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. Peggy - TX

    Kathleen Sebelius still has a little credibility; otherwise, right now, I am embarrassed to be a Democrat I do not want to be associated with these wimps, looking scared and backtracking on this very important bill while having the majority in the house and Congress.

    The Republicans have successfully conjured up a tiny-little bit of opposition by calling the Dems a few bad names, getting grandma and grand-pa all upset with a few outrageous lies and the Dems just cave, which is just energizing the Republicans.

    When will the Dems learn that such theatrics by the Republicans is just fluff that would quickly dissipate if they just stood firm and took control of the message.

    August 18, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. mjm

    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.

    I don't know if this caused any uproar, but there seems to be an uproar against the public option.

    For a second there, I though Obama had gotten the message that the American people do not want more "public options" from the government.

    Not so much

    August 18, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Doug, New Jersey

    Can any lib tells us how it would have been beneficial for the American people if the Democrats were able to sneak the passage of the house bill before recess without giving the American public the chance to read and debate the bill?

    The facts show that the Democrats do not care what is best for this country, they want total socialistic control of the public, taking away our rights, freedom, wealth and health.

    If we give the libs at the ticker the benefit of the doubt and pretend that they actually think rather than just regurgitate Obamanation taking points, then they must think that they will get a special ACORN cut the line card, so that they get health care first, as the rest of America sits and waits in lines at hospiitals and Doctors offices that look exactly like the bread lines in the former USSR.

    August 18, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. didi

    Kathleen Sabelius, public option is a must in health care reform...stay together with all democrats...don't confuse, saying blue dog dems, blue cat dems...they are all democrats...ok..pass this needed legislation with public option...America needs health care reform with public option...these doctors from India are robbing the nation, wake up.....cut the immigration too....America wake up....

    August 18, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Wake Up

    What a mess of an administration. that's why we need we small localized govt. Wake Up libs, this will be a disaster!! My advice...get a job and buy your own insurance. BUY YOUR OWN! BUY YOUR OWN!

    August 18, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. harry

    Too little too late.

    You failed to keep your promise of real change.

    I'm done with you.

    August 18, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. Four and The Door

    This must be the, " Which way is the wind blowing today?" leadership method.

    Americans know that the Public Option is the wrong direction to take health care in and have been very vocal about that. It is impossible to spin it into anything but a huge extra expense we can't afford. This does not fix the problem of cost, it just passes it on to an already overwhelmed taxpayer.

    It's time to see who is listening in Washington.

    August 18, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Springer Rider

    What's a health care plan unless we have one paid for by the taxpayer.

    Ain't going to fly.

    No health care plan for Obama. No Cap & Trade for Obama.

    One term for Obama. He is going to make Jimmy Carter's administration look successful.

    August 18, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. Julie-NY

    The funds to reform of health care would cost range from US$1,500,000,000,000.00 up to US$3,000,000,000,000.00 which enable definitely for America to go to bankruptcy within five years. I only support health care reform within range of American economic can handle it.
    STOP PRINTING MONEY, BORROWING MONEY FROM CHINA AND RAISING TAXES.

    August 18, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Doug, New Jersey

    Even though the libs can pass anything they want, and the republicans can not do a single thing about it, these mindless Obama-bots are still blaming republicans. Democrats have no use for facts, they are content being hateful, angry creatures who sole purpose is to spread lies and misinformation. If this wasn't true, then why would they blame the republicans when they are irrelevant in the passing of this bill?

    August 18, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Wake Up

    This administration lies, backtracks and misleads more than any I can remember. Obama/administration/czars say stuff ON CAMERA then say they didn't mean it, or are misquoted. When will the obamabots stand up to this clown. I guess most are since his approval have plummeted to 47%. Can we just elect legislators that realize this country was founded on the basis of a small federal government??? Please, read the history of this country.

    August 18, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Kansas lonely Dem

    Go Dems! If you do not stand up with backbone to the Republicans, there will never be respect from your voters or any other Americans. Do what is right; what needs to be done, and if it is without the Republicans, so be it!!

    August 18, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Bluebonnet

    Another idiot Obamabot! Flip flop flip flop! 2010's a comin'!

    August 18, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. DJ

    Let's get the facts straight and quit spinning. All Obama and Sebelius are saying is that they are open-minded and that there a numerous other components to the reform bill. Regulation is one aspect for starters whether it is done by a non-profit or the government – it still needs to get done.

    August 18, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. S M R

    The right actually think they have the Democrats on the run. What a joke after What Bush/Cheney did to our Country.

    August 18, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. a progressive liberal and proud of it

    President Obama:

    I think you have the potential to be one of the greatest presidents this country has ever had. In order to achieve that you must stop kow-towing to the special interests and to the Republicans who absolutely do not have the best interest of the American people at heart! You must stand up for the majority of Americans who voted for you and believed the message of change you brought to the table. Do not abandon us, please!!!

    August 18, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Proud Member..Party of No

    The Barnum & Bailey Administration continues to amuse and entertain the American public. Everybody loves a clown and this administration is full of them.

    August 18, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. A.B.

    The public plan needs to remain in any healthcare legislation and is not negotiable. If Obama and the Democrats sacrifice the public option, they will lose in 2012. Without the public plan, there can be no real healthcare reform. Moreover, the public option must be robust and accessible to all Americans.

    August 18, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    Having to deal with the HMO Program Tri-Care for the US Armed Forces and Retires I am not for any goverment option unless Congress, the President, The CIvil Service Unions, and anyone on the government program should be on an HMO, especially if its good enough for those who serve in uniform. The service is good but not what it used to be and that is what you civilians can expect too.

    August 18, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. mjm

    Cynthia...The republicans are for one thing and that is to make the POTUS look bad. It is the old and new racists you see.

    Actually, the Democrats are making themselves look bad. They can't seem to do anything right. Republicans have no power to stop them.

    As far as old and new racists, which one was Rev Wright again? He seemed more old school racist to me.

    Funny how people ignore real racism for made up racism.

    August 18, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. Kate in San Diego

    Let's face facts – people are too scared to make really dramatic changes all at once. We may have to do this in fits and starts. After all, nothing is carved in stone. We need to start smaller and ease people into it. Let the camel's nose into the tent and the rest of the camel will soon follow. We will get our public option eventually. It isn't about winning and losing. Its about getting the changes we need to help as many people as we can.

    August 18, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. MomofFour

    Obama is wasting his time with the whole bipartisanship. Though he is scoring on the front of exposing the selfish motives of blue dogs and rethugs, hes wasting precious time. Dear president, please please hurry up before its too late !

    God bless Obama and USA !

    August 18, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. MomofFour

    I wish all the republicans on private health care, good health – NOT !

    August 18, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. MomofFour

    Grow a pair , democrats !

    August 18, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Kate in San Diego

    The only mistake Obama has made was his naive belief that the Republicans were actually interested in negotiating in good faith. They aren't, and it appears to be a waste of time to treat them as responsible human beings. None of those people screaming and yelling at the town hall meetings really have questions they want answered – they just want an opportunity to act badly. One woman, when asked if she was satisfied with the answer Arlen Spector gave her after she practically spit on him while hollering at him, cheerfully admittted she had no idea what the answer was because she was so wrought up and excited after "asking" her question she did not hear the answer. I think that is very telling.

    August 18, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
1 2 3 4 5