Colo. congresswoman: Public option still a key |

Colo. congresswoman: Public option still a key


DENVER – A Colorado Democrat in the House is not backing off plans for government health insurance.

Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver said Monday the so-called public option for people without insurance is still key to passing a health care overhaul in the House. DeGette’s statement comes as President Barack Obama and Congress members of both parties appear to be moving away from the insurance option.

During the August recess DeGette, said the public option was crucial to House approval. DeGette repeated that assertion Monday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Without a public insurance option or some competition for private insurers, DeGette said, “you haven’t really done health reform.”

On Sunday, Obama again talked about overhauling health care without saying whether he would demand a public insurance option. He told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Congress would pass “a good health care bill.”

But DeGette, one of several Democrats charged with gathering votes, said at least 120 House members were adamant about including the public option. DeGette is also a member of a House committee that has considered one of the health care bills.

DeGette says the House will likely wait for some health care movement in the Senate before acting. She said the Senate appears likely to consider a not-for-profit cooperative system instead of government insurance. DeGette criticized the co-op idea.

“The worst thing for us to do is set up some kind of alternative that is untested and doomed to fail,” said DeGette, who added she would favor pilot programs to explore health co-ops, just not a national co-op.

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