While avoiding specifics, a letter from President Obama provides some solid clues about the direction of the debate over health care reform. The letter, addressed to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D. – Mont.) and Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy (D. - Mass.), contained support for a public health care option operating alongside private insurance plans.
“I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans,” Obama wrote. “This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.”
The president stressed cost containment and also endorsed the idea of a health care exchange, a provision pushed for by Baucus.
“The plans you are discussing embody my core belief that Americans should have better choices for health insurance, building on the principle that if they like the coverage they have now, they can keep it, while seeing their costs lowered as our reforms take hold,’ he wrote. “But for those who don't have such options, I agree that we should create a health insurance exchange—a market where Americans can one-stop shop for a health care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose the plan that's best for them, in the same way that Members of Congress and their families can.”
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