Health Care

House Won't Drop Public Option

House leaders say there's no way the health care bill will pass without a public option, even though the Obama administration has seemed to back off the plan, Politico reports. The vote will be pushed back to the end of September, the leaders say, and it will be up to the Senate to drop the controversial public-option from the bill. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Sunday that the public option was “not the essential element” and floated the idea of co-ops, but an administration official tells Marc Ambinder that Sebelius “misspoke,” and that she was simply trying to point out that, in President Obama’s view, the public option is not the most important part of the reform package. Another official, Linda Douglass, says, "Nothing has changed. The President has always said that what is essential that health-insurance reform lower costs, ensure that there are affordable options for all Americans and increase choice and competition in the health insurance market. He believes that the public option is the best way to achieve these goals." Two key senators also called the public option "essential" to the bill on Monday.