Written by AccuracyInMedia.org
Just when you thought it was safe . . .
Sebelius: "Nothing Has Changed" Blames Media
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius backed off her remarks on Sunday about public option not being essential by blaming the media.
From the Politico
Kathleen Sebelius is trying to put out the fire she helped start Sunday by saying that a government insurance option is "not the essential element" of health care reform.
It was widely reported that her remarks, taken with comments made by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, were a signal that the Obama administration was open to shelving the public option - prompting a major backlash from the Democratic base.
In a speech Tuesday on Medicare to the U.S. Administration on Aging, the Health and Human Services secretary blamed the media for igniting the fire, saying that "nothing has changed" and that the administration continues to support the public option. She said that the administration will look at other ideas, too.
Here's the key excerpt from the speech:
"And if you were watching the news over the weekend, you probably have seen reports about the Obama administration and the public option portion of the health reform plan. All I can tell you is that Sunday must have been a very slow news day, because here's the bottom line: Absolutely nothing has changed. 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. I've seen it work for state employees in states like Kansas where a public option is side-by-side with private insurers, offering competition and choice for state employees. It's what it does when it provides choice in markets that are often dominated by one insurance company, a monopoly that can charge what it wants because it has no competition.
"And that's what we want to do in health reform: more choices, more competition. That's the bottom-line goal."
A slow news day? That's the best she could come up with? The truth is her remarks set off a firestorm that had the adminstration backpedaling then reversing course again by embracing public option when liberal Democrats howled. The health care battle has befuddled the White House and we can probably expect further shifts in their stance as they watch the polls.