“The goal of the public option . . . is to provide choice and competition,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
Gibbs also said that a public health insurance option, if enacted as part of a health care reform bill, would only be of use to those people in the private insurance market seeking individual coverage or coverage for a small number of employees as many small businesses do.
“So hundreds of millions of people that get their insurance like you and I do,” Gibbs told Chief National Correspondent John King, “through [larger] employers won’t be affected by a public option.”
President Obama “prefers the public option,” Gibbs also said, “however [Obama said what’s most important is choice and competition.”
“For our Democratic friends,” Gibbs added, “the public option is a means to an end, but it’s not all of health care [reform].”
Asked on CNN’s State of the Union if the use of the trigger would make inclusion of the public option more acceptable, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, unequivocally replied “no.”
“The problem with trigger is it just delays the public option,” Collins told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “because the people who are going to be making the determination about whether the market is competitive enough, want the public option.”
New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen refused to answer directly when asked whether Collins’ position indicated that President Obama should either not fight for inclusion of the public option in the final bill or, alternatively, pursue a legislative strategy that relied solely on Democratic votes for health care reform.
“I think we’re going to have a bill that has significant bipartisan input regardless of how the votes come out,” Shaheen told King.
The Democrat, who supports the public option, also said Sunday that it was important to stay focused on the big picture when it comes to health care reform. “We want to get competition in the health insurance market. We want to make sure that people who can afford health insurance are going to have an affordable option that they can use. We want to improve health outcomes for people. And we want to, long term, lower the cost of health care,” Shaheen said.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/10/art.jwilson.0910.gi.jpg caption="South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson said Sunday that he will not apologize again for his recent outburst during the president's address to Congress."]
(CNN) - Rep. Joe Wilson said Sunday he will not apologize again for yelling out that President Barack Obama lied during the president's speech to Congress last week.
"I am not going to apologize again," the South Carolina Republican said on "FOX News Sunday" when asked about pending disciplinary steps against him by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
Wilson said he already apologized to Obama and that the president accepted it. However, he insisted that Obama "was mis-stating the facts," and that Democratic leaders in the House were "playing politics" by continuing to focus on the issue.