President Obama: No "lines in the sand" on a Public Health Plan

In a comment that is sure to send President Obama’s base into low earth-orbit, the Associated Press reports President Obama leaves the door open to ejecting the Public plan option from his health care reform bill:

On health care, Obama left open the door to abandoning his demand that people under any revamped system have the option of choosing coverage from a government-funded program.

“We are still early in this process,” he said. “So, you know, we have not drawn lines in the sand other than reform has to control costs and that it has to provide relief to people who don’t have health insurance or are underinsured.”

True to form, the Daily Kos is re-posting an alert to its members to call the White House to get President Obama to keep his public plan option.

Just before President Obama’s media conference in which he offers up the public plan option as not essential, the American Health Insurance Plan Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield sent a letter up to the U.S. Senate HELP Committee opposing the inclusion of a public plan option.

From the Washington Post:

Shortly before Obama entered the White House briefing room, two key health industry groups — the America’s Health Insurance Plans and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association — sent a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee outlining their opposition to the inclusion of a public option in the legislation.

“A government plan option — in any form — is unnecessary to achieve comprehensive reform and would have devastating consequences on the health insurance coverage that employers and individuals currently have, the federal budget deficit and existing provider systems,” the groups said.

I wonder what Paul Krugman of the New York Times will say about this, since his last column rips conservative Democrats for balking at the health reform bills now before Congress.