The Washington Times - July 7, 2009, 12:22PM

As Capitol Hill plows through the health care bill, the White House is weighing in — sort of.

Rahm Emanuel suggested in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the White House would support a health care bill without a public option, but President Obama issued a statement Tuesday morning, perhaps responding to the frustration over his chief of staff’s comments:

“I am pleased by the progress we’re making on health care reform and still believe, as I’ve said before, that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices, and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest.  I look forward to a final product that achieves these very important goals.”

Sen. Chris Dodd also made a point to plug a public option when reminding his Twitter followers about the health care bill mark-up session, streaming live throughout the day here.

He tweeted: Live stream of the Health Care mark-up, including a strong public option.

My story for our Plugged In politics section Tuesday focused on the pressure outside groups are putting on conservative Democrats:

Democrats beware! If you’re not fully supporting President Obama’s health care overhaul, liberal advocacy groups have you in their sights.

As the August congressional recess looms and the final details of the health care plan take shape, the groups have unleashed a series of hard-hitting attack ads against Democrats while mostly ignoring Republicans.

Change Congress is raising money to go after Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, using one of her own constituents to ask, “Will Landrieu sell out Louisiana?”

Read the full story here.

I asked folks on Twitter about the public option last week. I wrote up a sampling:

There’s no shortage of opinion about health care, especially on Twitter.

A random sampling of Twitter users Friday found user augustepdx saying if the bill passes without a public option it will be “one of the great political failures” while some blasted it as impractical or even dangerous.

Others said they believe those who say a public option could harm insurers are on the wrong side.

“Taxpayers needn’t subsidize ins. companies,” wrote sashaundercover.

John Amussen said the notion his health options are “dictated by the profitability desires of [insurance] executives is immoral.”

User misha1234 said when her father lost his job and insurance, their family of five children was sent into bankruptcy thanks to health care bills.

Some more Tweeps weigh in: 

rkref No public option, no reform

swarheit As long as there are protections to make sure employers don’t drop coverage … thus forcing employees to use the public option, I dont see the harm. More choice is always better than less

sgwhiteinfla No public option would mean no real savings and no real reform. … Insurance bureaucrat no better than govt bureaucrat.

dgiant public option is sorely needed in this country. It will help reduce the overall costs the insured are paying already for unins(ured)

doctormidnight Prob. the most important aspect of that will be lobbyists and graft. But my back is more concerned about its need for surgery.

And check out former governor and DNC Chairman Dr. Howard Dean’s interview with Esquire about health care.


— Christina Bellantoni, White House correspondent, 
The Washington Times

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