competitive? Wolfe said that the Health Insurance Companies have been avoiding even discussing that. Why?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  232. Mike from Florida

    We all pay for non-payers either directly or in-directly. You probably pay a non-insured motorists fee, for those who feel they don't need insurance or feel their money is needed for drugs, booze or other more important essentials. I really know that gang bangers are going to get health insurance and tax it through their taxes. Responsible people will always pay for the irresponsible.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  233. Doris/St. Louis

    Health insurance should be mandatory only if it has a public option. Average Americans would benefit from the breakup of Insurance companies, remember MA BELL. I'm getting a little tired of the ongoing debates and conversations, I'm wating for congress and the President to act in the interest of mid-low income Americans. I'm wating for my president to meet his campaign promise on healthcare.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  234. Linda

    The public option obviously adds to the competitive aspect of health insurance reform. I am sure insurance companies do not want to go out of business, so this will force them to be more competitive and therefore drive down the costs.

    I do think that insurance should be mandatory too, if it is affordable. If those at the lower end of the economic scale cannot afford to pay for insurance, then it should be provided by the government. I welcome my tax dollars helping the poor get good healthcare. This benefits everyone.
    Linda

    October 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  235. Edda Richards

    Absolutely – YES – Public option is a MUST –
    it is an option.
    It may drive some Insurance companies out of business –
    or some – as change is inevitable – will take the role of secondary insurers. Those that want to and can afford it – may get supplementary insurance.
    Thee are way too many Insurance companies anyway – too confusing – and create too much duplication and of services (= waste) and administrative costs.
    The global financial meltdown (as all balloons eventually will burst – and the wall street one does every 10-15 yrs) should finally be a wakeup call for business and individuals to become more realistic and less greedy – live within thier means – and perhaps business can cut (a suggestion) 10% of employee time and wages – and NO bonuses and minimal "golden parachute" – so more of the now unemployed can be employed and those that are still working can stay.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  236. RJ from Lake,MI

    Get rid of your cell phone,high-speed internet,satellite tv,car loans, designer clothes,Nikes, weekends out at the bar and then see if you still cant afford insurance. Your health care should be more important than any of these other things I mentioned and you should have to pay for your own health insurance before you have any of these luxuries period!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  237. guy

    The media needs to explain to the people how polls are conducted. I been in this world for 43 yars my parents and grand parents longer than that, I have never been notified of the taking of a poll. The polls are selected by area of maybe 1500 or 10, 000 people and that is used to represent the nation. The polls if taken on the internet represents younger people who frequent the internet.. I find it hard to imagine that young people 21 years old would want to pay 21, 000 a year when the majority would not need it until they reach 30 years old. Unlike car insurance that mandatory because you driving a car. health insurance is different because you will be paying for something you do not need. Why would you want to penalize yourself for not having coverage. THINK!!!!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  238. javiera

    Yes!! Let's finish what FDR started with Social Security. It's time already!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  239. Kego from VA

    Hell Yes, and I can't wait to sign up for the public option! The private insurance companies are just mad because they know once it's madatory that everyone has insurance and the public option takes effect, then people will run to to public option and the private insurance companies will either have lower their premiums and compete or get the hell out of the business completely. I personally hope they either play ball or get pushed out of the business, darn crooks. They might as well say goodbye now to their overpaid CEO's and outrageous profits that they've mad off of our backs. Come on public option, hurry up. I can't wait until it happens.

    Kego, Mount Jackson, Virginia

    October 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  240. Gigi Oregon

    Maybe we need to get rid of the fat cat insurance providers it could bring down he cost. of medical care and provide insurance coverage for all concerned. Capitalism is only good for the rich...

    October 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  241. Carlos from NYC

    Yes, It's time we join the rest of the industrialized world and put healthcare as a right a citizen has rather than a personal choice based on affordability. Has anybody investigated the cost of private health insurance which supplement government healthcare systems in countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, etc.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  242. Nick

    it would be niceif public option is included and be manatory. definitly the deficit would increase, but its worth it. Also I think if the public option is not there, they could pass it for now as its something. they work on public option in future. This is something like what Kennedy regretted for not having to agree with Nixon on his universal health plan. Pass something now and modify later.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  243. Peggy Roney

    YES! A Public Option truly is the ONLY way the Health Insurance Industry will ever shape up and do its fair share. Medicare for Everyone should be an available choice. It's even more important for each person to be required to purchase health insurance than for auto insurance because not everyone drives; however, EACH one of us could get sick or injured.
    Thank you.
    Peggy Roney
    Avondale Estates, GA

    October 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  244. Pamela holt

    Foley,al. I believe that there should be a public option , but I don"t believe that it should be mandantory, and that American citizens should be fined if they don"t purchase insurance. I know that there has to be others, like me, who because of paying continually high rising homeowners insurance, along with continually high rising medicare supplement , insurance, are not going to be able to afford health insurance. My husband has to have his Medicare supplement, because , at his age,79 , he always has someting that needs a procedure, the latest being prostrate cancer. I am younger, and fortunate to be in good shape, so maybe I can wait longer. Though with all the air pollutants, swine flu and preservatives that we , the people are being subjected to , we all should be covered free.it. Is thru no fault of our own, that some of us are being affected by these things an example is, asbestosis, which my husband has, because of being exposed to asbestos,that is still being used today. So there is no telling how many people are becomming very illegal today, through no fault of their own.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  245. Jon Hare

    No-never. It is a scary fact that once you allow any form of a public option the insurance companies will go out of business and the goverment will take over all health care. This is has been said years ago by several democractic legislators and has been their long term Plan. FOX NEWS (yes they are a news organization) has tape of these folks years ago describing the takeover of all health care in detail. Health care will be standing in line like the DMV or Post Office! Stand firm and do not let open the door to a government social takeover.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  246. james ky.

    Consumer health care (single payer)health care for life.Consumer federal retail sales tax (5%to10%).Consumer tax pays all health care costs.Health care costs must be regulated ,to stay in consumer tax framework. Everyone pays,everyone has health care.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  247. J, Utah

    To: JonATTY
    Canadians go to their ERs for every little thing. They use the ER when they can't get in to see their own doctor, etc. I'm sure their free-system is well abused and their 14% tax on everything pays for it.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  248. Aurora

    A very simple answer to a very complex issue: Yes

    October 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  249. Ellen Northy

    If people are honest about fixing health care they must include the public option. Without a public option there is nothing in the bills that will bring down cost or guarantees affordable insurance for people with health problems. I think everyone should be required to have insurance but only if it’s affordable.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  250. Paula Miles

    Yes to mandatory health care and yes to a public option. I vote for expanding medicare to cover everybody. I have it and it works extremely well. For profit health care insurance coverage simply makes no sense since the industry is meant to make profit from our health woes and pass it on to their shareholders, dah! Doesn't that sound wrong when you really think about it?

    October 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  251. Mark Baltin

    Yes. It's the only way to keep these jerks (i.e. the insurance companies) honest.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  252. Michael, Liverpool, NY

    No. The Public option will cost the taxpayers money for something that coudl be done differently and get the desired effect: coverage for everyone by instead modifying the anti-trust laws so that no company or companies can restrict or block any competition. That would mean not only all treatments but also all possibl eplan s meaning fully customizable ones. Sp that should not only improv ecare and place teh burden on insuranc eto operate correctly but will also take care of everyone because the customization option would allow for low cost plans tailored to each person or household which should cover everyone not eligible for Medicaid.
    NO! health insurance should not be mandatory for all. Those who can pay upfront for their total healthcare costs should be allowed to and not forced to take a plan that would cost them more.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  253. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Absolutely! In both cases. Why should we legislate that 7 to 15% of our health care dollars go into the pockets of billionaires? That's not capitolism, that's CORRUPTION!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  254. Patricia - Pine Plaines NY

    Must have the public option. Too many have been denied coverage by the almighty health insurance companies. There is nothing wrong with government run Medicare, so what's the problem? S-Chip is government run as well as Medicaid. Some people, called the working poor, do not qualify for any of these "Government" run insurance policies. They fall through the crack. Many others have reached the end of what the insurance company will pay. These folks are going bankrupt trying to keep their loved ones alive. What kind of country are we? We can and should do better.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  255. Kay

    Yes we need a Public Option & Everyone should be mandated to have health insurance.

    I worked previously for an insurance company, & they had lots of money, & medical reviews on claims that have been turned down.

    I also worked for a medical facility, that had a trauma center & the people who weren't insured was amazing. They either couldn't get coverage or were young & didn't think they needed to have insurance. A new system still won't work unless everyone participates; I'm tiried of picking up the uninsured's tab.

    Kay

    October 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  256. Pamela holt

    Correction, very ill today, not illegal!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  257. Alice

    Yes, it should contain a Public Option and Yes, it should be mandatory, just like car insurance or fire insurance (if you have a loan). If we don't get these issues completed this time....now we have a Democrate who is more interested in social issues and fair play than the Republicans, who would rather be dropping bombs on Bagdhad, it just won't happen.

    The American people should be fed up with the Republican party...the Party of No....the Party of not interested....the Party that won't play fairly....they would rather spend money on repairing the damage they have done with all their bombs than to do something really great for our own country.

    Signed,
    No longer a Republican

    October 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  258. Jon Hare

    No public option. Open the door and this will ultimately lead to a government takeover of the whole industry. I hope Obama does not know what number comes after a trilion!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  259. Lori Coulson

    Yes - we need Medicare For All -

    Let's put this in figures Congress might understand. Under our current system, the U.S. Government is losing tax revenue every year because 40,000 tax payer and potential taxpayers die each year from lack of health care.

    That breaks out to 800 people per state - which means those states are losing the income they might have received if those taxpayers had had health care.

    Senators and Representatives - yearly you're losing the campaign contributions (and the votes) those 800 people might have made to your campaign had they had health care.

    Now - if you multiply the number of people who died from lack of health care, by the years they might have lived , and then multiply that amount by the taxes they would have paid over those years I think the resulting sum would have paid for Medicare for All.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  260. Rory Murray

    Jack,
    In my reckless twenties, I could barely pay my auto or health insurance. I am grateful that now in my fifties, I am covered. Even though I am still considered a "high risk".
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino

    October 20, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  261. Gill Gamesh Pyramid Lke, NV

    yes if it's good enough for the Public to pay for the healthcare of Insurance Company exec's Healthcare, the same option should be afforded those who subsidize theirs,

    October 20, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  262. Mike farell

    Jack, no public option. the Feds should just establish the rules of the game. The current rules don't work. If they desire more competition, let them compete across state lines. If they want to cover everyone, tell them they must have plans suitable for the poor from a cost perspective and cannot deny based on ! If they want to slow down costs, establish wellness programs that are outcome based and provide financial incentives to the individual AND the provider based on their performance. Also establish a data exchange network for healthcare providers – I call it the healthcare highway. Better use of technology holds a significant capability to lower costs.

    If anyone thinks they'll get right the public option, please notify those against it a history or even a single program that has been effective, under budget and efficient and has a net-positive to our country. Its so screwed up now I can't imagine one can be found.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  263. Jonathan McDaniel

    Mr. Cafferty;

    Yes, healthcare Insurance reform should contain mandate as long as there is a public option. However, there is no need to create a new government agency. Instead, any citizen who wants should be able to buy into Medicare. Currently, Medicare is going into the red, but if you allow everyone to buy into the system it will create competition, increase revenue for the program and allow increase pay outs to doctors.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  264. Dianne of Paducah

    Yes on both questions! Everyone should have good health care in the US, goes along with no one should be homeless or hungry in the US.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  265. Jeff Barringer

    Yes Jack,
    It should on both counts. How can we, as Americans turn our
    backs on fellow Americans, just because we feel that they
    do not deserve health care. We need to get passed this selfish
    and petty bickering and do the ethical, just, righteous, and most
    importantly, compassionate thing by passing health care of the
    people, of the people, and for the people!

    Jeff in Tallahassee, FL

    October 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  266. Donald in CA

    True health reform will only be successful with a public option. Its no secret why the insurance companies and the GOP who looks out for rich companies are against it. All americans should have health care, but there has to be a way that the poor can afford it.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  267. Fred in NH

    Jack, There is a need to fill the void for a minimum health insurance plan that provides fair service. A very simple solution is to set a major milestone for the industry. If they can't shed the exclusions for pre-existing, non preferred people, and make an option that is fair and affordable within one year, it kicks in automatically. No more games, no stallling, no fear ads. No second round of votes. Do it once and do it right. The public option can be a basic plan.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  268. kathleen rollins

    I support both the public option and mandatory enrollment. Healthcare is responsible of every individual so everyone should be required to carry insurance. This could be either public option or private insurance that has the same rules of the public option of amount of coverage required.
    Without the public option insurance companies will continue to game the system. They are a business responsible to wall street who expect profit from their business. This is not what happens all the time when it comes to the health and needs of our patients.
    I believe in the future the public option will be favored by the public overwhelming just like medicare. I know new methods of payment and prevention and wellness need to stressed in our health care programs. Measurement of outcomes based on professionals of your own organizations. The care of the chronically ill with multiply diagnoses need to be evaluated and cared for by a primary doctor who coordinates and causes communications to occur before individual decisions are made that could be deterimental for this type of patient.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  269. Cary

    YES – we need govt sponsored health care like every other country in the modern world. I spent 23 yrs in the Army and had EXCELLENT health care, and have now used the Veterans Admin for the past 20 yrs and have received WONDERFUL health care. I don't understand what the American people are thinking. Politicians and presidents have been using Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval for health care for 100 yrs.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  270. GWTripp in Pennsylvania

    Yes and yes again. The recent threat made by health care insurers to raise our rate is proof of the need for both. What has not been addressed is the actual cost of the health care provided. Hospitals charge too much. Doctors charge too much. Those providing health care equipment and technology charge too much. Research and development of new procedures, new technology, new drugs costs too much. And how about the pharmaceuticals? They charge too much. Advertising for their products and services cost too much. Insurance for physician liability costs too much. Somebody is getting rich off of all this suffering. We must mandate that health care be not-for-profit and salaries and fees of hospital administrators and physicians need to be regulated. We need a government run, public option.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  271. Hal, somewhere in West Virginia

    I'm not really sure about the public option, it's a take it or leave it idea for me. Now mandatory coverage, at the threat of tax penalties and/or fines is absolutely insane, whether or not there's a government subsidy or exemption in it for the people who can't afford it. I turned to my elected officials for help with a totally different matter a couple years ago and they flat out refused to help me at all, why should I trust my government will help me when it comes to paying for health care that I can't afford on my own, no matter who's providing it? Why should I be forced to take something I don't feel right taking just because the government threatens to take money I don't have from me if I don't? I may be unemployed, but I'm not a burden on the health care system, I've only been to a doctor one time in nine years and paid for that visit with cash, I am not on welfare, not on food stamps, never got unemployment benefits, none of that stuff because I don't want to be another burden to the over-taxed working American people, I want to be one of those working American people.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  272. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    A public option, no matter how it is framed, will be the beginning of the end of the healthcare industry. Doctors will make very little money ruining the incentive to want to study for 8-10 years and rack up huge student loan debt. It will be the first big step at a government takeover of the medical industry, which will necessarily lead to rationing of health services. It will further shrink the middle class and push us more to a 2 class system of "Haves" who can afford top-notch healthcare , and a large "Havenot" crowd who will live in government cost controlled healthcare and their lives will have as much meaning as an ant in a hill when it comes to making critical expensive health decisions. So I say, "Maybe" to both your questions.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  273. brainsqueez

    It shouldn't be mandatory.

    But tell me if this is allowed or if it's against rules. Could the legislation for the public option contain a stop-loss clause of some kind. Maybe it would say something like this:

    "if the fiscal outcome of this bill causes the public option to run deficits of x% or sustain losses of $Y for [some short period of time], this legislation is ipso facto null and void."

    This would force the Democrats to make it work; if they allowed it to become a money pit, then the public option would literally disappear. That would anger 30+ million people, allegedly. Not a good election day equation. This might also allow Republicans to be brought on-board because the Democrats would find new life in tort reform.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  274. Warren

    They seem to be intent on putting the public option in one way or the other no matter what the people think. Someone should make it mandatory for every member of Congress and The Executive branch to be covered by the public option, thats the only way that it would cover anything. If it's good enough for us it should be good enough for Congress and Obama.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  275. joe wagner

    Yes we need a public opyion . I think that when thay wear " controlling inflation" thay also controled what the people at the top got we would not have needed it now. people would still have there homes and retirerments and maybe jobes but its all about greed . If you really have an eye on good goverment vote for someone new each time you vote and ask them have you been in office befor including dogcasher.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  276. Jon Hare

    NoBAMA. There are much more simple options: make insurance compete across state lines and regulate costs of Drs and drug companies. Oh, I forgot, they own the Congress. Forced competition in the private insurance and control outlandish medical fees.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  277. RJ from Lake,MI

    People have had to pay for health care since the beginning of time, why should this have to change? Far too many wants with no way of paying for it! Your life has always been a crap shoot, live as healthy as you can and cross your fingers you get to live to be old and gray! Some people get sick annd some peole die thats life, get used to it!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  278. T Woods

    I will never understand the logic behind opposing health care for everyone, even if that must happen by mandate and a public option to ensure everyone can follow the law and obtain coverage.

    Every driver in this country is mandated to carry some form of insurance in order to maintain their driving privileges and cover losses in the case of accident. Yet some of these same people scream in protest when this same mandate is applied to their health and well being.

    This alone speaks volumes about what we truly value in this country.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  279. Vickie Edmonds

    I believe a public option needs to be part of the health care bill. This is the need of two 65 and 66 yr old adults and three young adults ranging from 31 to 34 in our family. They need to kick the republicans to the curb and just vote for it. 73% of us Americans believe firmly in this.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  280. Leonard R. Sendelsky

    If These Best Practices Were Followed And Protected The Provider Against These Frivolous Law Suits Drs And Other Providers Would Not Have To Practice Defensive Medicine By Ordering exesive Tests And Consults That Were Not Necessary In The First Place Based On Outcomes. This Would Save Billions Of Dollars.Then Ther Would Be More Money Left In The System To Give Doctors And Other Providers Higher Reimbursements So They Deliver The qwality Health Care We Expect and Deserve. Instead Of Proiding Qwantity Health Care.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  281. Raoul New Orleans, La

    400% profit growth over eight years equals 400% more lobbying power. We need a public option now, not four years from now. The health insurance industry is a cartel which has more power than the constituencies of our elected officials. Until we get public financing of Congressional campaigns, we the people cannot compete with they the lobbyists. As for mandatory insurance, it sounds about as enforceable as illegal immigration. Good luck.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  282. WHOEVER

    It's not necessary to have a "Public Option" in order for Health Care to be Mandatory. Besides, a Public Option isn't viable because only sick and poor people (or both) will end up in it. And that would lead to that same fiasco Medicaid and Medicare are in because of same reason: healthy and/or rich people find AND pay for expensive Health care the sick and/or poor people can't find because they can't pay for it. What's necessary for any new Health Care System to be and stay payable for all those insured AND equally accessible at the same time is WHAT'S SUCH A BIG PROBLEM in US: it would require others to pay for others instead of themselves and/or their own (children, family). That is what in US is called a Socialistic Health Care System, but believe me: if US want to have good Health Care for EVERYONE, that's also payable for everyone AND equally accessible to everyone, THAT's YOUR OPTION!

    October 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  283. kevin kelly sc

    A strong public option is necessary to have any remote chance of bringing down the insurance premiums.I thought that was the reason we democrats have been fighting for all these years.It turns out we have alot of spineless and suspect Democrats in our party where you have to question who they are loyal to.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  284. Brian

    You almost said it Jack "SINGLE PAYER" thats what we need. Short of that ,the public option is a must, otherwise working families will keep getting screwed by the insurance companys. It should be mandatory to have health insurance. I dont understand why the Congress must reinvent the wheel, and have an "American" healtcare system. We should study other countries, Canada, U.K., Japan ect., keep what works, dump what does not. This hodge podge garbage coming out of Congress is no where near what this country really needs....God help us. Brian Fealy, Concord,Ca.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  285. Scott Richards

    In response to Slotl, Marietta, Ga October 20th, 2009 4:03 pm ET that left the post regarding "The Tax Reform Act of 1986 contained a provision called SECTION 89". Yes, I am familiar with that amendment. Does every amendment passed in the life of the US Constitution survive the common sense test or ensure civil liberties are not trampled upon? Was prohibition (18th Amendment) really a Constitutionally sound amendment or was it found later to be errant? I believe the later to be true, I'll drink to that.

    So just because we see an amendment paving the way for another government action, or maybe inaction is more appropriate, let's not rush to claim a legal and Constitutionally sound decision. The US Government still works for "US" vi se vi the Constitution and more often than not passes laws and amendments that are found later to be damaging to individual rights and repugnant to the Constitution. Respectfully, Scott......

    October 20, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  286. Jack - Lancaster, OH

    Jack:

    It should be "mandatory" for elected officials to put in a days work for a days pay, and buy their own insurance as well. As far as the public option, the public should have options for Jobs. People, the majority, would work and pay for these things if only they had an environment the constitution (U.S.) intended to provide, that is a national ethic for the good of the nation, jobs, competition, privacy, oh yeah, and the pursuit of happiness. What we have is not even close.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  287. tom costello

    only if the benefits/cost of coverage are the same for everone, including all those that work for the goverment

    October 20, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  288. Mode (PDX, OR)

    It should not be mandatory. America is hemorrhaging freedoms. To mandate health care–which will probably turn out to be yet another baby boomer scam that robs the USA and especially younger generations–would be one more step towards turning the USA into an illegitimate Nation. I don't trust our statesmen or any legislation they might cobble together.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  289. Edda Richards

    more – forgot to respond
    It also must be mandatory – as far as that can be accomplished.
    Or all those people – including the 'illegals', prostitutes, pimps, drug pushers-dealers, underground weapons dealers, etc- all those engaging in the cash -underground – business – will continue to pile into the Hospitals Emergency rooms – and of course at tax payers' expense. That MUST not continue.
    What is wrong with taxing the Cadillac insurance ?????
    The $250.00 Medicare payment is fair – and it helps those receiving lower payments the most – better that an across the board % increase. (I only get $520 .00 – so this is a huge help).

    October 20, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  290. Dave from Springfield, VA

    I am a retired Federal government employee who enjoys the same health care system that every, repeat every, member of the House and Senate AND their staffs enjoy. (It's rather disingenuous of members of Congress to speak out against government-sponsored health care while living under the auspices of such a system themselves, don't you think?) But it is expensive! In 2010, the monthly premium for my plan, which covers me and my wife, will be $1,140. To pay for this, $325 will be withheld from my annuity, and the rest ($815) will be paid by the Government. In other words, the entire amount is paid by the U.S. taxpayers. And the same thing applies to every member of Congress and those who work in their offices. A public option will add the needed competition to attack the outrages cost of this system.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  291. Jon Hare

    No need. There are many other ways to bring insurance and medical costs down to reality. Drs charge what insurance pays. Ten years ago it cost $35 for teeth cleaning, now it costs $35 for a toothbrush.
    Regulate the industry don't take it over, the government is much better at that! Maybe we can tax them instead of ourselves and actually reduce my childrens debt.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  292. Lewis E Stepp

    A Public Option Insurance Company is a red herring. If the POIC follows the same regulations and reserve requirements as mandated for private insurers, as Senator Schumer advocates, then it will be just another of 1300 insurance companies and we will have spent 6 billion in tax-payer start-up funds without any true change in the system. Private insurers will compete effectively with the POIC just as they currently do with non-profits and large employers will continue to self-insure. If we are not going to single-payer then let's just try to fix what we have and not add to the debt load of our grandchildren.

    Lewis Stepp, Cincinnati, Ohio

    October 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  293. Nick, Phoenix, AZ

    I'd prefer a Medicare for all, single payer system, but I know that will never happen in this country......sadly.

    It should have a VERY strong public option where anyone could opt in but no one should be forced into it.

    It should NOT be mandatory and there should be NO fines if you don't want or can't afford private health insurance.

    If there is no strong private option, the entire plan is pointless.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  294. BEVERLY-Mystic,Iowa

    2nd P.S. today: Remember, only certain people will qualify for the public option, but we can be certain that those who are accepted are the ones who so desperately need it. Staying with my earlier religious themeof today; one of many applicable WARNINGS from Jesus, is "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, you do also to me."

    October 20, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  295. Gene T

    Without a public option, there is no real healthcare reform. Incentives to have healthcare coverage need to be included with consequences for people with no insurance, but coverage should not be mandatory. What should be mandatory is stricter regulation of the medical insurance companies. Why stop there. As long as we are in a mandatory mood, let's put stricter regulations on Wall Street, banks, oil companies, and any other group of individuals that make hugh profits with little regard for the American people. The healthcare issue is only the tip of the iceberg.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  296. david doherty

    YES! without it, it's not really reform! Without giving the insurance companies competition they'll continue too stick it to it's customers. Why would they change buisness as usual when it's paying so well!

    Dave from NH.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  297. tom costello

    i agree with with jack–put the total health care system under medicare.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  298. David A Whitaker

    Just plain Yes Jack, the insurance will not change how they do business.

    David

    Martinsburg, WV

    October 20, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  299. Jackie in Dallas

    Once again, CNN has "lost" my comment.

    Yes, a resounding YES, to a public option. I'm not so enthusiastic as to the mandatory part, but it may be necessary.

    I'm one of the 47+ millions of US citizens who pays my taxes, serves on jury duty, as done my military service, etc. and who is NOT insured at this time. Why? Because at 59 years old, with pre-existing health issues (not controllable, either) insurance company options are limited for me. I plain and simple cannot afford to be covered. So I have to pray that I don't get really sick and have to choose between dying from lack of care, or losing my home and everything else.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  300. Leonard R. Sendelsky

    We Should Eliminate Health Care Savings Accounts. So The Healthy And Wealthy Are In The Insurance Pool. These People At Some Time Will Develope A Sickness Or Illness And Then They Could Opt In Under The Provision Of Non Denial Of Pre Existing Conditions. And Would Be A Large Cost To The Rest Of Us Who Have P urchacing Insurance All Along It Is Blatenly Unfair

    October 20, 2009 at 4:46 pm |