President Barack Obama today at a news conference said a public plan is "an important tool to discipline insurance companies," but he didn't answer a question on whether he would veto a bill that did not include a public plan option, saying it was too early in the process to "draw lines in the sand," Reuters reports.
"If it turns out that the public plan, for example, is able to reduce administrative costs significantly, then I'd like the insurance companies to take note," he said. "That's good for everybody in the system."
Obama said he does not accept the insurance industry's arguments that it would be unable to compete with a government-run plan. "If what the insurance companies are saying is true, that they are doing their best to serve their customers ... they should be able to compete"(Quinn, 6/23).
CBS Political Hotsheet: "Obama said he is optimistic about the progress Congress has made developing a health care reform package."
"There is no doubt that we must preserve what is best about our health care system, and that means allowing Americans who like their doctors and their health care plans to keep them. But unless we fix what is broken in our current system, everyone’s health care will be in jeopardy," Obama said, adding that the legislation will be deficit-neutral over the next decade and that it will reduce healthcare costs (Condon, 6/23).
Read the transcript and view video excerpts from the news conference.