August 18th, 2009
12:09 PM ET
5 years ago

Sebelius reiterates support for public health option

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama administration is not backing away from its support for a public option as part of health-care reform, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stressed Tuesday.

"Here's the bottom line: Absolutely nothing has changed," Sebelius said.

"We continue to support the public option. That will help lower costs, give American consumers more choice and keep private insurers honest. If people have other ideas about how to accomplish these goals, we'll look at those, too. But the public option is a very good way to do this."

She made her remarks during an address at a Medicare conference.

Sebelius caused an uproar Sunday when she said on CNN's "State of the Union With John King" that a public insurance plan is "not the essential element" of health-care reform.

The move appeared to be a concession to critics, particularly Republican lawmakers who have assailed the idea of the government playing that kind of role. It stirred up enormous frustration, however, from those on the left who believe a public option is critical.

"All I can tell you is that Sunday must have been a very slow news day," Sebelius told the conference attendees.


Filed under: Health care • Kathleen Sebelius
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Donna

    Democrats!! Get it together! What did the Republicans EVER do to help the vast majority of the American people??? Who among us wouold scrap Medicare/ Social Security? Both are government run and for the good of all! Start thinking like the Party of the People!!! WE MUST take care of our citizens....it's a moral issue!

    August 18, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Billy J Texas

    Companies can't afford the current health insurance for their employees. What do you free market wipes propose we do?

    August 18, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. do the right thing

    Come on Democrats...you know its the right thing to do. Rebublicans and the pocket lining health insurance czars were licking their chops at the thought of eliminating Public Option. This is a chess game and Obama is a master of the game in dealing with the thugs on the right!
    Don't count him out and never underestimate his ability. I do believe that he has the interest of the American people at heart. If they could look past the hue of his skin and throw the slobs under the bus who are always scheming, we as Americans can work together and get a lot of positive things done.

    August 18, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. yuri

    Hey Sebelius, watch for the Blue Dog Dems and radical right wing repubs. who can torpedo the process just like that, before you say Jack Robbins!

    August 18, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. T'SAH from Virginia

    If PUBLIC OPTION is available and I chose to switch from my current provider to a PUBLIC OPTION – I would give myself a HUGE salary raise and see MORE money in my paycheck – that should stimulate the ECONOMY!!!

    August 18, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Nurselady

    Every voter who elected this President needs to be certain to go to the polls in their districts on election days to vote out the "Blue Dogs" and the "Republicans who are standing in the way of the American people who elected this President, in part, BECAUSE he promised a public option for The People. Who are they representing? The insurance companies? This is shameful!

    "Blue Dogs" and others, GET OUT OF OUR PRESIDENT'S WAY! He is doing what the majority of people in this country WANT him to do.

    If this continues, I would urge a recall of each and every person in congress just as we did here in California with one of our governors not so long ago. It can be done. It is work. But, it is worth it for something this important - for stepping on the will of The People as they are doing.

    August 18, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Hotdog

    I am a Democrat but I am getting sick of the Demorats that are in the House of Representatives and the Senate. First of all, the President rushed into this health care reform. I can not understand the reason for the rush to take on some thing this enormous. By now he should know that the Republicans are not going to work with him on any issue. He should have submitted his own proposal to both houses and allow the legislative process to take its course. By accepting any thing less than the public option is no good.

    August 18, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. Belle Perimetre

    The public option will lower costs by taxing us to pay for it, being a lower up-front cost will kill private insurers without doubt. Will give total control to the government to withhold anything someone up there in DC thinks is necessary to keep costs down, like euthanasia and forced abortions. Don't be fooled. I would also imagine much frankenstein-type surgeries will be performed. Sounds more and more like the Germans under Hitler.

    August 18, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. Chris

    OKAY TO THE PRESIDENT AND CREW....STAY ON MESSAGE!!!! Good grief all these mixed messages!!!
    Mr. President this is looking like some Obama drama and we all know you will not stand for any of that mess!!!

    Get it together folks!!!

    August 18, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. wait a minute

    The public option is the best way to save money and cover us all.
    Those that are shouting for choices and fake competitions have no idea how some people suffer from big medical bills. Do not think you are fully covered till you are on your hospital bed. You may be IT tomorrow.

    August 18, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. When push comes to shove.....Dems will vote for Dem bills before a Refiblican one...........

    This is all "grumbling" and "posturing". The bottom line is; America is sick and tired of private health Insurance policies ran by Investors, Boards and committees, and Lobbyists who always unite to monopolize rising premuims and exclusions of policy from pre existing conditions. The business of selling policies.....but not paying for them.............

    August 18, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. D. A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA

    President Obama, the Constitutional Law Professor-in-Chief, should admonish both Houses of Congress for failing to do their job as outlined in Article I Section Eight of the Constitution of the USA.

    Article I, Section Eight, Clause One tells Congress to:

    Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."

    Congress is not doing their job and are in contempt of the Constitution of the USA.

    August 18, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. smokey

    Okay, IMPORTANT...This is a prime example of what I am talking about..Not only does Pres Obama have to deal with all the mis-information the GOP is putting out there, but he also has to deal with members of his own party giving the media mis-information..Part of the problem to me, is that everyone ( meaning some Dems) want folks to think they are the ones in control of this issue, when really Pres Obama is..They want to put their own spin on things..Chalk it up to in-experience with the media, but even I saw John King trying ever so hard to bait Sebelious last weekend re the public option..Lets just have ONE VOICE when is comes to giving the public information from the WH..Everyone should be on the same page, and this would cut down on all the confusion and maybe anxiety people are feeling..This is TOO IMPORTANT TO MESS UP !! we are so close..So lets get in together and like Pres Obama said " lets get to work " for the American people..

    August 18, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. Stuffit

    The Dems have the votes and Obama will sign anything that crosses his desk if the title looks good. They aren't doing it because the plan sucks, 1,067 pages ... and counting! It would be political suicide for them and they know it. They want Republicans on board so they have some "bi-partisan cover" but it isn't going to work.

    Most of them haven't read it, those that have don't really understand it. Imagine what sort of nightmare that will cause when it comes to implementing this monstrosity.

    The implementation is a far larger task than writing the legislation. Imagine that you're writing a screenplay of War and Peace but instead of condensing it to feature movie length, you have to expand it to fully develop every character and their family, friends and close associates.

    The bill needs to have about 1,060 fewer pages, then it might have a chance and garner more support from both sides of the aisle.

    August 18, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. wait a minute

    What can be wrong to have too many choices?
    It goes back to the fundamental theory of insurance risk.

    If the insured pool is too small due to many choices, none will succeed. Let's use the bionomial probability distribution, in which p, the probability of a person getting sick, becomes too large when the pool size is too small. You can look up for binomial distribution online.

    The public plan is the sure thing to work for a large country like USA.

    August 18, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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