“The costs are crushing us,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “It’s hurting families. Our businesses are less competitive. We can’t continue on this pathway,” the Obama Cabinet member added.
To achieve Obama’s health care reform agenda, the administration is considering several different approaches including a public insurance option, Sebelius said Sunday.
A public option would be similar to the existing Medicare and Medicaid programs and, by competing with plans offered by private insurers, the White House hopes it would help to lower the cost of coverage throughout the market.
“Competition is a good thing . . . Choice and competition is what we want,” Sebelius told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King Sunday.
“The president does not want to dismantle privately owned plans. He doesn’t want the 180 million people who have employer coverage to lose that coverage. He wants to strengthen the marketplace.”
Asked about the idea of forming health insurance co-operatives – privately owned, non-profit co-ops that would provide coverage - as a way to reform the system, Sebelius suggested the White House might be open to that approach.
“Having the ideas on the table is exactly where we need to be right now,” said Sebelius. “There is no one-size-fits-all idea.”
Sebelius also defended use of comparative effectiveness research which is used to identify which tests and treatments provide the best outcomes.
“Higher cost does not translate to higher quality,” the HHS Secretary said.