Public Option 'Negotiable' in Health Reform: Emanuel

Obama OK with trigger backup to private plans
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2009 9:31 AM CDT
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel listens off to the side as President Barack Obama delivers remarks in the Rose Garden.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama wants a public health care option, but he’s not married to the idea, Rahm Emanuel tells the Wall Street Journal—as long as real competition is somehow injected into the insurance market. “The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest,” he said. “The goal is non-negotiable; the path is.”

One possibility is for the bill to include a public option that will only kick in if the market is deemed to have produced insufficient competition. Republicans put a similar “trigger” into the 2003 Medicare prescription drug plan; so far, it hasn’t gone into effect. Insurers vigorously oppose a public option, saying it would put them out of business.