They have released more of the President’s prepared comments from tonight, including those on a public option:
The insurance reforms that I’ve already mentioned would do just that. But an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. Let me be clear – it would only be an option for those who don’t have insurance. No one would be forced to choose it, and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance. In fact, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, we believe that less than 5% of Americans would sign up.
"Not-for-profit" public option entered the White House lexicon on June 24, after Kent Conrad started talking about his co-op plan.
I have insisted that like any private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects. But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits, excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers.
It is only one part of my plan, and should not be used as a handy excuse for the usual Washington ideological battles. To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it. The public option is only a means to that end – and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal.
No commitment to a public plan, just open to one.
For example, some have suggested that that the public option go into effect only in those markets where insurance companies are not providing affordable policies.
Obama is open to triggers.
Others propose a co-op or another non-profit entity to administer the plan. These are all constructive ideas worth exploring.
Obama is open to co-ops.