Obama Admin, Sebelius Say Public Option Still Part of Pro-Abortion Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 18, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Obama Admin, Sebelius Say Public Option Still Part of Pro-Abortion Health Care

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 18
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Obama administration and his health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, have backtracked and now both say the public option is a part of the government-run health care plan they want Congress to approve. The two appeared to back down from supporting it over the weekend but have reversed course.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that, yes, President Obama still thinks a public option ought to be part of the discussion. He insisted in a fiery press briefing that there has been no change.

Gibbs insisted that the president has been “consistently dull” in saying that while he prefers the public option.

Gibbs presented CNN’s Ed Henry with a transcript of the president’s town hall meeting in Colorado over the weekend and said the transcript proved Sebelius had not gone off message.

When asked, however, how the White House’s refusal to demand a public option might be construed by Congressional Democrats, Gibbs responded: “I’m not a Democratic member of Congress.”

Meanwhile, Sebelius is backpedaling furiously from statements she made Sunday regarding Obama’s plans for government-run health care.

On Sunday, Sebelius stunned many Americans when she said that a public option was "not the essential element" of health care reform. Today, Sebelius’ message at a Medicare conference was different.

"Here’s the bottom line: Absolutely nothing has changed. We continue to support the public option," she said. "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."

Sebelius blamed the media and claimed nothing has changed.

"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," she said.

The public option is important in both the House and Senate if for different reasons. In the House, liberal Democrats say they won’t support a bill without it. On the Senate side, moderate Democrats object to a health care restructuring bill that has it.

And when it comes to republicans, pro-life Sen. Jon Kyl says he doesn’t see many, if any, GOP lawmakers backing the health care bills regardless. To date, no republicans members have indicated they support the pro-abortion government-run measures.

"I think it’s safe to say that there are a huge number of big issues that people have," Kyl said, referring to Republican senators. "There is no way that Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar-plus bill."

Gibbs agreed with the media swipe and said that the outcry on Capitol Hill was a result of media overreaction to Sebelius’s simple restatement of long standing administration policy, and he denied that the secretary was floating a trial balloon in search of compromise.

“If it was a signal, it was a dog whistle we started blowing three months ago, and it just got picked up,” Gibbs said. “It’s crazy. It’s not a signal.”

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