“There’s lots of things we could agree to on a bipartisan basis,” Pawlenty said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “the public option isn’t one of them. The trigger option simply kicks the can down the road.”
Under the trigger proposal, a public option would become available later, should the private insurance industry not meet certain benchmarks on coverage and cost.
“If the Democrats embrace the public option,” Pawlenty also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “even in the form of the trigger, they’re going to shoot themselves in the foot.”
Asked about the alternative of non-profit health care co-operatives, an idea championed by North Dakota Democrat Sen. Kent Conrad during bipartisan negotiations in the Senate Finance Committee, Pawlenty rejected the idea that co-ops could solve the problem of rising costs in the country’s health care system.
Co-ops, which are prevalent in Minnesota, “have helped a little bit at the margins,” Pawlenty told King.
“So to think that is the solution, I think defies what we know about – the experience with co-ops already. It hasn’t substantially altered the trajectory of health care costs,” Pawlenty said.
Pawlenty replied, “I don’t know,” when asked whether he thought President Obama would meet his new goal of getting a health care reform bill passed by the end of the year.
The Minnesota Republican cited medical malpractice reform, embracing greater use of electronic medical records and electronic prescriptions, allowing the purchase of insurance coverage across state lines, and focusing on pay for performance rather than the volume of treatments as areas where Democrats and Republicans could work together towards some bipartisan agreement.