Obama Administration Appears Open To Public Plan 'Trigger'

"The Obama administration signaled a willingness to compromise on a proposed government-run health- insurance company by praising Senator Olympia Snowe's plan to start the entity only if private insurers don't meet targets," Bloomberg reports. Snowe, a Maine Republican, has "proposed triggering the so-called public option if private insurers fail to curb insurance-premium increases. A senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that while President Barack Obama prefers the public option, Snowe's trigger was a potentially good compromise if the Senate decides to pursue it. Under the plan, "the government would offer coverage in any state where less than 95 percent of residents have access to affordable insurance" (Rowley and Litvan, 10/15). 

On a visit to New Orleans, Obama "took the opportunity to bash insurance companies that he said are trying to block his health care plan to protect their profits," McClatchy reports. "Feeding off the crowd's energy at his town hall meeting at the University of New Orleans, the second of only two stops on his quick survey of the city, the president compared his own determination to expand health care coverage to the city's determination to rebuild. 'I don't quit,' he said." Obama also "warned the crowd that if they see any TV ads underwritten by 'some funny-named group out there that you can't really identify, you know, Americans for Good Health Care or something, that it's probably a front group for the insurance industry, and don't let them fool you. We're going to get this done'" (Talev, 10/15). 

The Associated Press: "Obama told a town hall meeting in New Orleans on Thursday that his health care reform plan will also help protect seniors and others from rising health care costs — so that over the long term, those costs won't be rising more quickly than Social Security" (10/15). 

At a fundraiser in San Francisco, "the president also reminded liberal Democrats who may be disenchanted with aspects of the health care legislation in Congress that any bill that gets through will help millions of uninsured Americans," The Associated Press reports in a separate story (10/16).

Meanwhile, Obama "will participate via live webcast in Organizing for America’s 'call parties' on Tuesday, encouraging supporters to keep the pressure on Congress to overhaul the health care system," Roll Call reports. "The parties are part of an effort by the OFA to generate 100,000 calls to Congress in a single day" (Koffler, 10/15).

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