Obama Administration Officials Soften Stance On Public Plan
Associated Press: "President Barack Obama's administration signaled on Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run health insurance as part of his ambitious health care proposal. Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives ... Obama has been pressing for the government to run a health insurance organization to help cover the nation's almost 50 million uninsured, but Republicans remain steadfast in arguing against it" (Elliott, 8/16).
Wall Street Journal: "Health and Human Services Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Sunday said private insurers would face competition under the Obama administration's health plan, but that an alternative option wouldn't necessarily have to be government run. 'I think what's important is choice and competition, and I'm convinced at the end of the day, the plan will have both of those,' said Ms. Sebelius, speaking Sunday morning on CNN's 'State of the Union.' A federal government-run alternative plan is not the 'essential element'" (Cole, 8/16).
Politico: "On CBS's Face the Nation, (White House Press Secretary Robert) Gibbs was asked if the government option was a deal breaker. He repeated the standard White House line that the president's wants to 'inject some choice competition into the private insurance market.' 'The president has thus far sided with the notion that that can best be done through a public option,' Gibbs said. 'Is that a hedge?' asked host Harry Smith ... 'No, no, no, what I am saying is the bottom line for the president is that we ought to have choice and competition in the insurance market,' Gibbs responded" (8/16).
Sebelius acknowledged that the end-of-life care provisions currently in the House bill may not be in the final bill, according to The Hill: "Speaking on ABC's 'This Morning,' Sebelius invoked her own mother's death as proof of the need for government-funded meetings to help families navigate issues that arise during a terminal illness. 'My own mother spent ten weeks in three different hospitals before she died, and I can tell you it was the most agonizing, most painful, most terrible time for not only me and my siblings but for my dad,' Sebelius said. Sebelius called criticism of end-of-life consultation funding 'horrific,' but acknowledged it is 'probably off the table'" (Rushing, 8/16).