Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kathleen Sebelius Changes Her Tune On The Public Option

In a visit to the Ohio State University Medical Center today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reasserted the Obama Administration's strong support for government-run insurance as part of a new health-care system.

Although she did not rule out a compromise that excludes a public insurance option, Sebelius today avoided repeating her comment on CNN Sunday that a government-run alternative to private insurance is "not the essential element" of the administration's health reform effort.

Speaking to reporters after viewing examples of Ohio State's leadership in the use of electronic medical records, Sebelius said incorporating a public insurance option into health-care reform remains President Barack Obama's goal.

"There's no question the president believes and I believe that the best way to make sure that we have choices for consumers and cost competition for the private industry is with a public option and a new marketplace," Sebelius said. "He continues to say that, I'll continue to say that."

Sebelius acknowledged "other ideas" about creating competition and lowering costs for health insurance, but pointedly said that four committees that helped draft health care reform legislation in the Democratic-controlled House have "made very clear" that a public option "is an essential component of the plan."

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