Adviser: Obama won’t demand public option
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House will not commit to health care legislation that would cap insurance premiums or tax benefits, taking a wait-and-see approach as congressional negotiators seek a deal, advisers said Sunday.
President Barack Obama will not demand that a final bill include a government-run plan as a way of driving down costs through competition, though that’s his preference, they said.
”There will be compromise. There will be legislation, and it will achieve our goals: helping people who have insurance get more security, more accountability for the insurance industry, helping people who don’t have insurance get insurance they can afford, and lowering the overall cost of the system,” aide David Axelrod said.
Asked on ABC’s ”This Week” if Obama would sign a bill that ended the antitrust exemption for the insurance industry and allow caps on premiums, Axelrod said, ”We’ll see what Congress does.”
A 1945 law lets states regulate insurers without federal interference.
Axelrod was similarly noncommittal when pressed about whether Obama would support taxing insurance benefits, a proposal that has brought criticism from labor unions and others. ”I think that this thing is going to be adjusted as we go along,” he said, ”so let’s see what the final proposal says before we talk about what the president will or won’t sign.”
The White House and lawmakers are trying to blend five House and Senate committee versions of health care legislation into a bill that will pass both houses. Near unanimous Republican opposition is expected.