Pro Public Option

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Floor debates loom in the health care debate, and major aspects of the plan are still in question. Anthony Weiner, U.S. Congressman (D-NY 9th - parts of Brooklyn and Queens), talks about his fight to include a public option in the final version of Congress’s health care bill and other issues.


Congressman Anthony Weiner

Comments [17]

IljaVonNagel from Los Angeles

Mr. Weiner is 100% correct.

Health care is an essential service, just like the police force or fire departments.

We would never accept a for-profit police force that makes more profit the less crimes it solves. We would never accept a for-profit fire department that makes more profit the fewer fires it puts out.

So why do we accept a for-profit health care system that makes more profit the less care it provides?

What we really need is single-payer. Since we can't get that right now, the public option is the smallest, tiniest step we can take in that direction.

We must take it.
I hope the Democrats don't screw it up.

Oct. 23 2009 12:51 AM
Steve from Hoboken, NJ

the problem is not just with the insurance companies. the providers and the patients are also at fault. listen to this episode of
"this american life". it will change the way you view this debate.

Oct. 20 2009 03:45 PM
Jay Holden from Harlem

23 states pay out a higher maximum weekly unemployment benefit than New York State's famous $405. Of those 23, only 3 have a higher cost of living (COL) than the Empire State (44th Highest COL). MA ranks one lower at 43, but pays out $900. OK, with the lowest COL pays 392.

Oct. 20 2009 11:37 AM
Helen Northmore from New York

Congressman Weiner is right about the need for a public option to control premium cost. The state exchanges in the Senate Finance Committee (Baucus Bill) will not effectively do it.

Since NY’s own health reform act of 2000, all health insurance HMO plans in New York State are required to participate in “Healthy NY”, a type of mandated health insurance exchange without a public option. There are currently sixteen (16) HMO’s in Healthy NY.

Without a public option, but with taxpayer guarantees to the health insurance companies, the result has been unsuccessful on two fronts: it has not attracted more than 6% of NY’s uninsured; and it has not made health insurance “affordable" for all.

For eight years in New York State this type of health insurance exchange has been available to small businesses, sole proprietors, and individuals.

As of November 1, 2008, 16 private health insurers, through Healthy NY, insured only 153,082 New Yorkers while over 2.5 million New Yorker’s remained without any type of health insurance coverage.

To help lower the premiums that insurance companies charge customers, NY taxpayers actually pay a large portion of claims to the health insurance companies.  Claims to the insurance companies in the amounts between $5,000 and $75,000 per insured are paid for by the State of New York as “stop loss” reimbursement payments which cover 90 percent of those claims (for example NYS will pay an insurance company $67,500 for $75,000 in claims to that insurance company).  

The stop‐loss reimbursements from NY State to the health insurance companies plans for 2007 were about $122 million. As a result, the insurance plans participating in Healthy NY had an income $56,303,079 over the cost of the medical claims they paid.

Oct. 20 2009 10:34 AM
moses from harlem

listen to giuliani race bait, I'm not voting for Bloomberg. I can't believe Bloomberg would go down this road.

Oct. 20 2009 10:29 AM
the truth from bkny

Good Job Congressman!

Oct. 20 2009 10:25 AM
Robert from NYC

Too bad you can't hold both positions. You'd get my vote.

Oct. 20 2009 10:25 AM
bernard joseph from brooklyn

i think giuliani is race baiting in those comments but the city was much worse before 1993. he enacted lots of regrettable laws but overall the city was better for it, as hard as it is to say.
the dinkins era was a nightmare.

Oct. 20 2009 10:24 AM
Robert from NYC

Thank you Mr. Weiner the world won't collapse if Mike Bloomberg isn't mayor of NYC. Bravo for speaking the truth.

Oct. 20 2009 10:22 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from manhattan


Great point !! Why not a counterpoint view on this...say, from the Manhattan Institute.

Oct. 20 2009 10:22 AM
Ed Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

And the government plan won't require paperwork and overhead?

Oct. 20 2009 10:18 AM
gary from queens

Why must we always hear the democrat view? why can't there be a conservative as often as a democrat. not a republican, but an articulate conservative who can explain the naivete of the Weiners in congress with so much faith in the responsiveness of agencies of government?

Without counterpoint, the Lehrer show is no better than Glenn Beck or Limbaugh's show.

Oct. 20 2009 10:14 AM
Jack from Midtown

Mr Weiner,

Why do you think the current administration & Supporters of Public Health Care have not put out counter-ads or thrown rallies to the same degree that the anti-government health care groups have? It seems to me that most evidence suggests that countries with some kind of social health care system have lower costs & longer healthier lives. If the Cons were able to find the 1 Canadian who is disgruntled with their health care system and make a commerical that constantly plays on CNN, then surely the 99.9% of other Canadians who oppose any private health care would be willing to to do the same...are even the people who are dying in this country because they can't afford insurance, instead of the quack's at the town hall meetings.

Oct. 20 2009 10:07 AM
longstreet from NYC area

Yes, we can have a public option. Of course I want more government control and red-tape, but concentrating evermore power in the hands of our elected leaders gets my heart pounding. Politicians are so well thought of already, and are such wonderful stewards of the trillions they already take from us, right? Why wouldn't we cede them more authority over our lives?
Now, it goes without saying that I already enjoy footing the bill for Democrats to be dependent on Uncle Sam. Let's another layer of dependency to the mix.
Finally, yes, I know we rushed into war in Iraq, and we were cautioned not to rush into making big, national decisions again. And, yes, I know the country is broke and we're already going to have trillion-dollar deficits in perpetuity, but we must have transformative change and a new beginning.

Oct. 20 2009 10:03 AM
Jackinnj from Millburn NJ

Public Option -- I listened to Reich yesterday -- WHERE ARE THE MONOPOLY PROFITS? -- United Health Care (29 million members) reported their operating results yesterday. The gross profit margin on the health care portion of their business was 6.6% -- that's before overhead, interest and taxes. This profit margin is only slightly better than the average supermarket chain. Gross profit margin in their pharmacy business is even lower.

If anyone is dissembling, it's the Dems who don't even bother to look at the facts.

Oct. 20 2009 09:31 AM
bernard joseph from brooklyn

i still have yet to hear one of my representatives (including the president) clearly lay out the facts about the absolute necessity of a properly functioning public option in this potential health care reform bill. when the president says it's not absolutely necessary and the goals should be a "means to an end"-HE"S WRONG! and what's scary is that he's too smart to be wrong so the fix is in, i guess...just another politician.
it's very sad and i am regretting my democratic voting in 2008. if i'm going to be sold down the river again; i'd rather have the enemy doing it than "one of my own"
please don't waste one more second debating the details of this gift to the insurance companies if there won't be clarity brought forth by our elected officials.
congressman weiner-i've heard you speak on numerous occasions of your total support for the public option but please try a different angle to make this seem as necessary as it is to those who aren't as convinced as i am. e.g.-this is a moral, civic the NYPD, US Army, FDNY etc. all arms of a leftist socialist network? no, it is out government's civic duty to protect the citizens of this country and their health is such an obvious part of that protection. 'the government can't do anything right' argument is ridiculous and should be attacked and clarified by people like congressman weiner. please!

Oct. 20 2009 09:29 AM
hjs from 11211

mr weiner,
why do my tax dollars have to go in to supporting the unsustainable south, plains and mountain states?

Oct. 20 2009 09:17 AM

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