White House officials said Sunday that President Obama is not going to put the government-run health insurance program at the heart of the overhaul plan he wants Congress to pass, though two liberal House members hinted that they would rather have no bill than a bill that doesn't have the provision.
White House adviser David Axelrod said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the president believes in the value of the public insurance option, but "it shouldn't define the whole health care debate, however."
The plan was designed to compete with private insurers and is a necessity to liberal members of his party, but has since threatened the viability of health care reform amid concerns over cost and the government's role in health care.
Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, reiterated their interest in the public plan, threatening to vote down any bill without it.
"I'm hoping that he understands the essentiality of the public option," said Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat and vice chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, on CNN's "State of the Union." The president "said he preferred a public option. So we're trying to give him the political backing he needs to get what he prefers, which I think is the right thing."
When asked by host John King whether liberal Democrats should vote for a bill that has no public option "or should progressives say, 'No, that's not real reform' and walk away?" Mr. Ellison responded that "progressives should say it's not real reform" and added that a refusal to support a bill would not be their fault. (Continued...)
Obama's stand on public option draws fire - Washington Times
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