Sebelius: 'Absolutely Nothing Has Changed' on Public Option

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today strongly reiterated the Obama administration’s commitment to a “public option” as part of a health care reform package, amid a liberal backlash decrying the possibility that the president would sacrifice such a plan.

“Absolutely nothing has changed,” Sebelius told a gathering of Medicare fraud prevention volunteers in Washington. “We continue to support the public option that will have lower costs, give American consumers more choice and keep private insurers honest. If people have other ideas about how to accomplish those goals, we’ll look at those too.”

She also sought to quell concerns among some seniors that health care reform will involve cutting Medicare services or rationing care.

“I wanna tell you, nothing can be further from the truth,” she said.

The Secretary also related the current campaign for health care reform with the push to create Medicare in the 1960s, noting that support for Medicare has grown over the past four decades.

“If we can achieve reform this fall, we might have a chance to look back 40 years from now and say we were there when our country made another important step to ensuring high-quality health care for all Americans,” she said.

Sebelius herself sparked much of the furor of the past few days when she said on CNN Sunday that a public option is “not the essential element” of a health care reform measure.

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