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October 27th, 2009
07:41 AM ET

Public Option: States to Decide?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday he’ll add a public insurance option to the Senate health care reform bill, but allow states the right to opt out of it. (Read the full story here.) Sen. Reid’s proposal is a compromise between more liberal Senate Democrats who have lobbied hard for a public option and more conservative Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans who have lobbied hard against it.

What do you think about letting states decide whether or not they’ll participate in a public insurance option?

Post your comments here and Heidi will read some of them in the Newsroom from 9a-11a ET.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Liberty_man

    Sorry.. i'm still not buying it. They have no right to force anyone to have any insurance period. The insurance is the cause of the high cost of healthcare now.. the insurance is the problem not the cure. And they are completely off base by trying to force all people into any kind of control over their healthcare choices. These life and death sort of decisions need to left up to us.. not some politician or insurance executive who's more interested in profits than keeping people alive. The two contradict each other. The longer they can delay and deny people healthcare.. the more profitable it is for them. And if they can get you to die first.. well all the better.

    The insurance is not necessary. Cash system works far better. And if they need my help i can tell them how to make it so that all healthcare costs are down to a level where they should be. Just by allowing individuals choice over their own life. There are numerous ways that can be acheived with personal healthcare accounts, or even pooling together into private healthcare accounts with a group of people.

    And the single most important step they should be looking at is to remove the employer from the middle. There is absolutely no reason the employers need to even be involved with what you or i or anyone else chooses for our healthcare. It's destroying the small businesses to keep it up now. What's gonna happen when they make insurance portable.. it'll be a nightmare for us. And i can tell you that penalizing employers for not offering insurance.. or now.. not offering the right insurance.. well that will bankfupt this country when they all start failing. Where's the healthcare promises then.. when they drive all the 29 million small businesses out of business?

    October 27, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  2. indyfromaz

    Yeah, they can opt out if the government approves of their own plan that is "comparable" aka equal to theirs. Wow! what a choice!
    And if they opt out, can they opt-out of the taxes??? 🙂

    October 27, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  3. JohnnieC in Florida

    Forida will surely opt out and leave millions of people without coverage

    October 27, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  4. Patricia Slice

    I thought I lived in the "United" States.... The civil war was fought a long time ago. The Red-state, Blue-state thing will not create a sense of eveyone in the same boat. If there is to be a public option it should be open to anyone that needs it. Opting out? I thought that was for credit card companies.... Come on, Health Care should be a right for all Americans, not a political football.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  5. Tony

    None of the bills currently in front of congress allow people who simply don't want to spend the money to "opt-out" of health care. Why should states whose politicians don't want to spend the money be given the option to "opt-out" of a public plan?

    October 27, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  6. Josh Martin

    Wow! Really? Opt-Out? What is the point of the public option even? God knows my stubborn senators in Georgia will continue to let people unnecessarily die in emergency rooms from a lack of insurance while they continue to make tons of campaign money from Big Insurance. If this passes with an opt-out clause, we will all have failed.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  7. Mike B

    The Federal governmeny has NO constitutional authority to run a health care system. FDR ran an end-run around the constitution to get his programs passed but that was a state of emergency. Establishing even greater government, considering its current size, is nothing less than socialism. Nothing is more Anti-American.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  8. Eric

    Hi Heidi,

    Simple.. We should decide not the states...


    October 27, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  9. Treb

    The proposal of giving the States the opportunity to OPT out is a ridiculous proposal. This, in no way, provides options for the individual. Politics will dictate who gets what, not the people being affected.

    There is very little confidence in any government run program. Now both State and Federal governments will have a hand in the health of our loves ones.

    It is time for the people to speak out and tell the government to leave us alone.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  10. Rod Hebner

    With regards to opting out, this is not a good idea as from one who lives in Canada, my thoughts are we have issues with public health but without public health we would have bigger issues and it's bad enough. Allowing states to opt out will have an overall affect as it would be better supported by all the people for the people, is there an echo somewhere ?
    Suffice to say, public health care has it's plus's and minus's and for those that have private health care, it would help in keeping your health care costs down but many will fear the unknown regardless what is promised.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  11. Joan McIntosh

    Absolutely no to '"opt out". How unfair that policy would be to citizens who need and want the public option but their Republican governor or Republican legislators make the decision to opt out. There would be no equality of health care in this country if the opt out provision is a part of healthcare reform. It would require a new tag, not reform!

    The only people opposing the public option are those individuals who already have health care (some of which we all pay for). Furthermore, they don't give a _________________ about anyone but themselves.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  12. Claire

    Well, this is better than doing nothing. We still have the rest of Obama's term to tweak the laws into something the masses will agree upon. But no matter what, we will be able to use the states that adopt this soon-to-be law as a field test!

    October 27, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  13. Doug

    Would like to see it more robust but will settle for states to opt out. Should start earlier next year and should be expandable to everyone within in that state.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  14. Tim

    The government option is going to cost a lot of money. There will need to be office space purchases, hiring of employees, office equipment, software, etc. The cost will be paid by all tax payers. So why not let another company absorb that cost and use them as a government provider instead of the government doing it themselves. Do we really have all this money to spend after the Tarp, Stimulus Plan, and Omnibus plans have been paid out?

    October 27, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  15. Deb Smith

    with all the coruption in on Capitol Hill and all the fraud and waste already in the health care systems the government already runs, why on earth would anyone want to give them control of universal health care or public option. We have seen this administration fudge the numbers and things aren't adding up......also the majority of people in this country ar satified with their health care, so the question becomes why is the government pushing so hard to change healthcare for the "15%" or so of those that don't have doesn't make sense....somebody is profiting under this new plan on Capitol Hill and that is where we aught to start looking. It's about the power and always has been ! Healthcare is just the word they are using to get it......America wake up......if you have a family of 5 and only 1 person is allowed to speak and make doesn't make for a very happy family....that's what this administration has done. They have shut half of America out of concideration by using their Chicago style of politics....change is a coming and it will be in the next election....we need checks and balances so there is justice for all!

    October 27, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  16. Thomas G spencer

    Heidi, states should NOT be allowed to opt out of the public health care option. This is like cold weak beer to someone who likes warm strong German brew. If 55 other countries can find some way to provide universal health care so should we. We can't because of entrenched financial interests in our political system. Ultimately, it's unconscionable and just plane unethical to make a profit on people's illness. Just as the population as a whole needs water, gas, telephone and electricity services, we also universally need health care. So at a minimum, health insurance companies should be regulated as any other public utility.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  17. Tony

    Socialism is not Anti-American it's progress. For too long the profit motive has driven so many things good and decent out of the reach of the majority of the middle class in this country. It's time for someone to reverse that trend. The unabated capitalism and unchecked greed of the past 2 decades needs to come to a close.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  18. David Rhinehart

    Opposing (forced) competition in health care is like wishing that there was just one energy company so that we could all watch gas prices shoot past $5 a gallon and never stop rising. Insurance companies will never, ever, ever lower their prices. Greed in corporate America won't allow it. For profit insurance companies deny payments to doctors, hospitals and customers because their focus is not on serving their customers but on enriching themselves. Public Option is the ONLY option because we've tried co-ops (think the Blues) and they didn't introduce competition or improve customer care.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  19. Montoya

    I don't believe it. Most of the state politicians are in bed with insurance, making tons of money on the side. If you're letting the states decid, how is that an option for Americans as a whole. Basically you're asking the states if they would like to give up their back door money. Would you give up yours if given an option? I think not... Take it out of the states hands and let the people who may need it decide if it's right for them.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  20. Mike, Just Mike

    I think the opt-out option is a clear acknowledgement that the health care plan is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The Congress has no Constitutional authority to impose this plan on the states. Making it an option, gives him an out and lets Obama save face.

    Having a state challenge this law in the Supreme Court on an Article 1, Section 8 and 10th Amendment Arguments would easily get this law overturned, and that would be a huge embarrassment for the Democrats.

    Now if this bill will let the states opt out of the taxes or liabilities generated by this plan...

    October 27, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  21. Yvette Torres

    I have travel around the world and spoke to friends and family who live in England, Canada, Paris and have health care for everyone at no charge.
    They all seem happy with this system, which work for them, and then I have to scratch my head and say why does this not work for us.
    Then I come up with one answer, our people who we elect for government gets a large donation for them to be able to protect these insurance company so they can put the cost on Americans.
    The People of this country needs to look into the backgrounds of all these Senators, Congress, and etc and see who is taking money from what companies and put a stop to it.
    I want health care for all Americans Rich, Middle Class, and Poor. This Country gives billions of dollars to other country for political reasons, and yet we have children going to bed hungry, NO JOBS, and education cost on the rise.
    Health care needs to be pass and pass right now. How many more Americans will get sick, or died because of greed in this country.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  22. Nancy Hamilton

    Health Care Bill

    Regarding the "state's option to opt out of the public option", your
    newscast did not say whether or not the states that choose not to participate would have to pay for the those states that were in the plan. And, would the states not participating, be subject to any of the rules or penalties in the plan.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  23. Shaun

    Medicaid is controlled by the States providing no continuity of care between States.
    This will only perpetuate the lack of fairness between States.
    The persons most in need will be those from States who's existing Medicaid policies provide for the least coverage. These will be the States that opt out.
    Why should an American in one State have to suffer and die, while another citizen, in a different State, with the exact same situation be able to live?
    Isn't it just that simple?
    What happened to UNITED

    October 27, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  24. Ilse Mann

    I think that including the public option in the health care reform is wonderful and necessary! I don't understand the need for a state's right to opt out; which state does not have low income or underemployed people who could benefit from a pubic option? People who don't want it, don't have to choose it; those who need it would have the choice. Letting a governor or legislature deny a choice is unconscionable. Would this not give incentive to the needy in one state to move to another for what should be a national right? I will be going on medicare next year, so this doesn't affect me personally as much as it will affect fellow citizens.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  25. Marcus Brewer

    Senator Reid's proposal to allow states to opt out of a public insurance option is another cop-out by our do-nothing, take-the-money-and-let'em-eat-cake, Congress. There's no such thing as a 'public' option if the public never gets a chance to use it because their state government rejected it. Senator Reid's proposal is more smoke and mirrors from our over-paid 'representatives' - people who are actually the operatives of the very companies they're supposed to regulate. Is it any wonder why people hate the government?

    October 27, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  26. Connie Rosskamp

    No state should be allowed to opt out of the public option. Harry Reed and his cohorts should be run out of office for putting such a stipulation in this bill. Millions of people will still be in the dire straits that they are in now.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  27. Jim

    The public option should be available to everyone insured or not. There should be no trigger and no state opt out. Each individual should decide for themselves if they want to opt in.

    No matter who helps you pay, the cost is on the American people. If you are very wealthy a social plan like insurance or a government plan may not be your choice.

    If you cannot afford to pay all medical costs your self most of us will have to share the cost between the well and those needing medical care. Insurance companies are ripping us off. If your employer cannot help you pay for insurance how can an employee afford it themselves with no group discounts? The government option will be less expensive as Medicare and Veterans health care programs are.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  28. Jamie Hagedorn

    It's a terrible idea to have state "opt-out" provision for the public option. I don't like the idea that the citizens of some states will have access to a program that could be denied to citizens of other states, for reasons that will have everything to do with politics and nothing to do with public health. I live in Maine, which has more restrictive insurance regulations than many other states, with the result that we have very few insurance choices already. Two companies handle the vast majority of Mainers' health insurance. With a patchwork of states "opting in" and "opting out" of a competitive public option, the insurance industry will be further motivated to pick and choose which states they will serve.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  29. Linda

    Everyone has a right to healthcare. However, people with health insurance should not have to pay for the healthcare of people who choose not purchase health insurance. The only way that can be achieved is if everyone has health insurance at an affordable price. A public option accomplishes that. If states can opt out of having the public option, I hope the people opt to no longer have those state officials as their representatives. Politicians beware: play politics with our health at your own peril.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  30. Tim

    The government option is going to cost a lot of money. There will need to be office space purchases, hiring of employees, office equipment, software, etc. The cost will be paid by all tax payers. So why not let another company absorb that cost and use them as a government provider instead of the government doing it themselves. Do we really have all this money to spend after the Tarp, Stimulus Plan, and Omnibus plans have been paid out? How much more debt do we want to add to our kids' futures? There has to be a better way to get healthcare for all americans without a public option.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  31. Mike, Just Mike

    Those of you who think that opt-out is a bad idea and shouldn't be allowed, should study up on the Constitution and try to understand how the Founders Fathers structured the Federal Government.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  32. frieda krpan-brandes

    Health care is a right, not anything else, for each and every woman, man and child. Rich or poor. Young and Old. It boggles the mind when the insurance companies spend hundreds of millions ( CNN's own reporting) of dollars lobbying Capitol Hill to do away with Public Health Care. This is not about politics, or what is right/what is wrong. Not about Red or Blue. Not about Democrat or Republican. Its all about MONEY. It should be about what is right and what is wrong.
    What is right is: Give everyone healthcare. What is wrong: Don`t let everyone have health care. Pretty simple eh???

    October 27, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  33. Cathy Hartgraves

    I am uninsurable... so I am wondering if anyone has investigated this situation – people who are eligible and desperate for a public option moving to a state that elects the public option. Would the fear of this movement stop some states from electing the public option? What would the impact of this grouping of disabled, uninsurable population do to a state's economy? Decision making based on economics would be wrong. Decisions instead should be based on doing what is needed for the state's current population base.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  34. Alan Klopman

    It isn't about "liberal" or "conservative" viewpoints, it is about public need. This country has almost 50 million people who do not have health insurance because they cannot afford it. The truth is that the United States is the only civilized democracy on earth that does not have government controled healthcare services. If you asked people from Canada, France, England, Argentina, etc. etc. as to whether they liked their country's system, you would discover the great majority are very happy. In this country, it is all about money and greed. The insurance companies make huge profits, unfettered by the government controls, at the cost of thousands dying in the United States because they have no preventative care, and serious illnesses are not diagnosed until too late. Ask a person who gets their health insurance from their employer if they want a government option, and they will say no... until they lose their job or change jobs, then they sing a different tune. It's time we, as Americans start caring about each other and not just about ourselves. We ship billions to countries who hate us, yet we let our own people go without reasonable health care because it might cost a few dollars... insane.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  35. Katherine Crawford

    I much prefer having triggers for insurance companies that would force the public option, with features that force all insurance companies to insure the uninsurable and major help for those of us who simply can not afford any heath insurance at all. Allowing states to opt out of the public option would make coverage irregularfrom one state to another and not help those who are uninsured or uninsurable.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  36. JC

    I keep hearing these stories about the insurance companies but, my mother cant even find doctors in her area that take medicaid or medicare. They just don't want to deal with the red tape and cost of medicaid or medicare.

    I can't believe that we what to continue the road to making more wale-fare states this should not be the option. Why would we want to continue with a system that provides poor service. Lets reform the medical insurance. Lets not hold the small enterprising companies with fines or taxes and let insurance companies cross state lines. This way theirs not just one company offering Insurance in that state or area its like the Ma bells and the cable companies... and banks lets break up the monopolies!

    October 27, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  37. Herb Herpolsheimer

    OK, so they came out from behind closed doors and announce the Public Option plan. They have shaved many objectionable things from the slimmed down plan they are sending to the Congressional Budget Office for cost estimates.

    Sen. Reid mentioned in passing that "other bills" would also be sent to the CBO for cost estimates. I'm pretty sure these are "spin-offs" and will be funded in addition to the the original.

    It's still about the cost of this thing that worries me. We, our children and our grandchildren can't afford it.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  38. Mike, Just Mike

    30 years ago the health care system seemed to run just fine.

    Then the government starting getting involved...

    Now they want to save us from the problems they created.

    It just seems odd to me how people in this country have been getting health care for 230 years and its only been the last 20 years of so that we've had a problem.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  39. CoolGayDad

    Of course we need a public option. It is the only way that low-income workers, temporary and contract workers, and those who work for Republican small business owners will ever get healthcare. Otherwise they will just be penalized each year by the government. When you are faced with the choice of paying the rent or paying for private coverage which costs as much as your'll take the penalty everytime and go without healthcare.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  40. KOGS

    If my state decides to Opt out that means I will still be left with no insurance. What good does that do for the uninsured?

    October 27, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  41. Carol Pohorenec

    I would really not be for giving states the choice to option out of the Public Option. You can bet Republican states, like Texas, would opt out hurting many people who need insurance.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  42. mary

    States should only be allowed to opt out if they have an alternative for the uninsured.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  43. Charles

    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO to States having a say in the public option.

    In Texas, our Governor and Senators care more about being mavericks and thumbing their nose at the President than helping their constituents. I am certain that Rick Perry would opt out, while his people are out of work and healthcare. I am a small business owner (2 employees) and we pay almost $700 a month. We can't afford this!

    October 27, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  44. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    All the money that the insurance companies are stuffing into the pockets of our elected officials is now paying off. If this bill passes without a public option I would bet a years salary that the cost of health insurance will jump by twenty to thirty percent for everyone. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE LOSE AGAIN AND THE INSURANCE COMPANIES GET FAT AND RICH AS DOES OUR CONGRESSMAN, WHAT A DAMN SHAME

    October 27, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  45. bruce curry

    the states can opt out but the people cant. they will still pay the taxes for it.. think of it this way. government requires everyone to buy a new computer and will charge 100 a month for a year in extra taxes. you can opt out of the comuter but you are still paying for it. ...bruce

    October 27, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  46. Terry

    Public option for ALL. No opt out for States. That would just be another way for the Healthcare industry to pay States to opt out, leaving thousands w/o good healthcare. We all already know that State officials are corruptible.Public Option for any American who wants it.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  47. Dennis Nigrelli

    I believe that it's time for something different . Its obvious that what we have now leaves us at the mercy of greed driven Executives. A public optoion can hitchike on the tail of medicare , medicaid or the Va. This may keep the Insurance company execs and with some sort of Tort reform the Lawyers at Bay.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  48. David

    I do not think States should have the option. Here in Virginia the two candidates say they would opt out. Well that good for them-they have paid heathcare,. What about us who don't? I may not vote next week as I do not want either for Governor. They are looking out for their lobbyists/insurance friends instead of the people of Virginia like me who needs this option. Where is the government of the people? There is none-we have the government of the special interests-both here in Virginia and there in Washington.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  49. Ned


    How does allowing states to opt-out on the public option insure that all people get health care as promised by Obama? I thought the whole idea was to provide health coverage to all US Citizens? I think that our representatives are just trying to get SOMETHING thru the system. You would think that after all this time (decades) talking about health care that our elected officials would be closer to a solution.


    October 27, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  50. SamR

    A public option, but better name is citizen option, is an absolute must for those who have no insurance. I have a cadillac plan, so I do not need it, but those who cant afford a regular Healthcare insurance, as most without a great job cant really afford it, it is an absolute must. However the Senate Public (Citizen) Option does not go far enough. It should allow ANYONE to participate, not only those who currently have no insurance. If one has insurance at high prices, he/she should be able to go to the Citizen option, for better competition and better price. That is the American way. Can you imagine if the Govt added a law that says you must buy your groceries at Walmart, or any other grocery store. Obviously this is not their business in buying groceries and it is not their business in buying Healthcare insurance. Their business is to be sure the American public has at their disposal enough competition to keep the prices affordable.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  51. Ruth

    The people of this country WANT A Public Option - what's wrong with the Senators? Whatever it takes, opting out for the States or whatever - let's just get it. Then the individual Senators can be embarrassed in front of their constituents instead of blaming the "government" or the administration. I can't , in my wildest dreams, understand why anyone wouldn't want that choice - GO PUBLIC OPTION.....go, go, go.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  52. Terry

    Public Option for ALL Americans. WE should be able to choose. Opt out for States is just another way for State officials to take payoffs from healthcare industry to opt out and leave us with no choice.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  53. Dave

    I currently pay over $700 per month for my own personal insurance as I am self employed. Every year the premium goes up 10-30% and it is a struggle to keep paying it. Now the long promised national insurance program will not really be what it was proposed to be, but a plan that let's state's opt out. This will be another ill thought program and the American public will again get screwed. Maybe single terms that are longer for the Senate and Congress are what is needed so that these so called Stewards can do what is right and not what it takes to get re-elected.

    Look what happened with Credit Card reform. Their lawyers reviewed it and now they are increasing rates, lowering limits and increasing fees all before the law goes into effect. They will end up making more money, screwing the American Public and the Obama Adminisitration and our elected officials think they did us all a huge favor.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  54. James Brown

    The way this is currently being written is ridiculous. Thee is really NO option if participation is limited. The PO should be open to everybody. The strategy seems to be to limit the PO so that fewer and sicker people can participate making it more expensive, so the detractors can say "see it didn't work".

    BTW it's the Democratic conservatives,not "moderates" that are not on board with healthcare reform. The moderates are those who are supporting this crippled version of what we really should have, single payer. I think CNN is being disingenuous by continually referring to them as the "moderates".

    October 27, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  55. Jim H

    My preference is single payer. True public option is the compromise position. The watered down public options under discussion simply conntinue the pattern of the insurance companies insuring the healthy and throwing the costs of high cost illness and high risk customers on the government. I do not support passing a bill simply because the title says Health Care Reform if it is not genuine and effective reform.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  56. Martin

    Leaving the states to decide on the public option only opens the door for private insurers to corrupt with big money state government .This is especially true in states that have only one or two insurers statewide.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  57. Edward Rudder

    To me it would be useless to allow states to opt out of a public option. Such an option should be totally federal, that means all states must participate. All states should have access to a public option.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  58. CeeCee

    I feel bad for the uninsured in red states whose governors will want to "opt out" for political reasons, but if this is the only way to make a public option available to most Americans, then I favor it–it's better than nothing.

    Another weakness of the plan, though, is restricting the public option to the uninsured . Many people who have insurance on their own or from a small business have, in effect, "junk insurance" and need the public option. Insurance plans provided by large corporations are generally very good, but most others not so much.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  59. Steve

    Heidi – I guarantee you that when the Public Option is available the people in states that voted to opt-out will be clamoring for their state to to override the opt-out vote.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  60. Deb

    Public option ?? I say we should let everyone fend for themselves... Health care should be for profit making, not for helping the uninsured. Why care about anyone else except "number one?"

    October 27, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  61. Tanis

    What if I have insurance through the Public Option and I move to a state that has opted out? Where will I get insurance then? Where will anyone who is "uninsurable" by insurance company standards get health insurance? Will he/she be forced to move to an Option state? And if the Public Option isn't available to employers, won't insurance companies have them over a barrel, just as they now do? Maybe insurors will use the option to "weed out" poor risks (including older people, women, overweight people, etc.) so they can give the "clean" group a better rate and beat out their competition. I think we need a Public Option in ALL states, and people who move should be able to carry it with them. Further, employers should be required to show they have been turned down by 3 insurors (or given unreasonable rates) so they can approach the Public Option for group coverage.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  62. Ruth

    WE, the people, need and want a Public Option. What is wrong with our Senators - when the people want it so bad and they will not let us have it????? This is sick. I am not for opt out, but if that is what happens, then those Senators opposed can face their constituents with a red face in their home states and not be blaming the "government" or the administration. Why is our dear country rotting from within because our elected officials are being paid by the insurance industry or any other industry to go against WE, THE PEOPLE????

    October 27, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  63. Debra K Baylinson

    I think the Tax payer should have the choice to Opt in or Opt out. The Goverment should offer the National Health Care plan in exchange for a single payer Tax. A Tax that is 1/2 the amount of the average cost of Health Insurance. Example: Today's average cost per month, per Dependent is $300.00. Tax the Tax payer who Opts in $150.00 per month. In exchange they get the National Healthcare plan.( Medicare plus 5%).

    October 27, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  64. Ruth

    WE, the people, need and want a Public Option. What is wrong with our Senators - when the people want it so bad and they will not let us have it????? This is sick. I am not for opt out, but if that is what happens, then those Senators opposed can face their constituents with a red face in their home states and not be blaming the "government" or the administration. Why is our dear country rotting from within because our elected officials are being paid by the insurance industry or any other industry to go against WE, THE PEOPLE????

    October 27, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  65. John Fama

    Everyone deserves the right to make a choice in their health care insurance. States should not be given the right to make the choice for them. Congress needs to stop playing politics with our health and welfare and pass a health care reform bill that gives every American a real choice. Democrats must stop worrying about what Republicans want. Republicans do not care about the American people. They only care about American businesses and giving them tax breaks so that they can line their pockets.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  66. Deb

    I think if we give the states the right to opt-out of the public option we would still be in the same place. because the insurance company are going to pay the governors/Manors off so they will not take it and the rest of us will be no better of.

    We need to get ride of the insurance company's and go back to paying the doctors cash for services rendered. anything that helps the insurance industry is not good for us middle or low income households only the rich benefit here.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  67. Ray M. in Florida

    Opt out? Health care is not a game of dodge ball. Under what rule or criteria would states be allowed to opt out? I am sure the reason for opting out would mostly be of a political nature. Why can't the government outright offer health policies directly to the people and let them make their own decision?

    October 27, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  68. ursula from atlanta, ga

    Public option should NOT be able to be opted out by the states. If it is made available to Americans, all who need it should have access to the public option. Period.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  69. Marcus

    I say let the state legislators decide that way it will show that Americans want it when those same lawmakers opt-out and do not get re-elected. This is the same thing that Michigan did with their Medical Marijuana Bill, which proved to be largely popular by the people even though it was a debate for the legislators. The Democrats are playing this the correct way. Make these legislators go against the people so we can get real officials who will be a real part of a representative Democracy like we supposedly have.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  70. frankie

    Yes, only because there might be no other way to get a real public option. States seeing reason, will happen quicker than waiting for insurance companies to shoot themselves in the foot and set off a trigger.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  71. Greg

    If an "Opt Out" is included in the legislation it should be at an individual level. Opt me out please!

    October 27, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  72. Jennifer

    Private insurance company rates will go up across the country when the public option passes. I live in a red state that would undoubtedly decide to opt out of the public option. So, I will still have to have private insurance, but will be paying even more for it. I am a teacher and pay over $800 in insurance a month for my family of 3! That's more than 2 car payments! I would love a public option, but I don't want states to be able to opt- out.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  73. jeanette

    I am so sick, literally, of the discussion of a public option. My husband and I are self employed and for the first time since I was in college WE DO NOT HAVE HEALTH CARE! We live in a very republican state and if the public plan was optional we would still not have health care. We were forced to give up our health care when the recession hit and we are both in our 40's. Why are the self employed completely ignored? It is not affordable now and if we do not have a reasonable public option how will we ever afford it?

    October 27, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  74. Steve Stoddard

    Letting states opt out? That's absurd. Imagine every time a state's leadership and policies change and half the population has to move to get insured. We voted in this government to solve a problem and it appears as though they're poised to make it worse.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  75. William M

    There is already a government run health care. It's paid for by your tax dollars wheather you like or not! Patients get top notch care, and they don't have to wait for a doctor. Where is this you ask.... your Department of Corrections.

    So what gives prisoners the right to health care but only gives me the option. All of those who oppose the public option need to do some research before the form an opinion, and stop listening to biased people like Rush. As it stands right now, prisoners get free government run health care while the law-abiding, tax-paying citizen, who just so happens to work at a fast food resturant as a cashier gets nothing! Think about it.

    Somebody in America right now is on death row and getting free health care. But if you get sick you have to decide on wheather you want to live or pay your mortgage! That just isn't right! 🙁

    October 27, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  76. Bob

    Queston: why should we believe the government can run this new program correctly? Examine Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, SS, Amtrack...

    October 27, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  77. Don Bishop

    From what I see from the polls, the people appear to support the public option by a wide margin. If letting the states decide to either opt in or opt out means that a referendum will be left to the people to decide, then I support it. But if the governor and or legislature is to decide, then no.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  78. Brian

    Of course the States should be allowed to "opt out". The Federal Government shouldn't be allowed to dictate what the States must do. We should be limiting the Federal Governments powers, not expanding them. P.S. Where are people getting the idea that publicly funded health care is a "right"? I don't remember that being in the constitution or bill of rights.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  79. Carolyn S. Hardy

    The Governor of Texas (Rick Perry) turned down incentive money. Does anyone really think I want him to decide on my right to select public option if I so desire? ? ? The answer is NO ! ! ! ! ! I don't want him deciding anything for me ! ! !

    October 27, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  80. Dr. John

    I am an ER physician seeing rural patients in Midwest. A significant portion of the patients I see are here as a "last resort". They cannot see a private-clinic physician as they lack health insurance. Many have simply run out of their sustaining medications for diabetes, heart disease,asthsma etc. If they could retain a physician who would keep them current on their prescription, they would not have to use the most expensive "office call"-ER. Others simply have a non-emergency condition such as upper respiratory infections that could easily be treated at a clinic. By instituting the public-option, the total amount of money spent on healthcare could be reduced by avoiding the ER and getting their medications to prevent "disasters".

    October 27, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  81. Jane Wilson

    I think the PEOPLE should decise for themselves!!! Why do we now need for each State to decide whether an option should be available for us? The whole thing is simply a play on words.... The States will have the option to opt out of giving the citizens the option to opt in or out for themselves. This whole thing is ridiculous. Why can't the option simply be available for each person to decide for themselves? If you don't want it then opt not to use it. But to let my state make that decision for me is what the conservatives always complain about... GOVERNMENT INTERFERING IN MY LIFE. How ironic that the Republicans oppose this concept.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  82. frankie

    Yes, this might be the only way to get to a public option.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  83. maurice from north carolina

    who care about health care reform and a public option lets call out those senate republicans that keep blocking the unemployment extension bill yet to pass in the senate but was voted on in the house a month those who worry about healthcarte now,forget that those with out incomes jobs or an extension of unemployment wont be able to afford healthcare seems that congress always puts the carriage ahead of the horse and tries to score political points..lets put senate republicans on blast let the amercan people kno who'ssssssss for them instead of worring about some stupid launch of a dummie rocket..oh by the way did u kno it costed 448 million to test launch that crap,,,448 million for a test where are our priorities.....people

    October 27, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  84. j. polachek

    insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a differant outcome. the public option has been tried in a half dozen states already and it nearly bankrupted all of them. overseas germany has the same problem they slowly privitizing their insurance industry.our we insane?

    October 27, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  85. Deb

    I lost my health care two days ago because the premiums went up on my husband insurance and we can not afford to pay 300 dollars a paycheck . So now I am uninsured and uninsurable. I think we need to stop letting the insurance industries run our health care stop them from
    paying off the Governor /mayors etc.

    I think if the officials take bribes to do what the insurance industries wants they should be fired because they are no longer working for us. I do not want a congress man that is working for the rich industries instead of the people of the country he has been hired to represent. I also think a public option is just another way for the insurance companies to be able to pay off heads of states to opt out. Where will it end if this is where we are then the insurance companies are our government and we are all slave.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  86. darell wall sr

    polls and opinions mean little for average Americans. However, if you are to have a Public Option it should be for all states. Even though it is a ploy to get Republicans aboard to vote for the Health Care Bill. No bill should be passed until the fraud is addressed in advance to see the real savings, then we can change health care correctly.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  87. Greg Bounds

    I'm sick of the lies and distortions about the much needed health care reform that is finally being considered. The opposition, led by the greedy insurance companies, I'm sure, are fond of scaring the public with statements such as that they 'don't want the government controlling the health of their loved ones.' Yet their grandma and grandpa are probably pulling out their Medicare card even today. Or their cousin is benefitting from Medicaid coverage for their breast cancer treatment. Hmmm!!! Medicare and Medicaid....two very effective health care programs that are run by the government. If they really believe their own lies, then why aren't they arguing for the dissoluation of Medicare and Medicaid. I argue that these programs should be expanded to cover everyone in America.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  88. paul maslow

    "Opt out" of what? Can I opt out of the fine? The plan? Can I opt out of the tax that will be leveled on my current health insurance? What good is a poll if the cunsumer is not informed about what their being polled on...

    October 27, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  89. Rich

    As Utah will likely opt out means my support for a Democratic healthcare bill will be waisted. The Democrats have one shot at getting this right, and letting the states opt out is simply buckling when they should unite and serve the majority who want a public option!

    October 27, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  90. Jane Wilson

    For those worried about the cost to our children will pay for the expenses of healthcare reform, I say this: If you die early because you can't afford the costs of battling cancer (when you find out your carrier won't pay) then you wont get to see your grandchidren anyway

    October 27, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  91. David Ellis

    There is one saying I believe fits this Public Option opt out clause." All for one and One for all"

    October 27, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  92. Reuben

    This is a national issue. Our soldiers who are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq aren't serving in the United STATE Army of Maine or Nevada; they serve and die for the United STATES Army – ALL 50 STATES. And that's how many states must have the public option for health care. All 50 states have people who need and can't afford to pay for that health care. They're losing their homes and their lives over this fact. Can't Harry Reed and Olivia Snowe and the other members of Congress see that! WE NEED THE PUBLIC OPTION!

    October 27, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  93. Rich

    As Utah will likely opt out means my support for a Democratic healthcare bill will be waisted. The Democrats have one shot at getting this right, and letting the states opt out is simply buckeling when they should unite and serve the majority who want a public option!

    October 27, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  94. Marlene Rink

    Harry reid says a Public Option will create competition, and therefore lower costs. Congress should take care of removing the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies. THAT will create competition.

    Congress needs to get the insurance companies out of their beds! The law saying we all are required to have auto insurance and home insurance has enriched the insurance companies.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  95. Ralph

    State to opt out? No! No! No! I do not think this will be a good idea at all! Please, do not give room for any state to opt out. Government is suppose to be for the people and not for some. Therefore, "Public Option" should be for all! If not, then, we would ask for state to opt out sending their young loved ones to fight wars.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  96. Patrick

    Dear Heidi
    Your reporter told us about waste in health care.she failed to mention the fraud and waste thaat exists in our medicare,medicaid,social security and so many other government programs.For the congress to tell us they will investigate there things after the health bill is passed is an insult to all americans.And by the way have you ever heard the words "Ear Marks".???

    October 27, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  97. Carolyn

    The governor of Texas, Rick Perry, turned down incentive money. Does anyone really think I want him deciding whether I should have a public option? The answer is NO ! ! ! ! !

    October 27, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  98. Joe Torres

    In my state I already cannot get health insurance at any price. I am sure that this would continue in Georgia with the state opt out. Where does this leave me? I have to pay 3 times what insurance companys pay for the same care being uninsurable.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  99. maurice from north carolina

    senator republicans dont care about middle class that...they keep on blocking the unemployment bill to add stupid admendments that have no connections with unemployment how are the unemployed gonna take advantage of home owners tax credit how is cuttin fundin for acorn gonna help the unemployed u guys dont get it..we have millions to spend on test launches of a stupid rocket and that get top news coverage but calling those senate republicans that continue to stiff americans doesnt get covered...hmmmmmmm i smell some crap

    October 27, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  100. Muffet Jones

    This is so disappointing! It means that all of the poor people who are unlucky enough to live in a Red State will continue to suffer while those in Blue States will have healthcare. As an insuranceless Blue Girl who just moved to a Red State to be near family after 20 years, I'm disgusted with the way this has been handled. I expected better of a Democratic Congress.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  101. Dian G

    My two selfish Senators in Phoenix Arizona (McCain and Kyle) will block all Arizona residents from benefiting from an affordable public option. These two Men almost always vote "NO" on most issues helping the people, environment and animals. Now I must find a way to move to a more compassionate state. I am very disappointed that power will be given to states to opt out...this is horrible news.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  102. paul maslow

    "Opt out" of what? Can I opt out of the fine? The plan? Can I opt out of the tax that will be leveled on my current health insurance? What good is a poll if the cunsumer is not informed about what their being polled on...

    October 27, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  103. Michele

    I don't understand how letting states opt out helps anyone. Are we not dealing with states that have only one or two insurance carriers covering most of the population, driving up the costs and limiting coverage? These same states could effectively opt out of covering their needy. We need a public option and must have a system that truly allows for us to shop across state lines for coverage. Currently, we have the insurance companies standing between the doctor and the patient...If they deny coverage that's it. Costs are rising...our coverage for 2010 will be 45% higher than the cost of coverage in 2009 and that's with the same company/policy and with an increase in deductible. How can we continue to afford these price increases?

    October 27, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  104. David Ellis

    There is one saying I believe fits this Public Option opt out clause." All for one and One for all"

    October 27, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  105. William M

    Think about it. If there weren't a Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target would raise their prices. But K-Mart and Target are still in business.

    You are driving down the street and you realize that you need gas. You see 2 stations where the prices are high, you see another that has a price that you like. You obviously go to the cheaper gas station.

    The same is true with your auto insurance, cell phone carrier, etc. the cheaper company with the best incentives gets your business. The expensive companies will have to lower their prices and raise incentives to compete. The same will be true for health care companies; who are profiting by denying payment for much needed procedures. Surely you remember what happened to victims of Hurricane Katrina, how their incurance companies found a loop hole not to pay. That's what's happening to health care.

    I hope people are at leat a little brighter about this public option.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  106. Colin Buckingham

    The "Opt-out" State option is really a Federal "Opt-out". It is the Federal government opting out of their obligation to make sure that everyone has access to healthcare. Why not do what many civilized countries do on such an important subject – hold a national referendum. It takes it out of the grips of the politicians and lobbyists.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  107. Doug Couch

    This compromise is not an option. A state may or may not have a public option. If it has a public option, it may decide to eliminate it on any day. Doug in Ohio.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  108. patt lemarie

    NO, states should NOT be allowed to opt out. This is a NO-BRAINER!The whole idea was to make this a NATIONAL product so that EVERYONE could make their CHOICE. That it would be PORTABLE, as people move from state to state.
    that prices and care would be the same from state to state.

    States that have republican govenors will certainly opt out and as that is practically all of the southern states (and the poorest), those states will be in the same boat as before.

    I would like to know what is wrong with the Dems? This is all a waste of time. Just get a bill without all this excess baggage and PASS it with a Dem majority. Forget pleasing the Republicans, they dont want public health care in ANY FORM.

    It should also be implemented within a year, NOT 3 to 7 years that is also ridiculous. If the dems are afraid of losing seats and power if this bill is not popular. They will certainly lose seats if they don't pass a decent health care option that ALL CITIZENS CAN CHOOSE or not.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  109. Josh

    When are people going to learn that healthcare isn't a "right"? Do you have any idea how much it costs to train a doctor, build a hospital, purchase the equipment, buy malpractice insurance, etc? It's not free, not even close. Why do people think they're entitled to these things just because the exist?

    It doesn't matter if there is an opt out, because either way I'm still going to be paying for it. Why are they so concentrated on buying people health insurance, instead of looking for ways to reduce the costs? The problem about spending someone elses money, is that eventually you run out of their money.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  110. Dick Gulbis

    This whole debate is like giving the government a blank check, none of us know how the money will be spent. The government estimates it needs to spend about a trillion dollars to implement the government option, would someone detail how that money will be spent and who will be the recipients?

    October 27, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  111. joe jensen

    Private or Public Insurance ? Have you ever checked your medical bills Heidi ? I would guess not as most young people do not. When you start checking is when you retire or are retired by your employer and it becomes more important to stop the fiscal bleeding. Since going to indiviudally purchased insurance ( after my wife was involuntarily " retired " – and she worked for a Major Healthcare provider ), we began being more careful about what we are charged and what we pay. Know what we found ? Using a private insuror, we have been mis billed, inappropriately billed, illegally billed and in general over billed since last March. NOT ONE BILL HAS BEEN CORRECT, AND NOT ONE BILLING FOR PREMIUM HAS BEEN CORRECT ! 100% !. No wonder our carrier has over 2 million complaints pending at the Texas Department of Insurance – you should do a story on that statistic. You will find intentional acts, unintentional acts and just plain stupid acts being performed by ALL "non public " providers. So, lets give this to the government to handle so those above become more competitive ? I can assure you that they will be even worse, and that State Options will just further confuse those looking for coverage and treatment.

    We all know the money for this government " option " will come from more taxes ( got to balance that money in and money out scale to the physicians and hospitals get their money – Oh, they haven't gotten a bill right since March either, so what does this public option thing do to correct this issue ? ). Bottom line, the medical community needs to take a pay cut. Have to drive Chevrolets vs thier Lexus for a while, or perhaps vacation at home and rent out their ski and beach area condos that I pay for today.

    Got to go, my Social Security check deposti is late and I will have to spend the rest of this morning trying to figure out where it is. Isn't this a public run entity ? Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Can't wait til I am old enough to get into the Medicare program ( assuming it will be around when all of this dust settles ). News media continues to focus on the distribution of the money and not the rising cost. Until this becomes the issue, we are playing into the hands of all of those who make their fortunes managing the money and not the costs..

    October 27, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  112. Josef Andre Jones

    I get the impression that very few people (including many politicians) have an accurate and thorough understanding of the health care reform bills, or even our current system of health care. It's like talking about a book you've never read, or describing a place you've never been but only seen on television or heard someone else describe.

    I hear many opinions stated as facts, especially when it comes to whether the public option is beneficial or harmful. With so many differing views and contradictory information being thrown around, how should the American people develop a solid, informed view of their own?

    Facts should be difficult to dispute or dismiss.

    I believe that the large majority of Americans are intelligent, compassionate, and reasonable, but reading Cliff's Notes does not make you an English Literature MBA.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  113. Gary

    I retired from the DOD and as a federal worker and I know for a fact that the government has a form of the public option. We select from a group of about 8 different insurance companys and the government pays about 3/4% of our premiums. I enjoy my rights of selecting the insurance needs for my family. Its my opinion that the Congress and Senate are in the pockets of the big insurance companies.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  114. Deb

    Opt out of helping those without employer sponsored health insurance get the choice of a public option ??? The health insurance industry sure has a lot of pull. What else is new ???

    October 27, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  115. Mike Tomkinson

    More than a few states have said they would opt-out. If you have an opt-out public option then you might as well not have the option. effective date has to be sooner than 2012. People need it now not later.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  116. Eric

    We need a public option. We DON"T need the states to be able to decide to opt out of a public option; this will give the states power to take away a health-care choice from the people.

    As a self-employed husband and father who has purchased my own health insurance for years, I've seen my premiums increase annually when I'm healthy and have filed NO claims. The current system provides only TWO insurers for me to choose from to cover the doctors and hospitals in my state... this results in price-fixing and price-gouging.

    Reid and the Democrats need to stop worrying about getting "bi-partisan" support; it isn't coming anyway. Even if Snowe decides to go along and vote to support the plan, one Republican isn't really "bi-partisan support" anyway. The voters gave Democrats control of both the House and Senate because we were tired of the way Republicans were running this country into the toilet... we need the Democrats to get this done with the PEOPLE'S best interest in mind.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  117. paul maslow

    Don't feel bad for the people in red states because these states will not opt out if their citizens will still be fined and taxed on their current plan. You should feel bad for 18 percent of the work force that will lose their jobs when HC is government run. They may just land one of the new government jobs. Another job that has to be supported by tax payers...

    October 27, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  118. Jonn McDaniel

    We already have a single-payer "public option"! It's called Medicare. Unfortunately, our government has not managed Medicare properly and it is now bankrupt. Starting a new public option will not solve our problems. Let's fix Medicare and make it what we need in a single payer government public option.

    States should be able to opt out of the public option only if the American public can begin buying health insurance across state lines! We need more freedom in our choices. Health insurance reform must also address tort reform and insurance companies denying coverage.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  119. Sully

    Can you opt out of the increased taxes? Opt out of the increased regulatons? Just open up and let us buy insurance across state lines! This would increase competition and lower prices. The government could subsize coverage for those with proven pre-existing conditions. That is really all we need.
    We should not enact anything that would lead to a public option...friends in England and Canada hate their system! In fact, one of my friends sits on the English health board that makes decisions as to what care is 'cost effective'. Many more die from breast cancer due to delays in diagnosis and treatment, severly premature babies are 'shelved', (too expensive and outcomes are not always the government's opinion) and more. Just this year they decided not to provide pain medicine for people with back pain (too expensive compared to the benefits) and to provide surgery only in one eye, and only after the patient has become legally blind for some eye diseases. If we regulate private insurance companies out of business (or make them compete with subsidized government insurance)we will end up with the government being the only option. There is not enough tax money in the world to pay for this...rationing would be inevitable. England liked their system initially because the remnants of the private system still existed...but as time went on and physicians retired (and technology was too expensive to be updated) rationing began. Why would we think we would be different? It's only a good system if you are perfectly healthy.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  120. Colin Buckingham

    What I don't understand is why wouldn't the GOP want to give us more choice and not less? What are they afraid of? The insurance companies might stop giving them money? If they are all about personal choice then I can always choose to go with my present insurance company or not. What am I missing here?

    October 27, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  121. paul maslow

    You cry for a public option now, but shortly that "option" will be the only game in town. What kind of competition is that?

    How do we go from trying to cover 42 million uninsured to a complete take over of the entire HC system? Why not a government program that provides minimal preventative with catastrophic HC for poor and pre-existing conditions? Much easier approach,..

    October 27, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  122. Colin Buckingham

    This healthcare debate is not about "fixing" healthcare in this country, it is about "changing" it. As someone who has lived in six countries that all have universal healthcare, including a public option, I just cannot understand why this is even a debate. Americans have no idea what they are missing out on by not having it.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  123. paul maslow

    Colin, Lets have a government not for profit ice cream stand in your neighborhood, Do you think the owners trying to make a living in the ice cream stand business could compete? Pay their mortgages? Raise their families? Thats what your missing here...

    October 27, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  124. Jonn McDaniel

    "Fixing" or "changing"–same thing. Americans do have an idea about what we would be missing out on...NOT having the best medical care in the entire world.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  125. paul maslow

    Actually the debate IS about fixing health care in this country when the legislation clearly is about CHANGING it as you post. Thats the nefarious aspect of the whole subject...

    October 27, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  126. Louis S

    The insurance business is based on risk management and probabilistic and statistical analysis.
    When someone says that everyone will be "insurance" or there will not be "pre-existing conditions" that is not insurance since someone is skewing the probability distribution function.
    That public option is in true an entitlement for indigents so why don't they call as it is?

    October 27, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  127. M. Mathews

    Opt-Out, this should not be allowed to happen. We already have a public health option called Medicare. I know, they should all give up Medicare and go to private insurance companies; oops of course if they have a preexisting condition they might not get insurance or the premiums could be so high they can’t afford it; but they would no longer have to whine about taxes being paid for a public health option.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:38 am |

    That each state would decide to have a public health option is really contingent on the method each state uses to make this crucial decision. If, indeed, the matter is put to the voters in the form of a referendum or ballot initiative, then it does make perfect sense. The obvious outcome would be that those most impacted by this law would be the ones to choose. Maggie Mahoney
    Greenville, Maine

    October 27, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  129. Louis S

    They do not even know what an insurance is
    An insurance is a risk mitigation way by which a pool of willing,
    and at that time, healthy people agree to pay a premium so in
    case one of the members get an emergency, the others cover
    the cost of the medical bills.
    When the government says that an insurance (public) will cover
    pre-existing condition (?) that is not an insurance, that is an
    If they want to expand the entitlement policies they are embarked
    now, what they have to do is is to to create another program
    like medicare but for indigent people who otherwise cannot
    afford to pay a regular insurance.
    Since you need to prove that you are indigent, none of the regular
    employed with a private insurance will qualify
    Since you need to be a legal resident non of the illegal immigrants
    will receive coverage.
    Its so simple

    October 27, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  130. Harold

    Is there going to be an opt back in option in the case where the current governor decides to opt out and is subsequently replaced in an election next year? Texans already know Perry will opt out, afterall, he wanted to opt out of the union earlier this year.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  131. we the people?

    Bring on socialized healthcare! Leave the states out of it! Federal gov. needs to step up and make healthcare available to everyone, not just those who can afford it, which is status-quo. Allowing state to opt-out will not acheive our goal. There are people in every state that need this healthcare reform. Should we really trust the states, the people, to think compassionatley? I would not trust my neighbors here in Michigan to make the right decision, not with the wealthy conservatives circulating their propaganda to breed fear in their ignorant minds. Guess what followers, socialized health care works in 45 other coutries! But it does not work for those few who want to keep making a bundle to keep america sick and dependent on their products. Do we want americans healthy or do we want to keep leting the rich get richer while we watch, sick and dieing from the cheering section.

    October 27, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  132. Lisa Rich

    Why isn't this called state opt out instead of public opt out? It gives the impression that individuals can opt out. Congress is just passing the buck to the govenors of each state and leaves the people of each state at their mercy which puts us all back to square one with no health insurance. What a waste of time.

    October 27, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  133. Robert K. Powell

    I actually favor universal healthcare similar to Medicare but I will support a public option with a state opt out if it will help to pass a healthcare bill with a public option.

    October 27, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  134. ken

    opt out means that if you live in a third world southern state or farm belt state you wil not be getting health care because your governor will most likely opt out. It also means all the people from opt out states wil move to more progressive states and put them in bankruptcy. Way to go harry. I wish that the states that will opt out of health care because they don't like government would also opt out of government flood insurance, government farm aid, government disaster loans, FDIC, student loans, FHA loans, food stamps, federal highway loans, medicaid and medicare.
    Premiums will only go up up and away with this health care bill.

    October 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  135. David

    Well clearly if you live in a state that opts out and you want the public option, then you're screwed. Also if a governor opts out then the state legislature will start screaming "the governor has screwed us!" or the governor will declare, "your state congress doesn't care if we don't have access to health care," you can see political battles firing up right now. I have a great deal of respect for senate majority leader Harry Reid, but the opt out notion seems like pure political pressure. Opt in is a touch better, probably there should be different ways to opt in to help states deal with costs. Maybe I need to better understand how Senator Reid's compromise legislation "meld[s]" the two senate committee's work, but at this point that's how it seems to me.

    In any case, it's interesting how the return of the public option ignites the discussion.

    The article you link us to ends with Sen. Reid commenting that he's surprised the public option might frighten Sen Olympia Snowe. Sen. Reid needs to be reminded that she's the only Republican he's got voting with him, she's his hope for bipartisanship. For a bill that's going to affect everyone in the US and 1/6th of the economy, some bipartisanship would be nice.

    I do believe employers should be involved in health insurance. It's a question of responsibility. To hold a job, any full time job, you have to wrap your life around it, and devote yourself to it. There's a high level of committment and your employer should see to it that your are recompensed with thorough health insurance coverage.

    One possible problem with the compromise measure, though it gives to states flexible access to the public option, is that it hands responsibility to the states instead of the Federal govt taking a stand on the question of the public option.

    Out of all of this comes I feel an appreciation for the restrained, meticulous approach of the Senate Finance committee.

    October 27, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  136. rfanda

    My husband and I have been self employed since 1985 and I am a four year breast cancer survivor. We only have hospital surgical coverage private insurance with a $2500 deductible and a $1060 monthly premium, which we can no longer afford. AND we live in Arizona, who will opt out if given the choice and will not opt in if given the choice. Please, NO STATE OPT IN OR OUT!

    October 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  137. mohrfam

    Heidi, I am looking for more information regarding the Medicare fraud you talked about this morning. Can you direct me to where on it is available?

    October 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  138. MR.AL

    Ive found out as of late you can't please Conservative Lawmakers.They are acting like a spoiled child. They don't want Health Care for all. They want the prices to rise! Special intrest don't want change just like Consevative Lawmakers. THEY WANT IT ALL THEIR WAY OR NO WAY AT ALL.

    October 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  139. Sandy

    Public Option being determined by states??? Big mistake, at least in my state...Utah...which is more than Republican...the democrats are like Republicans in every other state! With perks and tax breaks to entice do you not believe big business health insurers can't buy states, especially with the state of the economy right now?! Its naive to think otherwise.

    This is an issue for the Federal be determined and delegated by the Feds to the states was not what was promised...its a cop-out by the Senate. I am a huge fan of President Obama but if this fails to fall to the Feds I believe i will finally be swayed and if I can be swayed, this administration is in trouble. Sen. Hatch-UT is already in the pocket of big health companies and has a huge financial interest in keeping them happy. He is a great judicial mind but regarding healthcare, he has huge self interest.

    Utah is already being bought out by Energy Solutions, Inc. who has its name all over venues and state tourism and all sorts of enticing tidbits.
    Why? They are trying to move nuclear waste to Utah to their facilities...if it weren't for our great watchdog groups they would have succeeded by now and still may. In this flailing economy...states can be bought and big business health insurance companies have the money to lobby and buy. Help us all if this us all.

    October 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  140. steven

    I wish that clowns that call them self represent low class and mid class people stop act like they care knowing that they only care what the rich class say. We need to boy Cox health insurance , and the war I think that they need to stop spend money on a loss cost.

    October 27, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  141. Joe T

    Wow!! Christmas has come early this year. The South will all opt out. It will be mandatory for employees to pay for their health insurance at their rates. Any one gets sick has to go to another State sense they can’t get insurance there. A cheep healthy work force, how profits will soar. They have been trying to achieve this there for years, worst cherry pickers in the US, lowest paying on Medicaid, highest billing on the uninsured, no recourse already. I am sure that they feel this is a gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving. Everyone else pays for their over working employees.

    October 28, 2009 at 12:23 am |
  142. Louis S

    "Public option" is not an insurance therefore cannot compete with regular
    Why is not insurance? very simple, Insurance is based on risk mitigation using statistics to eliminate risk members.
    "Public option" accept anyone even with pre-existing condition so there is not way that they can mitigate the risk, therefore is not insurance but entitlement for indigent.
    Why don't they call it as it is?
    Because they do not want to call indigent to their constituents, and who are they? the illegal immigrant, the marginal unemployed, those who does not want to work and specially the minorities who are expecting another free service from the government.

    October 28, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  143. Vicki Brown

    I don't think individual states should be able to opt out of the public option. They should administer it in their state much like they do disability.

    As for the public option itself, I don't understand why people are so upset about it. It is an "option". I'm sure it will come with restrictions on employers who provide health coverage to their employees. If you are already covered, you should be ineligible for the public option.

    I am appalled by those who are using scare tactics to turn voters away from health care reform. I can only assume that they are a) misinformed, b) have an innate distrust of the federal government, or c) are being funded by insurance companies who are the major cause of the health care disaster.

    October 28, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  144. Tom

    What is the benefit to the residents of a state if they opt out.

    October 28, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  145. Lakeitha Robinson

    I don't think individual states should be able to opt out of the public option.As for the public option itself, I don't understand why people are so upset about it. It is an "option".Public option shoul not be decided by the states. They have been trying to achieve this here for years, worst cherry pickers in the US, lowest paying on Medicaid, highest billing on the uninsured, no recourse already. If it will help pass the healthcare bill then I am all for it but if not then they really need to back off and just leave it alone!!!!!!!

    October 28, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  146. SpringWolf

    The current plans before congress force individuals who can't afford health care to pay a fine if they don't have it. Yet congress is talking about states having an "opt-out" option? Why should the states have the right to opt-out when I don't? Why should I be fined for something I can't afford in the first place?

    HealthCare isn't a "right", it's a moral obligation of the most profitable and successful country in the world. Politicians are great at touting their moral stature, yet they run from the morality of letting 1000s of people die simply because they can't afford to pay the high costs of medical care set by insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and medical industry as a whole.

    Instead, they prefer to raise our taxes, give us nothing in return, and fine us if we don't make a choice to pay for healthcare we can't afford instead of trying to pay our mortgage, put food on the table for our kids, or live a decent life.

    As usual Washington isn't LISTENING!

    October 28, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  147. Sandy

    I'm sorry...doesn't members of Congress, Senate and the Administration have the luxury of Government run healthcare provided to them and their families?....hmmm, don't think I'm wrong on this. I guess as long as they are taken care of, doesn't matter if the rest of us are without healthcare go without. Sure some have opted to supplement ttheir policies with private insurers...but doesn't this sound much like how a public option would work under the current proposal?. Hypocrits! The Senate must be in the pockets of health insurers! Makes me sick...oh, that's right, I don't have insurance or a job so God forbid I get sick. I've had to put off a major procedure that I need because of no insurance and it scares me.

    October 28, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  148. Greg

    The public option is for the public to decide. Its also for the public to decide whether we are going to focus on politics or health care. Up to this point the health care debate has been utterly devoid of the actual topic of health. When are we going to shift attention and highlight ways for Americans to lead healthy, active lifestyles. One photo op of the first lady hula hooping on the south lawn isn't enough.We need the government to make this a top priority.

    October 28, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  149. Ron

    After some thought, I've decided that I can accept the "opt-out" alternative, with one big "if".

    It's my understanding that there are some states in which the health insurance industry is dominated by just one or two companies. These are the states in which the competition provided by a public option is vital. These are the states which MUST accept the public option.

    If the "opt out" proposal stays in the legislation, it must be made available ONLY to those states where competition among insurance companies is already robust.

    October 29, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  150. Tim

    Hi Heidi
    The people in Washington are going to do what ever they want to.I don't see any of them dropping their health care and going to join us in the health care they are working up for us. Why don't they let the people choose the health care they can live with by voting. We vote to have the people in Washington. "NO!! lets don't do that because we haven't did a very good job. Just look what we have in Washington. We did vote a person to lead our country. I think if people in Washington would try to work with him instead of fighting like cats and dogs maybe he might get something done.

    October 29, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  151. Gary Northwest

    This makes no sense at all. They are telling us they spent all those man hours "debating" this issue to come up with this? Sounds like this is a pressure release for the constituents that are sick and tired of the run around and elected officials that don't listen. Many will retire and then it will be someone elses problem.

    October 29, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  152. Jim

    paul maslow, Making money off a necessary public need and service by selling private insurance increases the price for all and leaves many out. Nobody needs to make a living on the backs of people needing health care. Get into another business that gives something in return not take to stuff your pocket. Your example of making Ice cream is not a necessary service and we can do fine with or without any individual manufacturer or vendor as long as they are not allowed to become too big to fail.

    It is as as much a right to be well as be safe. I see no republicans complaining about the cost of the military. The Bush attempt to privatize the military replaced regularly paid soldiers with high priced contractors, no bid contracts, unjustified wars, unneeded and unused weapons systems making defending the country more expensive.

    The rest of the world is correct. We need a single payer system. The government is the people and it does not matter who helps you pay for your health care the people will pay. Being well should not be only for the rich. The government will be able to pay the bill for less and insurance will be unnecessary and that is why the insurance industry and lobby is buying off the government and scaring the people with money the ill need desparately.

    October 29, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  153. Mike

    When Republicans vote NO on the forthcoming Healthcare Bill,(as we all know they will !!) I wonder how many of them will be voting against their own conscience, just "follow the party line" ??

    October 29, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  154. Melanie Wilson

    Yesterday afternoon on CNN News, you aired a response from a viewer who said in essence that even though he was opposed to war, he had no right to say he didn't want to pay for war. In the same way, he surmised, pro-life Americans had no right to say that they didn't want to pay for abortions. That analogy seems like a good one at first glance, until you realize that yes he DOES have a say in not paying for war. He has his say via the Congressmen and women that his vote puts in office and via his feedback to those who serve in Washington. That kind of influence is what our country is founded upon. I will voice my objection to funding government abortions until legislation is enacted that does just that. Then I will continue to object much as I'm sure that viewer continues to do with respect to war.

    October 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  155. Colleen

    NO to a state opt out option. Why not an individual opt out option? What happened to our freedom of choice??? Oh yeah, Congress.

    October 30, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  156. lamawn

    i think they should have won that law suit because they child got hit by that bat and please give a shot out to southside acadamey in baltimore

    October 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  157. Clinton R Bowen

    Good morning : Heidi
    I think health care polices should be uniform nation wide, leaveing how , when or if it is provided to the indivual states would would turn the whole idea of health care reform into a big mess. The Democrats won the election, its about time they act boldly and pass public option health care plan. I for one don,t give a dam what the Republicans think

    November 6, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  158. GK

    "He supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition," Gibbs said.
    Heidi, I think that It was a good idea to lauch the spirit of competition not only in the insurance industry but also among administrative entities leaderships and challenge them. Why? Uninsured are people of a lower or inferior class of rank. So, the process to States to opt out Health Care Reform puts State Authorties into competition depending States' philosophy (Blue or Red). Whether someone is uninsured, living in the State without Health Care Reform and desires HCR public option, he/she will move to the State with HCR. In other word, it is a challenge between leaderships and its subornates.

    November 8, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  159. Steve Algeri

    My biggest recall of the event as I was watching it happen was thinking that at the present time the world seemed at peace for the first time in my lifetime. We weren't involved in any conflicts nor were there any major conflicts in the world at that time.

    November 9, 2009 at 10:04 am |