US healthcare U-turn
President Obama has been using campaign-style events to push for a major overhaul to the nation’s health care system. The president held three town hall meetings on health care last week. Obama’s focus has been fighting the information war against opponents of the Democrats’ health plan.
Bowing to Republican pressure and an uneasy public, President Barack Obama’s administration signaled Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.
During opening remarks in the Central High School gym in Grand Junction, Colo., on Saturday, the president again made the case for the need to fix the health care system. Again, he complained about misinformation being put out to stop changes to health care — including those debunked claims about the government “death panels” that would pull the plug on sick senior citizens.
Then, for the first time during the health care debate, the president brought up an intensely personal topic, the death of his own grandmother days before last November’s election.
“I know what it’s like to watch somebody you love, who’s aging, deteriorate and have to struggle with that. So the notion that somehow I ran for public office, or members of Congress are in this so that they can go around pulling the plug on grandma? I mean, when you start making arguments like that, that’s simply dishonest.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that government alternative to private health insurance is “not the essential element” of the administration’s health care overhaul. The White House would be open to co-ops, she said, a sign that Democrats want a compromise so they can declare a victory.
Under a proposal by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives would sell insurance in competition with private industry, not unlike the way electric and agriculture co-ops operate, especially in rural states such as his own.