Obama Stands By Public Plan During Radio Talk Show Interview
"President Barack Obama is standing his position that a public option for health insurance coverage should be considered as part of legislation to overhaul the health care system," The Associated Press reports. "In an interview Thursday with Philadelphia-based radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, Obama said that "the press got excited and some folks on the left got a little excited" when the administration last weekend made statements indicating that a publicly-run health insurance option was just one of several alternatives. Obama said, 'What we've said is that there are a number of components to health care.' The president also said that 'the key is cost control' and that there are any number of ways to reach that objective" (8/20).
Chicago Tribune: "The centerpiece of this show with radio host Smerconish was the president's attempt to communicate and answer questions about his health-care plans with an audience that is largely skeptical of his initiative." One caller asked Obama what health care legislation "must" include. He responded with four points: "'No. 1, it's got to be deficit-neutral. ... This has to be paid for. Point No. 2, it has to bend the cost curve. ... We've got to reduce a plan that experts credibly say will reduce health care cost inflation. No. 3, we've got to have the insurance reforms I've talked about for people who already have health insurance,' he said, including a ban against dropping coverage for people who are ill or blocking coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. 'No. 4, I want to make sure that we have a health exchange where you will have a set of options. ... You can go and look at a bunch of options, and we have to make it affordable.'"
Also on Thursday, the president held a conference call and Webcast with supporters -- many of whom are part of the Democratic Party-sponsored Organizing for America. "'Sometimes it seems like one loud voice can drown out all the sensible voices out there.... There is something about August going into September where everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up,'' Obama said, calling on his network of first campaign and now party supporters to mobilize against myths that critics of his health-care plan are spreading" (Silva, 8/20).