August 17th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Pres. Obama willing to retreat on health care?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There are growing signs that President Obama may be willing to drop one of the key parts of his health care reform plan. If it happens, chalk up a big victory for the Republicans and the insurance companies.

After weeks of criticism against a proposed government-run insurance plan - and the increasingly rowdy town hall meetings - the president now says the public option for coverage is just a sliver of the overall proposal. But it's a big sliver - especially politically.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone further - saying a direct government role in the reformed system is "not the essential element." Sebelius says "what's important is choice and competition." One option that may replace the idea of the government running health care is nonprofit health cooperatives that would compete with the private sector.

If the president decides to drop the "public option" it has the potential to both help and hurt him in the ongoing debate. Mr. Obama would take away some of the steam from the Republicans' cries of "a government takeover" of health care. It also leaves room for compromise and potentially getting some Republicans on board.

But, the president risks alienating liberals. Already some top Democrats, like former party chairman Howard Dean, are saying that any health care reform plan must include the public option. One Democratic congressman insists leaving private insurance companies in charge of controlling health care costs is "like making a pyromaniac the fire chief."

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean If President Obama is willing to retreat on health care?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Ramon from Santa Clara, Calif. writes:
It means President Obama is willing to sell out millions of his supporters so he can placate a handful of senators who are in bed with the insurance industry. For goodness sakes, can the Democrats ever win? I thought we did last November. This isn't the change we voted for. It's pathetic.

Chris writes:
It's a victory for the Republicans and the insurance companies only if you are operating under the assumption that Americans cannot hear an argument and make an intelligent choice as to which side of a debate makes the most sense to them. Obama's willingness to drop a public option has nothing to do with the Republicans or the insurance companies (in theory, he needs neither to get his agenda passed). It has everything to do with the average American's trepidation over the size and overreaching nature of this reform.

Joseph writes:
It means the Democratic Party has no backbone. They have a full majority in the House and the Senate and can't even pass a piece of mainstream Democratic health care legislation, which in my opinion is why we gave them control of both houses in the first place. If they don't pass a public option in this health care reform bill, I give up on anything important ever getting done in this country that will bring real change.

Albert from Los Angeles writes:
If Obama ducks from the Republican lies about health care, it will leave an enduring image similar to when Bush ducked from that shoe thrown at him – a target. Obama should force Republicans to a filibuster. The congressional record will then set the record straight about the identity of the "death panel" who unplugged grandma when her Medicare coverage, and our nation, soon goes broke: the Republican Party!

R.J. writes:
What does it mean if Obama backtracks on the public option? That's simple: It means he's a one-term president.

Filed under: Health care • President Barack Obama
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Cody Harding

    It means that propaganda without truthful debate has won. Yes, there are serious problems with the bill, but many of those problems lie in legal wrangling and oversight, not in public option. Shouting and creating outright lies only serves to weaken our system and alienate those who truly need reform. However, you won't hear the Republicans complaining, because they'll get their government seats and forget about the people.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  2. Mary Gilbert

    It means that, once again, our Democratic politicians have surrendered to the the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party. I had such high hopes for this president. I am very fortunate to have federal health insurance and I wish I could donate some of mine to the millions that don't have any and probably never will. It is a sad day in American history. I only hope that a happy ending is still possible. Sincerely, Mary Gilbert

    August 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  3. Ed from Southwest Colorado

    It means that the far right's, the insurance companies' and big pharm's scare tactics and townhall meeting disruptions are working. Fear seems to always work on an uneducated and ignorant public who are too lazy to find out the actual facts. Also there is a congress that is indebted to the healthcare industry and afraid to lose their re-election cash cows.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  4. Patricia Stauffer

    Jack, I am hoping this was yet another brilliant strategy to get the his voters back in the discussion with Congress and the Senate. His voters voted for "a plan just like they have". And those that do not support the Public Option that have no problem taking advantage of a Public Option need to understand this is not about them. It is about those who voted this President into office. He speaks for us and we voted for a Public Option in November. I am hoping the outcry of it being taken off the table will reenergize the campaign for the Public Option.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  5. Laurie in Lawrence, KS

    It means he is willing to compromise and find the middle ground on this vitally important issue. We haven't had compromise in so long, people have forgotten it is what makes things happen.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  6. Ken

    I've heard news reports some indicating that the administration was backing off the government option and others repudiating that assertion. This health care is complicated enough without politicians giving us mixed messages. Please tell us which it is.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  7. Dennis Lucas

    The "public option" is the least of the ObamaCare Health Plan scenarios. The fact that:
    1) Medicare FRAUD is NOT addressed at a cost of several hundred millions or higher and
    2) Medical Lawsuits are NOT addressed causing much to much to be paid to lawyers on "behalf" of their clients....

    These two items that NEVER get mentioned could SAVE tremendous amounts of monies in the Health Care Sector.....but the Liberals won't address these two issues, period.

    Dennis Lucas
    South Dakota

    August 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  8. Maria

    It means that the party of "No" and mediocrity has won once more, that Americans would rather believe the sound bites rather than do the research, and that 14 years from now we will find ourselves in the same spot, the only difference being the staggering debt that has further crippled our economy as a result of a broken health care system.

    Maria, from Houston

    August 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  9. Lady Dee (Texas)

    Jack, until the President states in his own words that he is considering 'retreating' on any portion of healthcare; my suggestion to you is to put a lid on it.

    Unless he says it, you are only speculating, assuming and you know what the acronym of ASSUME is . . .

    August 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  10. Rick

    It means everything...government run anything always turns in to an expensive bureacratic mess...count on it. Like Obama said himself, UPS & FedEx are doing fine, it's the US Post Office that's not.

    All government managed social programs cost too much, they are top heavy with bureacratic management and unnecessary administration and they cost us dollars.

    Finally, I do not want to live in a socialist state...I want a capatilist free market economy with that all important ingredient...competition. Tap in to it...it works and it's American.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  11. Karen

    If Obama backs down, it will dilute healthcare reform to the point of worthlessness and he will become just another spineless politician who has sold out.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  12. Alex Souza

    Why are you surprised Cafferty, Liberals have always loved the word Retreat.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  13. Steve

    WOW a government that actually compromises and works toward the middle for a solution facing the country? One where we have real give and take for far left and far right positions???

    NO way that can't happen we can't have a government that actually functions can we?????

    August 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  14. Don Ortega, Minneapolis, MN

    President Obama knew that the road of healthcare reform would be a rocky one on both sides of the political spectrum. You can't please everyone. However, he really was an advocate for a public option. I think he should stick to his beliefs that the public option would work. If he doesn't, not only would he go against his campaign promises but it would also make him look flip-floppish. Stand up for what you believe in Mr. Obama, we believe in you!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  15. Scott Hines; Janesville WI

    It means nothing will really change. Big sirprise.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  16. single mom

    Democrats control Congress, but blame the Republicans when they can't get their things through. Get a tighter grip on reality, people.

    And for those who say "If you don't support health reform, then you're anti-American or racist".... I don't care if the president is purple with green and yellow checks or polka dots. I don't care if my president is a man or a woman.
    I care about my country. Ergo, I do not want the president to fail. If the president fails, then my country fails. While you can disagree with the president and still be patriotic, you cannot want the president to fail and be patriotic.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  17. Alice NEWYORK

    You have to get your toe in the door.Half a loaf is better than no loaf. Didn't this happen in 93? Going for the whole pie didn't work.Got to start somewhere?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  18. Linda

    I certainly hope so! From what I've seen so far, he has no clue as to what is going on. People aren't just angry over the health care issue, they are angry about the direction he is taking this country.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  19. MT

    President Obama stated the "government" option will compete with private insurance the same way USPS competes with UPS and FED-EX. Isn't the US now rationing considering postal delivery with no Saturday service? When will the US need to start rationing healthcare in its "option", no doctor visits on Saturdays? When will the GAO declare the public healthcare plan a high risk agency?

    The Postal Service says it will lose approximately $7 billion this fiscal year. The Postal Service says it is considering dropping Saturday service and the Government Accountability Office has officially declared the Postal Service to be a high-risk agency.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  20. Paul from Montreal Canada

    What can you say about a public health plan that may not have already been said? In my humble opinion, after having dealt first hand with overloaded public system, I agree that your sometimes better off chosing for yourself. Here in Canada, we DO have a private system that offers much better turn-around times and better overall healthcare... The catch? It costs $. For those without the finacial means, then it can be 6-8 hours in an emergency waiting room. As for Obama? I'm an observer, I'd like to see some brilliant ideas come out of this to perhaps inspire our leaders to improve a system in much need of repair.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  21. Wilmington, NC

    It means he has recieved a pile of money from The Insurance and
    drug companies for his 2012 run, or his would rather have a slice of the pie than no pie at all.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  22. Mara

    I am a family doctor and it would be terrible. The insurance companies are robbing the employers, physicians and hospitals while denying care to their insured. They are giving out millions in executive bonuses and golden parachutes. We, those in the trenches, need the government to "compete" with the insurance companies so everyone may have access to care at a reasonable price.

    By the way, do you know that insurance companies already require primary care docs to talk to patients about end of life care from age 18 up? It has to be documented in our charts when they audit us. It is , however, a non-reimbursed service. Sounds just like unfunded government mandates. In this case, Mr. Obama actually wanted us to get paid for our time and expertise.


    August 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  23. Jim

    The issue is not just Obama and the Democrats Health care plan, but the way they are going to pay for it. In Colorado and Montana, Obama, finally came out and told the American people that 2/3rds of the money would come from Medicare and Medicaid "savings". Well the Medicare trust is a separate program which we all pay into, and none of the savings are to go to anything but to keep Medicare going and to keep it solvent. Taking any money from Medicare is to steal money from our elderly, and to take money from Medicaid is to steall from all of the pockets of each persom in the country since each of the States through their part of the contribution participates in Medicaid along with the federal Government. Obama talks about "savings", but he does not want to use those savings for Medicare or Medicaid, which need fixing, but for a new Health Care Program, which has not been shown to be needed. Part of the 47 million do not want health insurance, and choose to not get it. Others have it through other sources, but have not exercised their options yet, so they are considered uninsured, and will be until they make a choice.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  24. Stephanie Foley

    Don't believe any of them. They all all liars!! No public option. Just smoke and mirrors.

    Stephanie Foley Atlanta

    August 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  25. Marcello Pietrobon

    To drop the public option in the health care reform is just crazy.
    It is like not to have a health care reform.

    It is necessary to keep a high quality of health services. But prices are unfairly high.
    How health cooperatives competing with the private sector can be enough effective in guaranteeing that ?!

    Prices need to go down, also for the pharmaceutical companies.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  26. Greggo

    Stick a fork in it. It's done.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  27. Gus from California

    Means big Health owes this government, lock, stock and barrel. That Obama cannot get a bill thru with anything upsetting to the big insurance firms, tells you where the $money you are spending for insurance is going, and it ain't health care.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  28. Derek

    The problem was that Obama never had a Government Health Care PLAN. Plan being the operative word. Obama had an IDEA for Government Health Care. But he did not have a PLAN. So its not really surprising that his IDEA didn't work out.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  29. Mike - Kansas City

    If President Obama does retreat on the public option, it will show that his administration is actually listening to constituents. Most want reform, but are scared of any government run program. Unfortunately, our government has proven time and time again that any government program will cost more and be less efficient. There is no reason to believe that a public option for health care would be any better at controlling costs than the Postal Service or Congress itself. People are afraid of adding even more to the deficit, no matter what promises are made.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  30. Barry

    It means that many in our congress represent themselves, insurance companies, and healthcare industries rather than representing the American public. Interestingly, the results of today's internet polls indicate that a majority of people do favor the public option. It looks like the activists at the town meeting who oppose health care do not speak for the majority.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  31. Randy Buckner

    If you haven't figured it out by now, President Obama is all flash but no substance. He talks a pretty story, but his ideas have all been a failure. People are revolting against socialized medicine across the USA. It is NOT a GOP plot; it is a bad idea.

    Those of us who live on bordering states see how the Canadians flock across the border to receive health care in the USA. If their medical care is such a utopia, why are they coming here? Have politcians lost all common sense? Do they all have blinders on?

    "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."
    - Abraham Lincoln

    August 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  32. BIgSwoll

    President Bush passed most of his bills, took the country into a war, depression, etc. with the help of his house majority that put most of his Agenda through and the country dealt with it “For Better or Worse”
    President Obama & his democratic party should do the same with his Healthcare plan/Agenda and let the country deal with it “For Better or Worse”

    The bottom line is , This healthcare plan might not work for the rich, but will help a lot more people get coverage they won’t otherwise be able to afford. Wake up fellow Countrymen and women. Wake up

    August 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  33. Felix/Cleveland

    Jack, I don't know what it means if he retreats, but I do know what it means if he doesn't--it means at least another 15 years before the next shot of fixing this mess. How come no one listened to the Iraq war opponents in '03? ...now that caused many deaths.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  34. Rod

    Here are a couple of reasons we need a public option

    CEO Compensation 2008:

    Abbott Laboratories, $ 28,253,387 million
    CVS Caremark Corporation, $22,116,260
    Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, $20,172,115
    WellPoint Inc., $8,665,569
    WellCare Health Plans Inc., $5,671,050 (non-profit?)
    Merck & Co. Inc., $25,073,555

    The list is enlist.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  35. Mona

    I hope he does not.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  36. Tom

    The public option and insurance exchanges will only make the system worse... the government screws up everything it touches.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  37. Josh from Chicago

    It means that we are stupid enough to trust for-profit insurance companies than the people we voted for in the goverment. It means that America would rather focus on making a profit from sick people than actually helpng them get better.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  38. Dawn

    Good, start over with some reasonable changes., not liberal ones.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  39. DEE

    Jack, I believe that it means the crazies have won and there is no reason for the rational minded people to vote ever again!


    Houston, TX

    August 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  40. Michael

    I think you're using the wrong word here, Jack. The word your looking for is compromise, and it would be unfortunate. The ultimate impact of his failure to get the public option won't play out for awhile. There are other issues at stake for Obama. This alone may not define his presidency. He'll need to make some positive moves in other areas of foriegn and domestic policy to keep the public interested and satisfied.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  41. jojo

    insurance companies do not want to pay physicians with pre-existing conditions hence very difficult to collect from patients.
    cp oays keep rising up every year, so what's the solution?
    hmo patients have to stay in network and if their choice for specialits are not in network,then too bad since they have to shoulder the fees.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  42. Steven Bracewell

    It means that President Obama has caved to the Republican Commentators and will now be seen as a weak President. It will most likely mean that it will be extremely tough for him to follow thru with the rest, if any of his campaign promises. I want President Obama to "Grow A Pair" and stronghand the Blue Dog Democrats and Senate into forcing thru legislation that the people of this Country elected him to do with no compromise. The Republicans are a party without a leader and he should take advantage of their lame duck status.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  43. Evelyn

    It means that Obama is getting pressure from some where to rethink the plan. It might also mean that politicians are beginning to get the message that the middle class, who would end up paying for the health reform now planned, are vehemently opposed to the current plans under consideration. These Americans are tired of paying for everthing.

    Phoenix, AZ

    August 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  44. John

    It means that Obama sees the wave of opposition that is growing around this country. Not just to healthcare but to a lot of his actions. Politics is about nothing more than votes and Mr. Obama knows he has to change his tune fast before 2012 is over before 2009.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  45. Sheila

    Does a retreat from the public option mean that Medicare is dead? If so – look out Washington – you may have millions of Senior citizens protesting in the streets!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  46. Aaron, Laramie WY


    With all of this "debate" going on in health care, the real question is never asked. Why is health care so expensive?

    What is being debated right now is how to continue the status quo, which is the expansion of health coverage through government programs and TALKING about lowering costs.

    The answer to all of the health care issues lies in the answer to the above question. This entire problem is a creation of the federal government's meddling in health care.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  47. gary s


    The president is way off the the mark on health care but, if he is going
    to retreat on this ( much like clinton) be quick about it and lets move-on, please Mr. Obama focus on jobs , getting the economy back on
    track. He has done a fairly decent job of reparing our image abroad,
    now get busy and get us moving again.
    Gary S
    Riverside Ca

    August 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  48. Carey Hamburg

    It means we will have no reform at all. They have already stripped the measure that would let us buy American-made drugs at the same lower prices that Mexicans and Canadians buy them.

    Instead of Government-run Health Care System, we now have a Health Care System running our Government. Where is the outrage?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  49. Mike Glassmyer

    What this means is that Obama is listening to the "mobs." By conceeding the public option, Obama and his administration are acknowledging public sentiment is not in favor of a government controlled option, while respecting the need to bring reform to an expensive component of our lives: health cost. It will be interested to see this debate move forward.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  50. Kory

    It is my humble belief that it is not only a "big victory for the Republicans and the insurance companies," but a victory for Americans in general.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  51. Nancy in Reno

    I have a pre-existing contidition and I already pay over $1000 a month for health insurance. Without a public option, where will I get coverage when my company cancels me just as I get ready to have my lung transplant? Maybe the public option can be just for the "uninsurable" like the car insurance pools for drivers with bad records. If you get declined by three health insurance companies, you can apply to the public option.

    I read the House proposed bill 3200, and my take on the Death Panel clause is that the plan wants everyone to have in writing their choices for their end of life care. Remember Terry Schaivo? Under the bill, there would have been no 15 years of fighting between family members. Either she would have said, keep me alive at all costs, or turn off the machines, or let my husband make the decision, or my mother is my power of attorney for health care matters. That's what the bill tries to do, get folks to put it in writing ahead of time.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  52. June

    I hate to say it but if President Obama leave out a public option for the health care reform then President Obama is giving in to the Republicans and private health care insurance companies and neglecting his base. I truly hope that he does not allow this to happen. President Obama please forget about being bipartisan on this bill. The Republicans do not care about you, the uninsured or the American people and would like nothing more than to see you fail. Please listen to your base. And you so-called Blue Dogs, you're just a red dog is sheath clothing. You DEMS in the house and senate, get behind your President and pass this health care reform bill. You will soon want POTUS to go out and campaign on your behalf in 2010.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  53. Paul

    what may be a "victory for republicans" will probably be one less choice for americans if obama backs down. we should have the ability to choose how we get our health care, and if one of those choices puts the government in the drivers seat... is that such a bad thing? what if they came up with a better option? i would certainly choose it.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  54. Daisy, Wyoming

    I wish it meant that others would play nice and work with him. However, I've lost ALL faith in that ever happening, so I hope he just pushes through what he wants.

    Think about it; if he had engaged in a little fear-mongering and fed a bunch of BS to the newsmedia, this healthcare bill would be a done deal. Just like going to war with a nation that posed virutally no threat.

    Hey Obama! Hire Rove. Take a few pages out of Bush's book and get this over with already!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  55. Jim in Phoenix AZ

    Obama might not have much choice. Corporate interests pretty much control Congress and the only way to get something passed is to give them their pound of flesh. And, the American public is such a bunch of sheep that they cannot be counted on to make sure politicians do the right thing. Pretty sad state of affairs.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  56. Kathleen Boyer, Winter Haven, FL

    It means a new political party. I support Bernie Sanders if he'll run.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  57. Eiolg

    WE need a SIMPLE public option for anyone who chooses it. Period.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  58. Greg and Berta

    If President Obama retreats on health care we might as well pack up our bags and move to Canada, eh. The whole idea behind getting the cost of health care insurance down is to put in a federal program. We all know that everything the government gets involved in gets bogged down with bureaucracy. Its better that we do this then let the money-grubbing masters of the health insurance companies have free reign with our hard earned money; which is what we’ve been doing and is a big reason that we are in the mess that we are in.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  59. Chris

    It's a victory for the Republicans and the insurance companies only if you are operating under the assumption that Americans cannot hear an argument and make an intelligent choice as to which side of a debate makes the most sense to them. Obama's willingness to drop a public option has nothing to do with the Republicans or the insurance companies (in theory he needs neither to get his agenda passed). It has everything to do with the average American's trepidation over the size and overreaching nature of this reform.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  60. Joe

    I don't believe anything the President says until I see the final bill. He tends to mislead often and his credibility is now lost. Like the fickle tracking of a Hurricane, his positions are changing every hour. Personally, I am against any public option until the government can run Medicare and Medicaid without fraud and abuse. Adding a third plan to drive to insolvency in the next 10 years is foolish. Spending,spending, and spending are not the answer to our problems. That is what got us into this mess in the first place.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  61. Patrick Honolulu, HI

    I think if the President drops the initiative to put any government run healthcare in the bill, he could score big wins in other areas of our much needed reform. The government does not run anything well, save the people who are tasked with taking money from our wallets (ie: the IRS). There are so many things in our healthcare system that need to be fixed, however we should be tackling the problem not simply putting band aid, government packaged solutions on top of something that already works pretty well. If congress can tackle tort reform, create new regulations preventing the insurance industry from policy dumping and clean up the already failing medicare/medicaid system that would be a good start!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  62. Joseph Bethea

    It means the Democratic party has no backbone. They have a full majority in the house and the senate and can't even pass a peiece of mainstream Democratic healthcare legistation which in my opinion is the reason we gave them control of the house and senate in the first place. If they don't pass a public option in this healthcare reform bill, I give up on anything important ever getting done in this country that will bring real change.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  63. Steve

    It means an administration with a chance to finally make a change for the better with health care has once again been hijacked by the angry right. I don't know exactly why so many people buy into scare tactics, but Republicans have proven time and again that it is a devastatingly effective maneuver. The legislation will still pass, Obama will be fine in 2012, but the hope for 'real change' will be replaced by politics as usual. Looking forward to a lifetime of corporate interest guided politics while the baby boomers enjoy their retirement. They can relax with medicare, having 'saved' future generations from the prospect of efficient health care.

    Steve from Florence, OR

    August 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  64. Manny

    It means he is a Peacemaker

    August 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  65. Max


    What Obama needs to do is explain this bill in plain language. What does the past few years tell us about the escalating cost of health care in our country? How does this proposal rectify any problems?

    Are businesses going to be helped by this? Will it reduce their health care expenses?

    I really don't want to tune into television every night to get the latest explanation from him. I get news on the web and I want it laid out simple. No talking points, just facts.

    All I hear on the web this last week was Sarah Palin's retarded comment about "Death Panels" which was of course, false.

    If the cost of health care has escalated on average 10% or more annually for the past few years, why has it done this and what are the ways we can stop it?

    What methods or tactics are in his plan to reduce our ridiculous overhead cost of administrators and triplicate records of every little thing that gets done in this country? Does the plan include malpractice caps? If not, why? (we all seem to know this is a problem as a doctor will order more tests so they won't get sued for $1M for treating a hangnail)

    I want someone to explain the "single payer" thing and the "public option" in plain English.

    Maybe I am just being a lazy American though and I need to go read the 1,100 page bill.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  66. MP

    It will mean that Pres. Obama is not standing for himself as a president to make decisions. If he think if it is strategically good americans he should make his final decision whether people like it or not. He is the president. He should take an inform risk and decision. He should know he is not a celebrity anymore, he is the president of united states.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  67. Cody NJ

    To me..without a public option there is no reform. Only more loopholes for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Business as usual in D.C.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  68. Scott - canada

    Mr. Obama is nothing if not a pragmatist. Unfortunately half your country would rather dance with the devil they know than with the one they don't. Change will have to be incremental and measured and under the radar of all the hyperboled and rhetoric.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  69. Gary

    Jack, I hope President Obama doesn't give in to the lobbyist supported Republicans. I'm a teacher in florida and recently had a surgery to get rid of a stye on my upper eye lid. I had to pay a $1,000 deductible before the insurance company would pay the remaining portion of the bill. I'm sorry if i'm not mislead like most of these rawdy people at the town halls. Something must be done to make health care more affordable. I can't afford huge deductables every time something goes wrong with my health. Mr. President, hold out, be strong and continue to think about teachers and other middle class Americans that are being affected the most by sky rocketing insurance cost. Jack, I could go on and on, but I wont. I have pre-planning to do, the kids come back next week.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  70. RJ

    What does it mean if Obama backtracks on the public option? That's simple. It means he's a one term president.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  71. Kimberley

    It means he became "just another politician".

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  72. Pat D

    Public Option will happen. The majority of the people (voters) in this country want it; therefore, it will happen.

    Pres made smart move to mobilize pro Health Insurance reformers and it is working.

    I'm interested in seeing if the press will show the town hall scenery now that pro reformers will be out in droves and behaving with good sense.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  73. Betty Yocum

    Let's take away the health insurance that all the politicians have. Everybody gets the same insurance. I'll bet we would not see all this debate about a single payor system.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  74. Sharon - Sierra Nevada

    It means that big business wins again, and the people lose. After all, isn't ours a government of big business, by big business, and for big business?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  75. Fritz Hohenheim

    It means that there will be no health care reform and that America will remain on rank 50 or so in the world when it comes to quality of health care. It simply means that Obama has failed us.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  76. Daisy, Wyoming

    It means nothing. The man could do everything perfectly, and these lunatics would still find something to complain about

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  77. KevinK

    It means that he is just another politician who doesn't keep his word, it means that he doesn't have the stones to get after the special interest groups who run this country, it means he will not be successful in legislation where he believes he needs republican support. Democrats have no back bone & Obama will be a 1 term president

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  78. Tom

    Although I agree it is a victory for the Republicans as stated in the opening of this commentary, I don't think you can ignore the pushback from the Blue Dogs as well. Let's face it, they don't need a single Republican vote to get this through, so there is obviously concern in both parties about the spending that is involved with the public option. I think we are also learning that the angst over this reform is more than just "manufactured". Let's get reform done, but in a way that is measured and smart instead of a leap of faith.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  79. Susan, Sequim WA

    It means we are going to end up with "Corporate Death Panels"....just like we have now only with assurance they can't be stopped.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  80. John Murphy

    If there is no public option it means the insurance companies have won the right to continue to gouge the American people.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  81. Jerry Whaley

    Obama....THREE STRIKES

    1. FISA Vote

    2. "Rule of Law" on the previous administration

    3. No "Private Option" in new health legislation

    Mr. President....You are OUT!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  82. Dawn Gulick

    He should not "retreat" on this. We NEED the public option. I would prefer single-payer even better. This country's healthcare is the laughing stock of the civilized world. It is high time we fixed it.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  83. Harvey - Ft. Lauderdal

    A retreat by Mr. Obama on the public option in healthcare reform is slap in the face to all of those who voted for him. As a former Republican, now Independent, I am one of those. Should he backtrack now, mine will definitely be one less vote he might have in 2012. I'm sure there are many who feel the same way.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  84. Delia

    No public option? This is not health care reform - it is insurance reform. Sounds like Obama's buckling under the pressure of insurance companies. The wrong way to go!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  85. Skip ,IL

    Jack we are all doomed.
    It's the Insurance Companies pulling the plug on Grandma,
    not the Government.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  86. Shirley Jordan

    What it means is that the insurance companies own most
    of our politicians...and the American people get the shaft again.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  87. Gman

    Means we need a new president. What's the deal with the socialism screaming?

    Isn't social security, medicare, medicaid socialism? They seem to be working. If you don't socialize health care... you won't have health care.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  88. Buzzsaw

    Obama has Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, so if he can't get a bill passed then he needs to blame his own party, instead of going after the GOP. What excuse does any Dem have not to find common ground with BHO on his healthcare plan? And why are they Democrats if they intention is to undermine him?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  89. Tosin O

    Thanks to CNN and the Media for rallying against Health Care reform. How come no one ask the republicans why they support Medicare and not public option? The Media that gave us Iraq War have won again.

    This country is in trouble. Communist China expansion continues....Wall Street rallied about the death of public option....USA...In God we Trust

    Baltimore MD

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  90. Dawn, Oregon

    It means that he will be a one-term president, a failure who wasted billions of our dollars on a gimme for the insurance industry.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  91. Steven Seaman

    If he does, 47 million American's should march on the White House and Congress. This would be the greatest mistake in human history and congress should be held accountable.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  92. Paul Rabin

    3 key components of reforming health care are:
    1. no one can be denied due to pre-existing conditions
    2. arbitrary caps to benefits are removed
    3.competition drives market costs down and efficiencies up

    If the public option is yanked out of the fix to health care and for-profit insurers are left to create the market, number three cannot happen.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  93. Chris in Philadelphia

    It means that NEEDED reform will not be happening. Big for profit health insurers spread enough money around to prevent true reform. I guess there will never be enough political will to get rid of private for profit insurance companies. TOO BAD.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  94. Ken from Los Angeles

    It means that, like the Clinton health plan, the voices of conservatism and the "status quo" have won out over the voices of change. We cannot expect that change to happen unless we first address why so many people like things the way they are.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  95. Michael O'Connor

    Time for a 3rd. party!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  96. Mike from Auburn California

    Obama needs to ditch any attempt to appease the Rebublicans who have shown themselves to be 2 faced and uninterested in true discourse in an attempt to solve the healthcare problem. Dems needs to have some grit and just work though the best plan they can come up with to get more people insured and try to stop the upward cost spiral for healthcare. No matter what Obama and the Dems do the Repubs will criticize unless the final healthcare bill is so watered down as to be useless and then the Repubs will not praise Obama for bipartisanship, they will slap themselves on the back for "stopping" Obama.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  97. Darren

    It means he better get used to the thought of being a one-term president because this isn't change we can believe in.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  98. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    I'm hoping this is a mind game to get lazy liberals off their left butts and get involved to counter the right and insurance and healthcare industries. I sure hope it works. The Woodstock Nation needs to come together and get involved.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  99. Gwen

    Jack, dropping the public option now will mean that the Democrats and Republicans will just continue to fight over this in the next election. I think the public option is a good idea, and may be a necessary part of reform, but it would still take many years to implement even if passed this year. Dropping it means delay, not disaster.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  100. Rose

    Well, people are acting like they don't want help in the health care sector. To me its what ever they can do to bring anything this man can do down. All he wants to do is something to get health care to the needy, the poor, lower, and middle class folks who don't have or can't afford health care. Now for the rich and the filthy rich, you can afford your own health care insurance or even pay cash. So, I say to you folk keep paying those bucks for your medical. But don't block things for the people in need of this. At lease he is trying to do something to try and help adults and children in need. What are you doing besides crying and blocking the people that made you rich, the little man.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  101. Bob in Ohio

    I am a physician who treats the underinsured and uninsured.

    I think that if Obama retreats from the public option, that retreat will be a great travesty.

    Does anyone really think that the insurance companies will pick up the uninsured/unemployed as customers?

    Does a co-op REALLY seem like an affordable option for someone making only $8 an hour?

    The public option MUST remain as we are only doing as well as the least among us.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  102. cindy in ft. lauderdale, fl

    Why is Obama trying to get Rebulicans on board? They will NEVER be on board. They are deliberately derailing the reform for no other reason but political power, they can't let Obama be successful in reform or they will never get Congress back under their control. And for some reason the Dem's that the people elected by a handy majority to get this done are letting them do it.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  103. bill shuman

    The loss of a public option will mark the beginning of a struggle with liberal/progressive democrats that the President will lose.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  104. Lo jena

    Just because he's said it's a sliver of the whole reform... does NOT mean that he's going to back down on this issue... Ridiculous accusations from the far right wing, the ignorant and uneducated, they can try to scare away America from their own possible benefit, fine. But the media was bored on a Sunday and went with something from nothing. I'm a volunteer for Organizing for America, and the public option on healthcare reform is absolutely necessary for the citizens of this country's health.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  105. Mike - Indianapolis

    It means that I wasted my vote last November...I thought I cast a vote for integrity, and if integrity retreats on this issue, I have no hope things will change.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  106. Ebuka

    One answer: He will a one term president. Quote me!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  107. Peter R.

    It means that the President is realizing that to win the day, he must govern closer to the center than he originally had planned. The far left won't like it, but they must realize that it is better than not getting anything out of this debate at all. What this debate has done is bring out more true democratic debate than we have had in this country in many years.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  108. Judy Brenholt

    No public option means the insurance companies win again. They have had years to be competitive and that has led us to where we are now. They only understand one thing GREED.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  109. charlie

    I hope that Obama doesn't wuss out on this. A health care reform plan without a public option would be completely weak and inadequate. I voted for a fighter and someone who would fight for change. If he backs down and there is no public option, he betray all those he promised real change to, and those who don't have health insurance such as my mother and some of my dearest friends. If he wants to make a real change for this country and not just be a great slogan that lasted for four years of non action, he better bring real change with a public option.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  110. Ann in Asheville, NC

    Health care is not for sale to those who make profits on the backs of everyone else. The public option is a MUST, and our President will not fail us. Keep the hope and speak up America!!! Don't let the bullies win. Why should we feel sorry for the insurance companies when we should be caring about our citizens. And when the protestors are mainly those over 65, those who have a public option already, doesn't that just say it all?!?!!? WAKE UP AMERICA.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  111. Donald Williams

    If he drops the "Public Option" he can kiss any chance of re-election unless he runs as an Independent. If I had known that he would take the Democratic Base for granted, I would have voted for Hillary.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  112. Dave

    The only one that wants a public option is the hard left and Obama. The goevrnment has run Social Security, Medicare, Medicade, Post Office and Amtrak into the ground and they are all bankrupt. It the government was a private sector counrty it would be out of business. These people shoudl not be running anything of importance the only thing they run reasonably is the military that's because politicans aren't running the day to day operations of the military. Any congressman that votes for this boondoogle will be out of a job in 2010.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  113. Conservative Thinker

    Yes the liberals who want free health insurance will have to wait. This is a country where you should have to work to get the things you need.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  114. Bill Bradshaw

    We have had a public and private educational system for years, each adding healthy competition to the other....why is a public/private health insurance program any different. I realize it scares the hell out of the private insurance companies, no one wants competition. The public option is a must!

    Bill Bradshaw
    New Mexico

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  115. Claire, Melbourne, FL

    Hello Jack,

    I sure hope he doesn't cave to the republicans – they're behavior has been despicable! If we fall for the scare tactics again – Shame on Us.

    Wasn't 8 years of Bush/Cheney and 12 years of republican control of the house and senate enough??? We're drowning in debt thanks to the republican enablers and now they want to screw the American people further.....wrong!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  116. Pauline

    There is no reform without the public option. I hope the President doesn't give in to the liars and lobbyist and back away.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  117. Daisy, Wyoming

    It means I want the hell outta here because nothing is ever going to change!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  118. Kathy

    In my opinion what it means are two things. 1. He left health care reform in the hands of Pelosi and her gang, and 2. He himself did not completely explain how it was going to work- While I myself was open to a public plan idea, what was coming out of Congress was a love-fest of stupid proposals and ideology which turned me off. What was coming out of OBama was little in the way of explanation and detail–just blame on those who had another opinion. He had a good chance to move this along, but he played politics. He should have just came out with exacting what he wanted – ie a government run program to cover all those without health insurance–and then explain was this would be work-I believe he lost himself along the way–and now nothing will get done, and those of us without health insurance will continue to be without- I thought him to be smarter then this
    Kathy, Connecticut

    August 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  119. Brad

    It means that we have been cheated out of the change we can believe in. It means business as usual in a country that will spend a trillion dollars rebuilding Iraq and complain bitterly about spending any money fixing this country.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  120. Bernice Christianson

    I suspect that the lobbists are paying of Congress again to vote against universal health care; the same way they paid off Congress when Hillary tried to get us universal Health Care. And this is Democracy??

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  121. peggy from Virginia

    I believe it's important that President Obama stand up to the health insurance companies and lobbyists. If he fails to take them on now....it will be a long, long time (if ever) that any substantial reform to the system will occur. It is almost like "now or never".

    Also, I believe no pundit, politician or "expert" on health care should be able to open to speak any of their personal opinions in any form of media unless they identify at the get-go the type, cost and deductible of their own health program....and whether their enrollment will be lost should they ever lose or leave their job. Furthermore, they should identify (in the case of Senators and Congress persons) exactly how long they will be able (and at what cost) to be covered by their current health plan after they are to leave office. Lastly, they should identify the amount in cotributions they have received from health care related sources in the past 5 years....and/or whether they draw (or the company/firm they work for) draws any income from the health care sector.

    The health care reform subject is too important to this Nation to have people pontificating without laying their cards on the table.

    Thank you

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  122. Matt

    Once again the health care industry, with the help of congress (mainly right wing) have defeated health care reform. They lied and scared enough people into thinking that they were going to die that once again the Democrats got cold feet, even though they did not need to. You have to admit they are good raising sheep.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  123. Daniel Mayinja

    Dear Mr. Cafferty,

    If our beloved President retreats on the "Public Option" and does not include it in this Health Care Reform, well then, our Obama will not have changed anything at all. In fact, and perhaps more dangerous, he will just have MIXED things up. Obama, show your SPINE now ...

    Daniel Mayinja

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  124. Jackie

    I hope it means he is finally listening to the American people!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  125. Terry Higuera

    It's unfortunate that the President can not get his public option pushed through the congress. However, it is a HUGE undertaking and I can only hope that the baby steps we are taking in 2009 will evolve into affordable and competitive healthcare for all Americans. I am disappointed but still have ongoing faith in Obama's will. This is only one of the battles that lay in wait for him.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  126. Amy, Chicago, IL

    It means that the lies, smears and bullying really are effective.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  127. Donna Markham

    What it means, Jack, is that America gets screwed yet again by the corporations. According to polls, the majority of Americans want some sort of public option, but those folks will lose out to corporate interests. It's shameful.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  128. Levanah Tenen

    If I am forced to pay a private, profit-motivated entity for health *insurance*, I am being forced to pay protection money to wealthy stockholders who are making money off people's pain (including my own). What I want to pay for is health *care* - seeing to it that doctors, hospitals, and all providers of health *care* are decently compensated for saving lives, and all else they do for the public good.

    NO private profit-driven corporation has the public good as their bottom line - by definition! I should think that the recent Wall Street scandals would have brought that point home to anyone who can read. As an American, I *value* the concept of public good. And, in theory at least, a publicly run health *care* system is responsible to *me*, along with the rest of the public. A privately owned health *insurance* system driven by profit for its stockholders, is responsible - legally - only to its stockholders. As a member of the public, all I am is fodder for the corporation's profit-making machine, and my health is ultimately not important at all.

    I'm angry! I'm a lifelong Democrat and I'm angry. If, after all this time and all these promises - and all this talk about the future - Obama abandons the one chance this country will have to do the decent, moral thing, to do what we should have done in the first place 60 years ago, and begin instituting publicly-run, fully mandated health CARE for EVERYONE, I will NEVER VOTE FOR A DEMOCRAT AGAIN! As an individual voter, this is the only threat I have, and I'm making it.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  129. John Kostick

    Do not end the public option in health care reform. The republicans will not vote for your plan in any form, so why are you giving in to them. We voted for Obama to solve the health care problem in America. Stop trying to please the republicans, they will never vote for it in any form. GIVE US THE PUBLIC OPTION!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  130. Rich in Ohio

    There can be no true reform without a public option. Currently I have to carry a $1,000.00 deductible per person which means I basically pay for all of my regular health care needs out of my own pocket each year. When you couple that with the fact that insurance companies routinely drop people with serious illness it makes me wonder what I am paying for. The current system is rigged so that insurance companies make money without having to provide the services we are paying them for.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  131. Burke from New Orleans

    It means that we finally have a President that is willing to compromise. Just imagine, a U.S. President who's not so full of himself that he is able and willing to compromise for the good of the country. He's not just about shoving his personal agenda down our throats.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  132. Sharon - Sierra Nevada

    Health care reform – insurance reform – whatever, is being co-opted by potential co-ops. They'll still have the freedom to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, therefore rendering the entire exercise in reform moot. When did America lose her conscience?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  133. eliseo Martinez



    P.S. Until we're ready to accept the inevitable, a Federal agency could act as a catalyst in organizing health coops. Persons not qualified for coop membership could benefit from increased federal funds to emergency services at community hospitals.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  134. D Lang

    It would mean a sad day for all those without health insurance.and all those who will lose theirs in the future

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  135. Philip Wainwright

    I think backing off of the public option will be a huge victory for the insurance companies and members of Congress who have been misleading the people with lies and half-truths. Insurance companies will continue to raise their rates far more than the economy grows.
    It will also be a loss for those millions of people without health insurance. I hear more concern about the damage to the insurance industry than the damage that will be done to those people who can not afford health insurance.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  136. Debbie J.

    What it means to me is that I spent over $1,000 and hours of my time to elect President Obama, and I feel let down. It appears that nothing will ever change. The Insurance Companies win again.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  137. Kris Craig in Olympia, WA

    It means I will continue to suffer without basic health care coverage for the sake of preserving a conservative idiology. And if the individual mandate– which Obama originally campaigned so ardently against– passes, it means that I will now have to pay a fine in addition to not having health care.

    This also means that Obama will have forever lost my vote. And nobody's been a bigger supporter of his than I (except perhaps Michelle).

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  138. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    If the President drops the public part of his healthcare proposal, there will be no need to pass a reform bill. The private insurance providers will continue to control American healthcare just as they do now. It's awful that so many Americans don't see the need for a real change in how healthcare is delivered. In the end, we all will suffer with substandard care and unnecessary expense, just as we do now.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  139. Diane in PC Florida

    I say NO compromise with the Thugs of Nope. They don't care about the low to middle-income Americans. The G'Nopers only care about their base of "Haves and Have-Mores" – including the $20 milion a year CIGNA Health Insurance Company CEO. Keep the Public Options in healthcare reform because it scares the snot out of those private insurance companies!!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  140. Conservative Thinker

    Sorry Mary Gilbert, you will have to wait for your free health care. This is a country in which you have to work for the things that you need.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  141. Bill (Sugar Land, TX)

    The hell with the republicans. Put the bill for a vote, including the public option and let the pieces fall where they may. The republicans will only come up with another excuse for opposing health care reform and I am sick and tired of giving in to intimidation and political madness and intolerance for all.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  142. Debra from smokey CA

    It means that Obama is going to continue to allow the fox to guard the hen house. How about opening up Medicare, Jack? I'm healthy and would love to help hold it up with my premiums.

    Currently, I'm stuck bragging about how my insurance CEO's jet is bigger than yours. Enough!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  143. Emma, San Luis Obispo, CA

    The American people worked hard to elect President Obama and a majority in the House and the Senate of democrats..........if they are so stupid to allow the "do nothing and just vote no" republicans to force their ideology on the American people and this democratically elected government, all I can say is "Hell hath no fury like a constituent scorned."
    If the democrats haven't learned the power of the vote and what it means to the American people then I guess they just don't get it and will be in the unemployment line along with the rest of millions of Americans. Personally I will never forgive them or this president for betraying us.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  144. Paul up north

    Jack, it means an interest group – in this case, the health insurance industry – can stop anything, if it has enough money, a complete lack of morals, and, most importantly, a citizenry gullible enough to believe lies, innuendo, misrepresentations and downright foolishness. As a Canadian, I see the right wing in the U.S. telling nothing but lies about the Canadian health care system and similar systems in other western countries. An alarming number of Americans have fallen for the propaganda hook line and sinker. With the right amount of money and unscupulous politicians, it seems Americans can be led anywhere at all. That's downright frightening.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  145. James from New York

    This president is pushing this country on its way to socialism fast and steady. He had a big agenda which many of us may not know. Glad that something can stop him before large scale fiasco becomes another example of failed experiment.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  146. Bill Bessire

    If the "public option" is abandoned by the Obama Administration then how will private health care companies be held accountable? Will it be like when the health care companies defeated Hillary Clinton's proposal back in the early '90's and health care costs went through the roof? We must find a way to slow down escalating health care costs.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  147. Harry Lime

    Obama plus the media plus the progressives, against Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. Who blinked, who won? Despite the mockery, derision and vilification, the Right has won this one.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  148. TGF


    "Retreat on Healthcare???" This is an example of why nothing ever gets done in this country. It's easy to complain that people are too partisan in Washington, but when somebody even hints (he hasn't said anything definitve yet) that he might consider giving some ground, he is portrayed as throwing in the towel.

    By describing this debate in militaristic, winner-take-all terms, the media has thoroughly debased this entire process.

    TGF, Walnut Creek, CA

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  149. Jon D

    I sent this in reply to an unsolicited e-mail from Mr Axelrod

    Mr Axelrod,
    I think everyone agrees that a thorough review of health care is a timely and legitimate goal for the government. I applaud the initiative and look forward to a fair and effective solution to many of the problems facing this essential service. I think that explanations like the ones contained in your e-mail would have worked wonders some months back and maybe have gone some way to head off the concerns that many people seem to have on the haste to get the legislation passed.
    I am also concerned about the growing confrontation on both sides, which I'm sure is born out of a lack of reliable information. But it is government reaction to this that surprises me – I don't recall ever experiencing the adversarial tone taken on by your administration. You seem unable to shake off the natural confrontations which develop during campaigns but surely must turn to reconciliation and responsibility to all our citizens once the contest is won.
    Decent people out there are scared, confused and angry – they sense that you are not listening. 'Chain letters of our own' promotes factions and side taking. You have to be above this and listen to the voice of all of our people. Believe me I think you give too much attention to the vested interests out there and not enough to the good common sense and decency of our citizens.
    I understand your frustration, but stop and listen rather than condemn – language lately from senior elected officials about 'un-American' behavior and 'mobs' is surprising. (Remember, John Adams and Ben Franklin were part of an 'angry mob' in their day).

    Look for the middle way and you'll find most of the country there waiting for you.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  150. Joe

    It means that the President finally opened his ears and heard the People shouting that we're not a SOCIALIST country.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  151. Frances L. Franklin

    The Republicans have won again. The Insurance Companies will be really happy now. I don't see any chance that Health Insurance will be any better than it is now.
    I had such high hopes that President Obama would stick to his guns.
    Fieldale VA

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  152. S Kottal

    It means that the entire uninsured has to buckle to the entire uneducated who made the choice for them. I remember an eminent comedian make a remark that half the Americans are idiots and the other half are over spending idiots. Fits right in.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  153. William Johnson

    It's not a retreat at all. His position has always been flexible as long as the goals of competition and insuring the uninsured were meant.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  154. brian shea


    It is incredible how the tone of the media has changed in 6 short months. The "Chosen One" was elected along with what is now a super majority, and the left leaning media says "chalk up a big victory for Republicans"? The President cannot sell in a plan because he rushed his minions to hit a deadline, and 3-5 (depending who's counting) bills are simmering in different chambers. The President is losing ground at an alarming rate because everything he campaigned on isnt coming true and he is losing the Moderates. The latest polls show that the majority of Americans believe the Stimulus either did nothing or hurt the economy....HURT THE ECONOMY. This administration had a choice, a choice to govern from the middle (aka Bill Clinton) or be victim to the far left groups that got him elected and govern like Jimmy Carter. Well, we remember the Carter years and we are not interested in "seeing that movie again". Step back Mr President and ask yourself, can you afford toadopt a governing style of "ram it through" for the next 3 1/2 years?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  155. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Backing away from the public health insurance option means that President Obama and the Democrats in congress are admitting they tried to bite off more than they could chew financially when it comes to healthcare reform. They would do better if they put forward a healthcare masterplan (not a bill) with prioritized, bitesized pieces that can be implemented as funding becomes available.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  156. steve bishop

    President: Democrat

    Congress: 256 Democrat 176 Republican

    Senate : 58 Democrat + 1 Independent Democrat + 1 Independent and 40 Republican

    Mr Cafferty,
    Rather than putting a spin on this issue why don't you point out the facts. The Democrats have a rubber stamp on policy right now and could not come to an agreement.

    The Republicans are politically impotent.
    This is a Democratic party failure, not a Republican victory.
    Tell the whole story please.

    Thank you,
    Steve B

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  157. Annie, Atlanta

    Big Insurance/Pharma owns Congre$$, and we the people get screwed. We don’t have enough money to buy congressmen. Campaign finance reform would fix that, but that won’t happen either. Our option now is to move to other countries that treat their citizens with common decency and humanity because for the U.S. that boat has sailed.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  158. David from San Diego, CA

    I think this is his best option. Personally, I prefer the Republican plan of taking advantage of obvious cost reductions first. The last thing we need to do right now is run up the public debt any more. Like it or not, we are still a nation at war with double digit unemployment, an economy on life support and we will soon have 1 GNP worth of debt anyway.

    However, the administration and congress would get clobbered politically to just drop it. They have either got to test compromises or find a way to blame not getting it passed on the Republicans. This whole thing did not go their way at all and it is becoming necessary to save face.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  159. Saad Biaz

    Insurance companies had years to show us that private health care would be more cost effective.... After years and years, healthcare appears to be cost effective (juicy) only for insurance companies, not for the american people!
    If Obama caves to this and drops the public option, forget the audacity of hope, it will be the cowardice of hope....

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  160. Jim Blevins

    Anyone who trusts insurance companies more that the government is a fool. It is obvious that over the long term, the more that is spent on health care overall, the better that it is for the insurance companies. Something is needed to counter this motivation. Perhaps non-profit co-ops can do this as well as a government program.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  161. LaDonna Robertson

    Obama hit the road running when he was sworn in, and has been busy ever since trying to clean up the mess Bush left. However, if he gives in to the Republicans and the "blue dog"....er I mean "greenback" Democrats, he will be failing the people who put him in office.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  162. Robbyn

    It means that he is not too full of himself to give in a little in order to get health care passed. It's really called being Bipartisian which is a foreign thing to do for Republicans. We should stop making everything negative and accept the CHANGES that our president is trying to accomplish. Have we been under the Bush presidency for so long that we have become a country of pessimist?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  163. Hal

    If the public choice is deleted from the current healthcare proposals it will be a disaster for the Democrats in the mid-term elections. At the moment I am a very, very disgruntled Democrat considering a switch to Independent! Hal

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  164. Mike Nelson


    Should the President withdraw his desire for a public option it would give the Insurance industry the leverage they so desire. "give them an inch, they will take a mile"

    Mauston, WI

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  165. Buck Delaney

    What does it mean that he is retreating on this oh so vital element of our economy and the more important moral issue of caring for all of mankind? It means Hillary should have been president, like i thought all along

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  166. virginia

    It is a great move to let people know that he is considering the option. It throws the opposition off balance for a short time or until congress returns.Then restart the conversation. Again, Great move!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  167. Joe

    It means that Americans are following his example of becoming involved in the government and the President has no choice but to listen. After the TARP and stimulus debacles, Americans are saying no to further exploding the deficit he's building and the takeover of yet another sector of American business. And just for the record Jack, I supported Obama in the election. But the issue isn't politics...it's economics.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  168. Inad Haddad, Adrian, Michigan

    It is a big mistake to drop the public plan. It is essential to have it as a part of any serious health care reform. Why not a reasonable basic plan modeled after Medicare that starts with basic coverage, and that could be improved in steps as savings are realized from cost cutting and as the economy improves.... Taking the public option off the table means keeping the status quo and accepting the long term viability of the current system...

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  169. Remo, Beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Jack, It means to me that Obama did not think things through, he left it to someone else to work on. He and his work group have floundered in addressing straight forward issues and that is apparent when he gets off his teleprompter. I don't trust a person who doesn't know his own plan. He can't sell it and apparently a lot of folks aren't buying it.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  170. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    JACK: If The politicians and the big money makers win.We will be to their mercy.Then we'll be sorry. But too late to do anything. I'm sorry for the young people.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  171. Ant

    Insurance companies must increase profits for their shareholders. That can only happen by reducing expenditures (services) and increasing revenue (premiums). Without a public option to hold the insurance companies feet to the fire, the middle class will be right back in the same high cost mess 10 years down the line.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  172. Casey Nicholson, Tennessee

    What it means, Jack, is that if President Obama wants to still keep his campaign promises, the health care reform bill has to move away from a government-sponsored option for insurance, and instead become much more proactive about government regulation of the existing insurance system. In short, the bill would have to: a) outlaw pre-existing conditions, b) force insurance companies to never deny any application for coverage and C) regulate the maximum amount that any insurance company could charge when it comes to deductibles.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  173. Karen

    Time to turn up the heat on the Democrats! We have the votes to push through the proposal if we retain party unity. Remind the "Blue-dogs" who suppliments their re-election coffers and that the time to stand up and be a Dem for the people is now

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  174. Scott Sampson

    I am confused. When I studied political science at University (U oft T) as a Canadian.... I was under the impression that the consititution began with 'We The People'. Call me crazy, but it eem that the right-wing corporate run Health Care system has convinced Americans that moving even a bit towards Health Care FOR the people is a bad thing.

    No, the system here is not perfect. But it IS better than the system south of the border. Do yourself a favour and spend time reading the constitution itself and what it means to Americans.

    I am not imposing my beleifs on the US, but rather wondering why you do not apply your beleifs to your own country?

    Everything I read and hear seems to contradict that which you hold most dear. From Health care to the 2nd amendment....

    Perhaps mandatory reading is not enough – Mandatory understanding would be a good idea.

    You have a GOOD constitution – Try using it sometimes...

    Cheers to my good American friends and fellow soldiers..

    Scott A. Sampson

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  175. Ann from WA. State

    It means the Republicans win again. They cannot win with a plan of their own, as they do not have any ideas to get the Insurance companies out of their pants, so they set out to destroy any hope of Health Care Reform with their lies. Where is the Democratic war plan? We all know the Repubulicans will lie, cheat and steal to obtain their goals, why weren't the Democrats ready for this?!?!? We should have fought back with proof of where the lies were coming from as well as what the lies were about. We still have time. Get off your Butts, Democrats, and fight back! Fight for the People of this country, and don't let the guys that fight for big companies win again.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  176. Gos

    No I don't think he is retreating from public option. It is another way to challenge sleepy Democrats to get out fight for the health care reform. They left all the burden on him. They have to advocate and work hard to get the reform. He will keep fight for the public option for those are in need. Trust Me!!! He will not leave us alone to fight with the greedy Private insurance Comp.

    Thanks Jeff

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  177. Joe

    Maybe it means that the Obama administration didn't do their homework in presenting this health plan? Maybe it means that they too don't believe so strongly in it that they are backing off? Maybe Obama is learning the Potomac two step and that politics is a dirty game? A lot of questions to be answered but putting the blame on the Republicans is naive and irresponsible. There are many Demorcats who are changing their minds. Pilosy's comments about being unamerican didn't help either.
    Its politics. Plain and simple. You want to blame someone, blame your leadership for not sticking to their guns. Blame your politicians who change their minds based on "recent polls". Blame a health bill that is neither readable nor comprehensible. Or you can continue to blame the Republicans since they are a convenient target.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  178. Bill (KANSAS)

    A comment was made that "Coop's" would be better than a public option because it would be owned by the public. If I am not mistaken corpotations are "owned publicly" with shareholders; so what is the different?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  179. Joel Jeffries


    It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. I'm not liking how the president is playing the game on this. I am one of a very large amount of young people who for the first time, stood up to fight for real change by electing Barack Obama. He won't lose my overall support on this, but he will have to work hard to regain my trust if he caves on the public option.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  180. ConnieJean Snyder

    It means that we're on a slippery slope to ending Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. At the current escalation of health care services and private insurance company premiums to both individuals and businesses, these programs will be gone in ten years...So says President Obama. Congrats, Billionaires....your doctors offices and hospitals will be so much less crowded without having to care for the riff-raff. Wealthcare!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  181. Scott Stodden

    It means just like Wolf and you Jack said, it means there's not enough votes in the Senate and that he's willing to turn his back on his own party so that the Republican's will quit cryin. It is a shame though that there's not enough votes in the Senate because that means that our own fellow Democrats of which Iam one of has also turned there back on the President, this healthcare bill is something we need for the American people who are not insured or are paying outrageous rates for insurance. However Iam a Democrat who may just not vote for President Obama come 2012 because he does not have the experience to handle these Washington cronnies and the problems of which our country is facing or going through.

    Scott Stodden(Freeport,IL)

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  182. DoctorG

    Now is not the time to retreat, now is the time to fight even harder! If not, it surely means that I will continue to not be able to afford health care. It will mean that our country really is ruled by and favors big corporations, big money, and all that the GOP look out for and take lobbying money from. It will mean that nobody, now or after Obama, will ever be able to change the culture of political misinformation and coercion of the citizenry. It will mean that the few "haves" will be able to continue to fool the gullible "have-nots" in this country. It's amazing how uneducated our citizenry is on the issues. How can it be that people will argue against money for the very thing that may help them and their children (because they buy into the misinformation), yet readily support spending countless money on bank bailouts and needless wars because they've been convinced it's "the right thing to do" or "patriotic". Begs the question "who's the bigger fool, the fool or the fools who follow?".

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  183. Vince

    Perhaps it means that he is pragmatic enough to know that getting part of his program is better than getting none of it. Although I am for the government option, I am glad to see him compromise, it shows his willingness to listen rather than just ram things through.

    I hope he will compromise on his position on amnesty for illegals as well.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  184. Wil in Delaware

    It means that Corporate Amerika rules. Pres. Obama is sincere in his efforts to change the way Washington works, but greed and corruption are entrenched. The people taking action on their own behalf is the only real solution available. We can't rely on the paid corporate lackeys (politicians) to look out for our best interests. We the people have sat by and lost sight of what made our country great. Through fear tactics the power of " The Power of The People " has been usurped by corporate interests. We have let fear control us on too many issues. There is only one 800 lb. primate in the room: We the People. WAKE UP AMERICA!!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  185. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    Jack, it means that the people lose, and the money-grubbing corporate vampires that are trying to force us into into mindless, robotic compliance win.

    The pubic option enhances entrepeneurship because it breaks the bonds that large corporations have on their employees who want to strike out on their own but are afraid of losing the "golden handcuffs" of their company's health care. On a more personal note, I have no health care at this time, because I can't afford it, so without the public option, the corporations are just telling me to die.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  186. James Lenon - Chuckey TN

    If Obama is forced to retreat, and no public health care option is enacted, it means that the Democrats will never receive another cent in support from me. It means that the GOP has decided that if they can't call the tune they will take the nation down to the level of a third world oligarchy. It means that the US had surrendered its current and future hope to a band of half-wits who are busily throwing away their own access to health care.
    And it means the next decade will be a bonanza for grave diggers.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  187. Toni

    The stock market today showed us how much we need a public option. The health related stocks had a real bounce on the news the option was dead meaning they were going to continue to rake us over the coals with the blessing of the government.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  188. Tom of Naples, FL

    This does not appear to be a strategy of the administration (seeming to give in but still, secretly support a public option) but if there is no public option the Democrats have failed. I voted for change. New change can be achieved in 2010 and again in 2012 so the things those of us who supported with the concept of "change you can believe in" can actually have another go at it. I won't go out and door knock as the Obama folks beg me to do as I simply don't know what the administration's message is. Apparently, it is not one to which I connect.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  189. ricardo aguiar

    Forget it Jack.
    Everyone has an opinion but no one wants to cooperate or do anything.
    We can't seem to be civilized enough to get this done.
    I'm moving to France.

    Ricardo Aguiar
    Miami, FL

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  190. Bill Bradley

    In the face of all the controversy, I suggest my 3-point health plan:

    1. Leave everything as-is.

    2.. On your way to the hospital, have in-hand a valid broad-coverage recognized health plan OR a certified & current Line of Credit at a large (viable)bank to cover your reasonable anticipated charges

    3.Without #2, above, go immediately to an end-o-line consult with your family.

    V. IMP>: A law to prevent hospitals running any deficit !

    BB Ontario

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  191. jade

    I say, let's put it to a national referendum and let the majority's vote win. President Obama ran his campaign on reforming health care, and he won the election. That should say something to America. I feel the pro reformers need to get out there and make just as much noise and the media has to show it, or are they in the pocket of the insurance companies too?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  192. zack

    With a deficit totaling 59 TRILLION when you include the unfunded liabilities, we simply can’t afford another social program. Using the credit we have available; you and I can live beyond our means for a while. We can buy things we can’t afford by simply signing on the dotted line. However we can only maintain that style of living for a short time. Soon the credit cards reach their limits and the bills come due. Why should we the people think our government is any different? IT IS NOT! The government's credit card is maxed out, the tax payers have nothing left to give, and the bank (a.k.a China) is getting nervous about our excessive borrowing. The growing national debt is planting the seeds of our next economic disaster right before our eyes. Let us not make it worse!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  193. Michael Gerard

    What does it mean if Obama agrees not to require a public heath insurance option?

    It means that agree or disagree, we finally have a President who understands that an electoral victory by just half the electorate puts him in office with half the country skeptical of his agenda and perspective.

    What I have not seen anyone mention is that health insurance cooperatives and a public health insurance option are NOT mutually exclusive.

    Michael Gerard
    Chagrin Falls, OH

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  194. David Watson

    It means yet another watered down, ineffective healthcare solution. Can you say HMO? When Democrats backed down some 15 yrs ago we were left with a compromise that would later come to haunt the Democratic Party and the American people. Jack it is time the government listens to the majority rather than the minority and gets it right. Ignorance should not be the recipe any governmant follows. Particularly one that claims to be the leader of the free world.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  195. Jerry Jiang

    It mean he loses my vote as independent.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  196. Lance

    A federal health provider is necessary to keep the crooked private sector in-line. If insurance companies were run with integrity they wouldn't need to be funding the anti-Fed insurance initiatives. This is living proof they are all crooks.

    Of course big money minded republicans have their heads too far up their backsides to see clearly. Think of it this way, FED'X, UPS and the US Postal Service play nicely in the sandbox, why can't insurance companies?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  197. Randy

    For a Christian nation we are quick to kick "the least of these" to the curb. I hope the wealthy can explain their actions on judgement day.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  198. BigShott

    It means that, once again, our Republican politicians have surrendered to the the lunatic fringe of the Democratic Party. I had such high hopes for this president. I am very fortunate to have health insurance and I wish others that dont have it would move to a place where they can get a job instead of complaining that they dont have a job, but that probably will never happen. It is a sad day in American history. I only hope that a happy ending is still possible.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  199. DJ in Denver

    I,m sorry I didn't see or hear that come out of the president's town hall in Grand Junction, CO. I recorded it and watched it three times and it seems that he talked about the public option for at least half of the hour and ten minutes he spent talking. How does CNN get that he is willing to see it go away? I don't get why the Republicans don't want counseling on living wills to be payed for either.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  200. John Girardeau

    All citizens should have access to the same health care plan that Congress has.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  201. celia

    No public option means the millions now not covered by health insurance will still not be covered by health care. . . and you can add the thousands whose cobra insurance will run out soon to those aforementioned millions. . . additionally, with the passage of any mandate to cover pre-existing conditions for private insurance companies, current insurance policy costs will skyrocket. . . just look at the HMO stock rises today. . . Insurance companies will continue to determine life and death decisions especially for those without legitimate information regarding planning for catastrophe(s) leading to possible death and end of life preparation, i.e. Living Wills, DNR's etc.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  202. Don Parker

    Obamas compromise on Public Option looks suspiciously like lobbyist activity on his part, is it possible that he is just another worthless politician or could he actually be a republican in democratic clothing, whatever the case may be if he drops the Public Option for Health Care I am going to give up on him and he won't be hearing from me in 2012.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  203. Michael Renshaw

    Jack, for me it seems that a retreat from the public option is a complete retreat from health care reform itself. I believe in compromising but with this development it would seem that the Republicans have gotten their "Waterloo". That's all they wanted in the first place. I rather see the Democrats fight and fail then to just give in espeacially to the underhanded tactics the opposition used.
    Dayton, Ohio

    August 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  204. Bruce Farr

    The Republicans and right-wing media have done such a bang-up job of fallaciously demonizing Obama's plan and creating near hysteria over it that it's a wonder any aspect of it has survived. As far as I understand it, I actually like the new non-profit co-op option being discussed as an alternative to the public plan; I think it might have considerable merit.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  205. Janet Cruz, Kamiah, Idaho

    It means that the insurance company bribes to legislators has paid off. Ten thousands dollars here, a hundred thousand there, and soon the public health care option disappears. Not only our health care system is broken, but our legislative system is broken, corrupted by legalized bribery.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  206. Bob S. Racine, WI

    It means Barack Obama is more Bi-Partisan than anyone else in Washington, whether that's good or bad remains to be seen. I still hope for the best.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  207. Dave (Toronto)

    I understand the health care plan for members of Congress is a plan that members of Congress are happy to belong to.

    The answer is simple.

    Those members of Congress who vote against the public option can act accordingly and take themselves out of the Congressional public plan and buy their own coverage.

    Any member of Congress who doesn't live up to their own words is a coward.

    Shame on their politics.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  208. mitchell, arkansas

    It means the progressive members of the house ,who signed a pledge NOT to support any bill that didn't include a STRONG public option, will be called on, by us liberal-progressives, to stand on that pledge. That is enough ,in itself, to keep the bill from even coming to a vote on the House floor. Any bill that mandates individuals buy private insurance from the very thieves who put this system in the shape it's in, through sheer greed and 'con-artistry', should be sent directly to the shredder.....,Too many backroom deals while single-payer advocates were escorted out of the 'roundtable' room.....,

    August 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  209. Alan Goldstein

    Obama above all is a practical man. If he can get 85% of what he wants it's a victory. This will take suck some wind from the lungs of Rush's lunatic mob, because now they'll have to rant about something else. It also shows the centerists of this world that Obama is not an idealogue. His agenda is NOT leftist, in fact he is very much a moderate.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  210. noreen salter

    I don't believe he will retreat. The reason he want public is so the American people that don't have coverage can get it. It's fine for the people that have everything to run the plan down but some day they too will be out of a job without a pay or health care and all the money they handed over to the insurance companies is gone and they are in the same boat as the ones they don't care about right now. Too many people are stuck on stupid . I thought all Americans were created equal these so called God fearing people acting this way should be ashamed of themselves. Every time you mention God in your money , constituation and so on makes an awefull lot of people two faced.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  211. Maico Pena

    It means that Obama will be rewarding the Looney tunes at those town hall meetings who are simply shouting out because they still can’t believe Obama is president. Obama will be rewarding Limbaugh and Beck and their untrue interpretations of the bill. He will be rewarding the insurance companies by been intimidated by their media campaigns to undermined the reformed.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  212. Art in WV

    What does it mean If President Obama is willing to retreat on health care?

    It means he's not the man for whom I thought I was voting. It means he's not as committed to his ideals as Ol' W. OK, Bush's ideals were despicable, but he stuck to them. If he wanted something from his Republican congress, he threatened, intimidated and cajoled. He succeeded in having scores of representatives vote against the best interests of their constituents. What an irony that Obama would need to bully Democratic representatives to vote against special interests (and big contributors) and in favor of their constituents.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  213. Larry from Texas

    It means that he's listening to the AMERICAN PEOPLE. Jack only the young and dumb can't see where this is all heading. Sure it all sounds good, but if the public option succeeds private insurance companies will begin huge layoffs to cut expenses in order to compete against the govt plan . Additionally because private insurance reimburses doctors at 85 cents on the dollar while medicare and medicaid reimburse just 55 cents, doctors will begin to feel the pain financially,BIG TIME. Ofcourse it wont take long before out of control costs lead to rationing and higher taxes for all. If you dont believe me , today Canada reported that their health system is in a mess, and we all know how high personal income taxes are in Canada.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  214. carlo romairone, new york city

    I am an Italian who has been leaving in this country for over 34 years
    and I cannot believe that in 2009 anytime one proposes something "social/public" is immediately labeled a comunist and the proposal considered a threat capable of transforming this country in the former Russia. I hope Pres. Obama will not retreat on his health plan and that Americans will undestand that alla the numerous countries in the world that have public health care( all the European ones, Canada, etc., etc.) are not comunist countries but countries that want to guarantee health care coverage to all their citizen( and very often also to visiting foreigners).
    Best regards,
    carlo romairone

    August 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  215. Robert R.

    It always amazes me, how many people will shoot themselves in the foot....on purpose. I am curious on all the people that speak out in these town hall meetings, do they have insurance or not? I would assume that they have some kind of coverage. That they do not even have the slightest understanding of not having essential medical needs met. It is indeed a sad day if Obama backs down. I say let the Republicans keep crying and let's stop playing a political game. It is time to start helping each other in this country. I am a disabled vet and believe that everyone, rich or poor should have health care. This crazy Republican idea that the Government will take over health care is absurd. If the insurance companies were not so greedy, and cared about people more than their profits, then we would not even be having this debate. But unfortunately, corporate greedy men want to keep on stealing your money for no medical coverage. When are we going to stand up to them. Why are we fighting with the government, when we should fighting the insurance companies?!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  216. Boone Pollard

    If President Obama and the Congressional Democrats retreat on healthcare reform, something that was a central issue in the 2008 election (including a public option), it will mean that the Democrats and the President have neither the resolve nor the competence to pass ANY of their promises. It means that come 2010 and 2012 we will know that it truly doesn't matter either way which party wins, as the agenda will continue to be dominated by the GOP no matter how great a majority we give to the Democrats. It will mean that there truly is no "Change You Can Believe In" in Washington.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  217. Lisa Cypert

    It concerns me greatly that President Obama would consider backing off on healthcare, particularly the public option. In my home state of Oklahoma, my children qualify for medicaid, but even though we barely make enough income to pay basic bills each month, my husband and I do NOT qualify. Without a public option, my husband and I have no hope of getting coverage. I don't care one bit honestly about competition in the market... I care about ALL being covered.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  218. Greg

    Mary Gilbert, if you're all about donating money, then why don't you donate your money to the red cross? And the "lunatic fringe" republicans are NOT what caused obama's form of socialism to die, it was the MODERATE LIBERALS. You know, that centrist bunch of whackos that had this crazy idea that the government shouldn't be blowing all of this money they don't have on the public option?

    Lets not forget that the flaming liberals have already tripled the national deficit in 9 months of the Obama spend-a-thon.

    That's change that we're going to suck on.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  219. jim haas

    It means the forces of private greed are pushing the public good to the back of the bus. We've put up with this for a hundred years; it's time to push back. We voted for change, and public option health insurance will be change for the better. . . . Jim, Olathe, KS

    August 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  220. Lana in Utah

    Jack, President Obama isn't going to retreat! Come on! He is just getting started. Remember we gave him the majority. We can do this!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  221. Jim C

    Retreating on a public option means that we will have an expensive bill that really does not do much of anything that will help Americans in any meaningful way and he (President Obama) will have expended a lot of political capital to do so. We will get to continue on the path of spiralling healthcare costs and a growing number of uninsured people that we all pay for anyway through higher medical costs.

    But hey, what do I know? The clearly intelligent and highly educated people violently/angrily protesting any kind of reform put in place by a government that is by, of and for the people must have a pretty good grasp on the complexities and nuances of healthcare and know what is best for the country in the long term. They must know something that the rest of us do not. Honestly, if this was something that we as individuals could have fixed on our own, we would have. If the conservatives wanted to fix the problem they could have done so years ago.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  222. will

    Jack, it means Obama has failed and the American people will be the losers.

    I have just returned from 7 years in Australia, a country with a public health system that coexist with private insurance companies. It works very well and I am a walking testimony with two hip replacements and elective knee surgery . Australia's medical cost per person and per cent of GDP are far less than the US, while life expectancy and infant mortality rates are far better than the US.

    Again, a losing situation for Americans and Obama in the next election because he is looking at one term. Looks like I need to call the international movers and book a return back to OZ..

    Will in AZ

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  223. dee johnson

    It means America continues to be held hostage by greedy corporations who will stop at nothing to maintain their bottom line. God help us if they ever find a cure for cancer, the insurance companies would fight the cure to the death. They want to keep us sick and poor.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  224. Doug, Martinez California

    Hello Jack,

    It would mean that the lobbyist money from the insurance industry would have trumped the will of the American public which, as polls have shown, support the the public option.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  225. Barb Carlson

    If there is no public option, then there is no real health care reform. People coming to the demonstrations armed is just pure intimidation, nothing else. These are antisocial behaviors and I would bet a fair amount of them have domestic violence in their background or are too scary to even have a partner.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  226. Eric, Flemington, NJ

    It means he's a pragmatist. He should aim for quick action on the most important aspects of health care reform – covering those without insurance (which is contentious and complicated), expanding insurance access across state lines to increase competition and consumer choices, and regulating insurance companies so that they cannot refuse to insure those with pre-existing conditions or drop those who develop serious illnesses. In order to get things going, compromises will need to be made. It's high time and long overdue that our federal government gets moving on health care and health insurance reform.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  227. Monica Ortega

    This healthcare debate is giving me ulcers and high blood pressure...which I can't afford to get fixed. KEEP THE PUBLIC OPTION!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  228. Louis Ellender

    Jack , we need either a co-op , govt, or some plan to offset the the insurance companies. I am 62, my wife and I are healthy with jobs and insurance. This year I unfortunately had to have eye surgery and a er visit to the tune of 20K. I still had to pay about 5 K out of pocket. With out monthy cost of insurance at $500 it is hard to save, etc for the future much less spend to stimulate the economy.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  229. EugeneWiese Midlothian,Va.

    I am for the public option(healthcare for all).It's immoral to let 46-50 million people go without healthcare.What happened to the great commandments and the golden rule! wiseup and behave.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  230. William Blight

    If Obama can't push through this key part of health reform, he and the democrats will end up roadkill on the side of the road. I for one voted for reform; not appeasement to the health lobby and Rush Limbaugh! It's better for the democrats to fight with all guns blazing.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  231. Josh Hatcher (Minneapolis)

    I think it means that he is determined to accomplish as much as he can with the reality of the situation. It would really be a shame if a public option doesn't happen, but if he can at least create a COOP alternative, than that's better than nothing. Sometimes you have to lose a little to win a little. Apparently republicans are willing to do and say anything to keep the rest of us from winning, even if they don't really win either – which means everyone loses (except for private insurance companies).

    August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  232. jeff in MN

    It will go down like the stimulus bill. The end package will be watered down to appease the demands of the Republicans, which means it will not do enough to address the problems. Then, despite the enormous compromise, the likes of which you would never see from a Republican controlled congress, Republicans still won't vote for the bill.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  233. Bev Spicer

    From Ohio-I would pray that Pres. Obama would show me what he had when he ran for president. I need him to quit trying to pacify the republicans and do what he wants. the republicans are never going to accept anything he wants to do–we have seen that. They just want him to fail. And while he is passifying them we, the ones that voted for him and the change that he made us believe in, are becoming very disappointed. Step up to the plate Pres. Obama and tell the republicans to play ball or drop them from the game!!! I will then again start having the feelings I did for you during the election-make me believe in you again.
    Thank you–Bev Spicer

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  234. Isabel

    And here I thought that having control of the White House, the House and Senate would finally help the wheels of our Government move faster?? Well, there goes that theory. Here go the Dems giving up and in the process giving those that need it the most being the middle class the shaft!! We need the public option to keep a level playing field. I never thought many Americans were this stupid!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  235. Kristy Wallis

    It means that President Obama realizes that there are legitimate concerns among a wide and diverse spectrum of the American public. Imagine if GWB had attempted to portray Cindy Sheehan as a left-wing lunatic and her concerns about the Iraq war insignificant simply because she was vocal? It would have been as outrageous as the way "protesters" at Town Hall's have been portrayed. 84% of Americans are happy with their health care. We are smart enough to fix the problems without a complete overhaul of the system.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  236. Steven

    It means that the republicans can lose elections and still control the administration whether it be Democratic or Republican. There is so much power and wealth at the republicans disposal that holding elections is almost meaningless. If the they don't like the results, they push back with all their resources to get what they want and,..... unfortunately........ IT WORKS,.....TO THE DETRIMENT OF OUR NATION!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  237. James Phillips

    I don't see it as retreating. I see it as trying to reach a compromise. We must have some type of option to control the high rising cost of health care being charged by insurance companies. The President has said he is willing to work with parties on both sides of the isle. Republicans should not see this as a victory, but as a way they can have a say in what will be passed and they should work with the President and the Democrats in finding a way to control costs.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  238. John Whitt

    If President Obama retreats on health care, it means the end of constructive politics in America because the "conservatives" will know that their tactics of incivility, name-calling, obstructionism, and lying are effective.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  239. Vincent OBrien

    If the president backs down on the health care bill it will embolden the opposition to continue the same tactics for any legislation he proposes. The Republican party is united in their opposition tactics. They do not care a whit for the improvement of society. It is power they are interested in. Retreating on the reform of healthcare will split the party.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  240. John in AZ

    What it means Jack is that Democrats are just as bad as ever at controlling any public debate, even when they a wildly popular president and control of both houses of Congress. It boggles the mind that what is already a compromise bill would be further diluted because of gross misrepresentations. I'm both shocked and unsurprised.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  241. janet

    I don't know what it means to anyone else, but if the President backs down on the public option, and the Democrats in Congress follow, I will switch my affiliation from life-long Democrat to Independent. I am sick and tired of the Democrats, who cried about not have the votes to do anything for 8 years, now appearing to cave in to the insurance companies, the right-wing crazies – again – and the drug companies. Been a life-long Democrat but I've had it!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  242. Shelly Gold

    It means the Democratic party doesn't care about its base. It also means that elected officials don't care about the citizens of this country. I will never vote again for any Democrat that votes for a Health Care Bill that doesn't include a strong public option. That was our "bone". What we really wanted was single payer healthcare, but we were willing to have them throw us a bone – the option. If you take that away, we have nothing but the same system slightly modified, with the profits of the health insurance industry likely to soar because the insurance will be mandated in exchange for eliminating the pre-existing conditions exclusions.
    Why is it that the Republicans were able to pass almost every damn thing they wanted to when they had the majority, but Democrats somehow need to be bi-partisan??? I don't get it. Did the Democrats actually think that lowering taxes to benefit mostly the richest people on the country – without balancing the budget was a great idea? Or were they just to chicken to deal with a political ad that claimed they were for higher taxes? Democrats are a bunch of spineless, sniveling losers and Republicans are charlatans and serial liars. What a great set of choices for our country!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  243. Jim Hall

    If our president allows the health care bill to be watered down, and doesn't offer a government based choice, I will not vote for him again, and will put my energy into electiong Mrs. Clnton. Period.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  244. Rita Pollock

    If President Obama retreats on a public option for health care than I believe you will never get affordable care. I'm saddened when it appears to me that the public falls for the Republican scaremongering of a public option. In my mind Republicans fear this public option because they would lose their financial support from the Insurance Industry of course, the insurance industry would lose their cash cow.

    I am a Canadian and have lived under a system before our Medicare where people had to choose between food and medical attention. When we brought in Medicare in the 1960's it was totally funded from our taxes and was much more inclusive than it is now. It began to change when the public started believing the conservative mantra that private care would be more efficient and cost effective. It hasn't proven to be true and is one of the reasons Canadian Health Care is having problems with wait times because as private insurers have taken over some of the medical procedures that were once public, they have drained doctors and nurses and other support staff to the private insurers which only works for the rich who can afford to pay for it.

    I desperately hope my American neighbours won't fall for this lie.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  245. Scott

    Sadly, it will mean the President has failed. Healthcare will not improve for the uninsured, providers will not be kept in check, and when a bill is ultimately signed it will be a false and hollow victory. It infuriates me that with such an opportunity to do what's right, Democrats are more concerned with avoiding a fight and getting a little dirty. Hell, if the Republicans are willing to make things up to defeat this bill – maybe we need to dive right in and roll around with them in the mud.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  246. Lana

    It means that the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies have won again and the American people have lost significantly. A public option could rather be viewed as a way for all Americans to have health care without being hogtied by the insurance companies excessive premiums and pre-existing noose. I would also allow for a competivite playing field that the insurance and pharmaceutical companies have not been a party to in a long time...maybe never.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  247. sam sixpack

    This "reform" is a financial war between Big Insuarnce and Big Pharma. Big Insurance just won a round - nice try Big Pharma.

    In the end you and I will be required by law pay all we can "afford" into their kitty. Big Insuance and Big Pharma will then continue fighting over which of them gets to keep how much.

    As usual, you will get even less than before.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  248. bill forrester

    It means big business is still running this country, just like when DUBYA was in office, Our government already has Medicare in place, used by many people. Why, after 50+ yearsof its use, do we not check into national health care like in Canada and in England? Why do we spend so much of our GDP on it compared to these countries?
    People already get health care for free at clinics or even at hospitals. Just walk in, you will get help. No money, just help. It is governments that fund that yet people still complain about government inteference. It makes no sense and proves my opening statement.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  249. tom kelly seattle, wa

    What it means to me is that this 62 year old lifetime democrat will never vote democrat again. I will be looking for a third party or voting republican when I can't (if the republican's are going to be running the country they might as well get the blame). I can't believe that the people of this country would support Bush in his invasion and killing of innocents by a margin of about 72% and are now in the 40 percentile for health care for our own people.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  250. Kenneth Vaughn Dallas Texas

    Dear Jack,
    Obama needs to toughen up. He needs to go for single payer, universal coverage, no pre-conditions, choose your own doctors, no government owned hospitals, or employed doctors. If 300 million Americans are a member, how much do you think the premium will be? A group this size should be able after federal aid for start up cost to be self supporting via collection of premiums and investing just as the for profit insurance companies do now. The insurance companies and their allies, corporations, have had their shot for the last 40 years and look at the mess they made. If the government can run the most powerful military in the world, Medicare, Social Security, the Post Office, chances are it can regulate health care just as well.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  251. Mallory from Michigan

    It means that the Health "Care" Insurance conglomerates have won and the American public has lost. Thanks to the Republican Senators and Congress AND the Democrat blue dogs who were purchased by these corporations, we will see insurance, medical care and prescription rates continue to rise for all of us that can get them. Maybe we need to fix the election process and eliminate the possibility of purchasing congressmen and women. I cannot believe all the misinformation and fear tactics work so well on the American people. Maybe we need to fix education too, so the American people can learn how to decipher between the truth and the lies. And all in the name of the almight dollar. I hear "What Would Jesus Do" from all the right wing Republicans about their own agendas – would Jesus turn his back on almost 50 million people uninsured, even more underinsured and tell even more that because they need health care they are now cancelled???? Well, that is what the insurance companies do to us now and want to continue to do. No one should be more or less entitled to health care than anyone else in this great nation. Please Mr. President, stand up to them like you promised!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  252. Mark

    It means that, once again, our Democratic politicians have surrendered to the the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party. PLEASE! Ignorance?

    I am neither Democrat nor Republican. I am an American looking from the outside in and all I see is Americans fighting between 2 parties instead of finding a solution. We invite this kind of garbage by voting through a 2 party system. Can't you see, this is a tactic of "Divide and Conquer!" It is working!! Most uneducated Americans fall into this!!

    Keep two things in mind........How can the government (you) possibly afford this?

    One more thing......."A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take it all away!"

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  253. Linda

    Why didn't the people who support reformed health care get upand out and support Obama so you could have had a better healthcare system?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  254. Kathy

    Howard Dean is right...Any health care bill without a public option ("Medicare for All Ages") to keep the insurance companies honest is not reform...It's letting the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies call the shots, once again.

    Obama and the Democrats, for whom I voted. need to be leaders not politicians...

    Let's stand on principle!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  255. Terrence Cain

    I wish they would keep a public healthcare plan open, but I don't see that happening now. I feel it's a big mistake not doing so. The only other way to get healthcare costs down is for our government to do heavy regulations by forcing the private insurers to stop canceling insurance plans because someone becomes deathly ill, stopping the extra charges such as co-fees & charging for medications people need & getting costs down so that people can afford to have insurance. I think if you pay say $150 a month in healthcare insurance for you & your family then you shouldn't have to pay for anything else for medical care. The insurance companies shouldn't be a for profit business.

    Big Spring, TX

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  256. George from Orlando, FL

    I am on Medicare so whatever happens is unlikely to affect me.

    Having said that, it means that the insurance companies and Wall Street have once again bought the politicans. Very interesting that the overall stock market was down 2% today with one exception. You guessed, the HMO's like Aetna, Wellpoint, United Healthcare etc that were up by about 5%.

    Growing up this was all called, "Throwing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch."

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  257. Mike from Denver

    Retreat? Never. I believe this is what is called an alternative victory.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  258. Michelle S. - Missouri

    It means that the President is a reasonable man and understands that some battles aren't worth fighting if you don't have the votes. What's important here is that the two sides find the areas that they agree on, compromise on those they don't, and come to a consensus in order to get this thing started. We've got to start somewhere and I think it will be detrimental to both parties if nothing is done.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  259. BigShott

    For those of you who complain about CEO pay, why are you not complaining about Tiger Woods, Lebron James, Shaq, Tom Brady and all the pro athletes who make much more.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  260. Mark

    It means that even Democrats start to realize, that bringing Socialism into our country is not something they really wanted to do.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  261. Marina

    It means that one day I will bankrupt my family when I reach my one million dollar lifetime maximum benefit under private insurance. To think that some sort of reform will happen without the public option is just simply naive.

    It also means that the people who elected Obama – all the progressive people who worked tirelessly to elect a man who promised to reform this insane system we have – all of us are being sold down the river.

    But, progressives, as usual, will not stand up and fight their "man" on account of him being already under attack by the distracting right-wing fringe lunatics and health industry lobbyists. In the meantime the millionaires (the 50-million-dollar-a-year CEOs of health insurance companies) whose outrageous profits were being threatened by some actual competition from the public option, are celebrating...

    I guess I was silly to think something would actually change...

    August 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  262. Jay

    It means the insurance companies with their scare tactic advertisments convinced a lot of dumb people to protest against a bill they don't even understand, and it worked. How sad that the citizens of the most powerful nation on Earth could be so easily manipulated.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  263. Megan Martin

    If there is no public option- then where is the reform? If you're going to get rid of that portion, then where is the change? What Obama may see as only a "sliver," is an opportunity as wide as the great Grand Canyon for millions of Americans as they see a chance of no longer having to live in fear of getting sick or having an accident. Keep the public option alive!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  264. Jay

    My family is in a constant with a private insurance company for badly needed long term care. She is eighty years old has paid into that company for over 30 years. The companies need competition. The people that need the public option are often to sick to get out and scream.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  265. John from Texas

    If Obama backs off the public option at this point, there will be no reform. No one can compete against the giant insurance companies except the federal government, anything else is a joke and would only be considered for political expediency. It's a cop-out. Of course there are still reforms that are needed with the insurance companies themselves, and will be addressed later, I'm sure, but to my mind if the public option is dropped, we dropped the ball and this Independent voter will feel like he wasted his vote. Not for the reasons the lunatic right would like people to believe, but because I actually thought that this time we had an opportunity to elect someone who "had a pair." I hope I wasn't wrong.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  266. Harrison

    Can we please not let the President abandon the Public option. For the last 5 years I worked for a company that I paid about 300 dollars a month for insurance. I recently lost this job now none of my family of four don't have insurance. yes I was offered COBA at the rate of $1018 a month but with out a job how can I pay this even at the reduced rate of $492 I am not able to pay that either. This will benefit more people than anything else that will happen this century have we not even realized how many jobs could be created from this one piece of legislature. How can the number one country in the world be so selfish that we can't give our fellow american's health insurance. I guess I'll go down to the VA now and get checked out since I am a Veteran but to bad for my kids and wife.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  267. John Wesley

    Stop using Canada as a model to fire dissent for universal health care. Yes, our citizens are covered, but our system is broken also. We are not Socialists. Look at the UK. Health care for all does work and is a “no-brainer” to implement. CNN represents the “truth” in News. CNN, “keeps them honest”? How about fact checking the background of the Democrats and Republicans who oppose the “public option” ... I will bet my right arm you will find their pockets lined in money from big business in exchange for votes. Is this a debate for the best interest of the people or the best interest of the representative?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  268. John

    If there's no public option to health care, then health care reform is down the tube!! It will be business as usual for the insurance companys. They need to have some compitition to drive down the costs. Shame on Obama for lying to us!!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  269. Robin T.

    Under the present system, if you have no insurance and no money, you don't get health care. So what you are looking at is euthanasia by dollars. The Republicans call this "personal responsibility" and a "free market." Nice phrases but, bottom line is, you're still dead.

    The public option is an essential component of health care reform and I will not support a bill that does not contain such an option. Nor will such a bill clear the house, because the progressive caucus and black caucus will vote against that bill. Rahm Emmanuel can scream all he wants; our progressive Representatives will not betray us, even if Obama does.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  270. Frank Nardo

    if President Obama lets the public option go, I believe his presidency will follow shortly, He needs to keep his promise to "we the people" and do something right for them, the stimulus was there for banks, car industry, housing, and we the people have gotten cake, when it comes to funding the american people, investing in the future as they would put it, well nothing better then health care for all.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  271. Amy

    It seems to me The President finds himself between a rock and a hard place. If he retreats on the public option, it means that he validates the Republican rhetoric of socialized medicine and death panels. It gives the people who are spinning fear to the public power to prevent the change he is seeking. On the other hand, a retreat would perhaps garner a little more support from the Republican side and perhaps lead to an even better/more affordable option, provided everyone on both sides can learn to play nice. But isn't the point of all this debate to get uninsured Americans the ability to get the insurance coverage they need? What does it matter how we get there? As long as I don't have to pay $600 for an ice pack made of a rubber glove filled with water in the emergency room...who cares? We are already paying for the uninsured by way of the $600 ice pack. Where does all that money go anyway? If everyone were insured, one way or another, then medical bills would be paid (in theory) and perhaps doctors and hospitals wouldn't have to charge as much for services because they are not taking such huge losses due to indigent patients. Sounds to me like we are arguing over semantics.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  272. Mike H.

    It means that once again this country is on the verge of letting those who use fear tactics chart its course through troubling waters. In this decade alone, fear has been used to justify an illegal war, rip away constitutional rights, and now it is about to cost America its most important asset yet: its faith in a young President who promised change. There will be no change in Washington as long as we let others scare us into remaining stagnant. It used to be money that ruled Washington, today it is fear.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  273. Daniel

    I always love reading peoples comments that are obivously on the left side. The private sector always works better than the government tries to take control of it. If Obama (hopefully) goes away from his public option and goes after more important things like tort reform health coverage would go down. Yes, the big insurance companies and pharms would benefit from him going away from this and they should. The gov't is to make law that regulates and controls big business, not become is own big business.
    Health care in America is expensive because everytime the littlest thing goes wrong we want to sue the doctor. They are not god..get off their back. Also, America stop being so lazy and get outside and exercise. Obesity cost so much in health insurance and its such an easy thing to control...now this doesn't mean taking sugar-drinks is the answer.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  274. Doug in Conifer

    Health care reform without a public option is not health care reform. It's just repackaging of the same. We need a strong public option to bring health care industry under control.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  275. Matt Myers

    It means that our president is finding it more and more difficult to deal with the level of idiocy that is present in the senate, (democrats and republicans), and in the American public in general. How is an intelligent man supposed to help people who do not understand enough about the health insurance industry to want to be helped? He is trying to prevent the insurance companies from bleeding them dry and they are in effect saying, "No, we enjoy being taken advantage of and getting poor quality care at ridiculous rates." Why are people trying to keep health insurance companies in business when they have been murdering people for decades by denying them care?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  276. Rob

    Why are the people angry at the Republicans?
    This is not just republican against this, there are democrats who think like most of those who are protesting.
    They think that we need health care, but we dont need a plan just passed because Obama said it is right.
    Most of the politicians who would have passed this bill probably never even read it before there was a movement of the American people to rise up and protest the fast moving bill.
    They shoved the quickly put together stimulus package and for the most part that has failed. So this should be a lesson to Obama that you cant do every thing right away. Let the congress work through a health care plan, open it up to the public before they demand knowing about it, and let the american people decide if this is right for the country.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  277. Dr. T

    Never have I heard such drivel regarding health care reform regarding not putting in a public option. The president should completely forget about the Republicans, and pass the public option.

    It is not to the best interest to the American population, to forget this option to health care reform.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  278. Jack Black

    I think the public option will remain a viable option. Look the big concern here is thatthe man ran on "Change" we've gotten so used to politicians saying it and not acting on it that we really didn't realize our own cynicism until now. We actually now have a President who is willing to act and the "others" are trying to call his bluff @ the climax of this debate. Obama is skilled and knows how to work his people he'll get it. The Democrats need to just step up and support him full fledged as the price of doing nothing means we will have to address this some day but @ a higher price tag. I need this public optionas an alternative as a young 27 year old 2 years married w/ two kids and heart disease .The US cant be a part of globalization and still have practices especially health wise that are in isolation w/ the rest of the world...and not to go off on a tangent people but the universe is shifting gears for too long we've lived w/ the every man is an island mentality and i am not my brother's keeper.....(devil's run anyone) well all of that is on the verge of coming to an end as we come to realize how we are meant to be interdependent by nature ...so for what u people are calling socialism i call it a unviersal principle that is seeking to correct itself from our selfish and materializtic shallow ways

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  279. Ken Williamson


    If the goals of health care reform are to insure the uninsured and to reduce long term costs of health care then if the republicans do not want a public option then they need to answer the question as to how the insurance companies are going to insure the uninsured without the government giving them the money to do it thereby increasing costs, and how do long term costs get reduced.

    The insurance industry was not willing to insure seniors, so the government did it. They certainly were not willing to insure children living in poverty. So the government did it. The insurance industry has been in control for 25 years and costs have simply been going up way faster than anything else.

    So, my question to the republicans: How are you going to do it? Need answer by end of next week.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  280. Marc

    This country is starting to look less and less like "the United States of America," and more like the United Corporations of America.

    Health insurance and Big Pharma corporations are spending over $1,500,000 dollars every day, just on lobbying, and it looks like they are buying any reform to keep it on the shelf.

    This problem is not new. Thomas Jefferson was aware of it almost 200 year ago:

    "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

    Well, they are writing the laws now.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  281. John

    It means compromise is possible in a democracy, even in the United States.
    St. Louis, MO

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  282. Don

    It means that "Change you can believe in" was just another political slogan.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  283. Mark

    I have the upmost respect for President Obama, but if he caves on critical health care issues, he will be vunerable to caving in on other issues. This is one-time this President should take a page from his predecessor, you have a popular vision and a voter mandate, use it!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  284. Leonard

    Matthew 25:35 should be appended by the Insurance companies and Republicans claiming to be followers of the God to read:

    "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: I was uninsured and you denied me."

    How many former insurance employees does it take to state the obvious of big insurance companies dropping policy holders that are droppable when it's expedient for them to make a buck, using our premium money to fund PR campaigns against reform or lobbying, and discrimminating vs prior existing claims.

    The ones crying foul are the misguided, the deluded, and the guillable by the insurance companies paying the republicans watchdogs to bark louder.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  285. Vee C

    I think there still needs to be some type of public option. There are people below the $40,000 annual salary that may fall between the gap of the private and co-op sector. Perhaps they could be included in a re-vamped medicaid program.
    From experience many non-profit co-ops subsidized programs (like the developmentally handicapped programs that have proliferated) become fraught with fraud and theft just like the AIG big-wigs. The competition will most likely create another breed of money hungry folks who know how to milk a not for profit consumer organization with back up money.. FREE MONEY – FREE MONEY!
    Having said that... I will say a co-op for folks who make over $40,000 and can't afford the heavy cost of the current insurance companies is a good idea. Tell Mr. President _Don't back off of public option in some form.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  286. N. Chavez

    I would be very upset if the President retreats on health care reform. It is obviously a broken part of our system and I'm amazed by how the media focuses on people stupid enough to ardently oppose reform. My husband and I only carry catastrophic coverage b/c the cost of health insurance kept escalating. Even with this limited coverage we still pay $600/mo. I think the media should focus more on the average citizen out here who supports health care reform rather on the nut cases who don't. Maybe the media has great coverage and doesn't want reform? What about the rest of us? I hate it when our country demonstrates how greedy it is. Everyone is way too worried about their taxes going up rather than being worried about their neighbor - or even another family member or themselves - going w/o insurance. We need reform - and NOW!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  287. Onyango Otieno

    People haven’t felt any progress from Obama’s economic plans including stimulus, hence they are cautious with any measure he takes in his health care policy. He should wait until some of his initial economic policies to bear fruit then people will have faith that his public option on health care plan will work. People are not ready to endorse his public option since they are cautions. He should delay health care overhaul and let people see if his initial plans on economic worked. Otherwise if he forces it, he might risk being one term president if things don’t work on his way.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  288. Alex Cerrone

    A defeat of the "public option" would be a major win for the HMO's and for their well paid representatives in Congress. It would be another confirmation that this is a government of business, by business, and for business. Anyone who is still under the illusion of this being a government of, by, and for the people need to wake up, and equally importantly, need to teach their children that this is not a representative democracy but rather a government of, by, and for well-financed special interests that pays for what it wants. Too bad the Republicans didn't devote as much time and money toward the debate on going to war as they devoted toward denying health care to those who don't have it!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  289. wayne bauer

    We are the last western industrialized country that doesn't have a national, government run health care plan for its people and the last western industrialized country that retains the death penaltly. What's that say abought us?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  290. Matt, Pittsburgh

    It means that our president is finding it more and more difficult to deal with the level of idiocy that is present in the senate, (democrats and republicans), and in the American public in general. How is an intelligent man supposed to help people who do not understand enough about the health insurance industry to want to be helped? He is trying to prevent the insurance companies from bleeding them dry and they are in effect saying, “No, we enjoy being taken advantage of and getting poor quality care at ridiculous rates.” Why are people trying to keep health insurance companies in business when they have been murdering people for decades by denying them care?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  291. Roland - Chicago

    Jack, this is a telling sign that Obama is still the President and Nancy and Harry need to sit down and shut up. Bill Clinton compromised and look how well we did in the 1990’s. Obama is learning “mean what you say and say what you mean”. This is how he won the election and the American People are letting him know that they will hold him to his word. God Bless America, the land that I love!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  292. Mary, Lansdowne Virginia

    It means that the so-called "reform" without a public option is just a better way for Big Health to extract even more money from us. The final product will just be a cash cow, golden goose, a money machine delivering more of our funds to those greedy insurance companies and insurance execs and Big Pharma. if we think those health companies have political clout now, wait till after that "reform" product delivers even more political power to them.
    It means Repubs back in power in 2010.
    P.S., Bring the public option plan up for a vote in Congress so we can see whom to kick out come next election.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  293. Muin Arlington, VA VA

    I just saw CNN reports that president is still supportive of public option. What's the real story? If president retreats from public option, he will be a one time president and Democrats will loose majority next year.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  294. Rob S. from New York

    Retreating from a public option simply means that all the fear-mongering and negative myth-based PR put out by the insurance companies has won over the majority of voters. If a requirement to attending town hall meetings was to first research universal health care in other countries, I believe the Obama Administration would not have had to back-pedal on their stance to the public option.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  295. Sharon from Madison Wi

    It means health care reform is DOA. GMC claims a BIG part of the reason they failed is because of employees' health care costs. I have health care through my job with the State of Wi however-no raise in 6 years because of the price of my health care $15,600 per year for the family plan and the co pays going uppp uppp uppp. If he drops the public option-big business still owns this government. He has been bought and sold!!!!!! I voted for change-I didn't get it if he folds!!!!!!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  296. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    It means that the people of this great nation DO NOT want this
    bizarre socialist experiment to continue and I am a Democrat saying that.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  297. Ron Ligler

    Jack: Does anyone remember the Medicare plan which was written with no competition by the republican congress. I worked for the VA for many years and we did compete and save a tremendous amount of money for the taxpayers on prescription drugs. If we don't compete, whats preventing the insurance companies from setting prices higher. We don't seem to learn what doesn't work. It really is ashame that we spend more time protecting the insurance companies than thinking of what is really right for all the population who is just getting by.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  298. Laurence

    I am a registered nurse in Ft. Wayne, In and have seen patients that need cardiac stenting turned away because they do not have money for the deposit required for the procedure. If the goventment does not help these patients, who else is going to do it – the insurance companies? LOL.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  299. Beverly in NC

    President Obama did not back off the public option this weekend. He was merely trying to make the point that the public option is only one piece of healthcare reform, not the whole focus of reform.
    Most of us support the public option since competition is the only way to provide honest competition to the private insurance companies who currently totally control our healthcare system.
    Since the insurance companies are making huge “contributions” to Republican members of Congress to oppose healthcare reform, I wonder which insurance company paid this college student to claim the public option will run insurance companies out of business? After all, this student does work for a conservative politician. It was a planted question. President Obama is fully behind the public option and so are most Americans who really understand the reform issue.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  300. Joe Kuta

    If Obama gives the public option to private insurance, he is not the leader we elected.

    Opponents of Obama know this.
    I am confident Obama will not lose this fight for reform,
    which is not about insuring the health of our country,
    but for making Obama a failure.

    Obama needs to bring the people together again,
    as he was so skillful in doing on the campaign trail.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |