Home Focus | Kaine offers advice to McDonnell on health care

Focus | Kaine offers advice to McDonnell on health care


Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell doesn’t think health-care reform with a public option is going to be “something that is going to help us in Virginia.” His predecessor recommends that he wait until Congress makes its final call on reform before painting himself into a corner.

“What I would say – he’s going to make his own decisions – I think he should see the final bill before he makes his decision,” Gov. Tim Kaine told reporters after an event in Harrisonburg Monday afternoon. “Because to say in advance, I’m going to opt out regardless – nobody would say that Medicare, for example, nobody would opt out of Medicare, which is a public option, a public product that serves our seniors, nobody would choose to opt out of the VA system, a public service that serves our veterans.

“To say, even before I see the final bill, I’m going to opt out of a product that might help over a million Virginians who are uninsured, and that might have some significant benefit even for insured Virginians, I think he should just wait and see,” Kaine said.


Tim Kaine on health-care reform


McDonnell talked about the reform package passed by the House of Representatives over the weekend that includes a public-insurance option in addition to reforms of the existing health-insurance industry on “State of the Union with John King” on CNN on Sunday morning.

“I think there’s legitimate issues of cost and access that have got to be addressed at the state and the federal level,” McDonnell said. “My concern is just from hearing from Virginians over the last couple of months is the increase in cost, less choices, perhaps longer waiting lines, and more government control. Families and businesses in Virginia told me they’re very concerned about those, taking money from Medicare, maybe $400 billion. So I need to digest what happened last night. I only saw a little bit of the debate. But the public option does not seem to be something that is going to help us in Virginia.”

Later, McDonnell said of reform: “My preference would be not to have Virginia participate, from what I know this plan contains. However they structure it, if it gives flexibility to states, I think that’s a good thing. We’ve outlined a number of things I think we can do at our state level, John, that will help our people have more access at a lower cost, but I’m very concerned about turning this significant section of the American economy over to the federal government.”


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Kaine’s response: “I think this is going to be one of the biggest steps forward domestically that the country will have taken in the last 40 to 50 years. So before people paint themselves in a corner, I think they should wait and see what it offers. Because at the end of the day, it shouldn’t be, What I think of Washington. It should be, I should listen to Virginians, and assess the health-care needs of Virginians, and I should do what’s best for Virginians.

“I think if you focus on Virginians, it may well be when this thing passes that people will realize that’s exactly what we need here,” Kaine said. 


– Story and Video by Chris Graham




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