June 16, 2009
Anna Christopher, NPR
SEBELIUS SAYS SHE WANTS HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION WRITTEN SO IT CAN NEVER EVOLVE INTO A SINGLE-PAYER PLAN
INTERVIEW AIRING ON MORNING EDITION TOMORROW, JUNE 16;
EXCERPTS BELOW, AUDIO AVAILABLE AT 9AM (ET) AT NPR.org
Sebelius tells NPR: “From the outset, the President has continued to say: We want a level playing field. This is not a trick. This is not single-payer. As you know there have been lots of congressional advocates who say, why not? Why can't we have a single-payer? That's not what anyone is talking about. Mostly because the President feels strongly as I do that dismantling private health coverage for the 180 million Americans that have it, discouraging more employers from coming into the market place is really the bad, you know is a bad direction to go.”
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Asked by Inskeep if she would say “flat out” that the administration’s program is “never going to be a single-payer” plan, and will be drafted specifically to prevent this, Sebelius says: “I think that’s very much the case, and again, if you want anybody to convince people of that, talk to the single-payer proponents who are furious that the single-payer idea is not part of the discussion.”
In the NPR interview, Sebelius says the government-provided insurance would be run more efficiently than private companies’, and would be available at lower prices, forcing private competitors to lower their prices as well. “And that’s a good thing,” she says. “I think that’s a good thing for the American public. Medicare right now has lower overhead costs than private insurers.”
Sebelius dismissed a much-quoted study suggesting that under one of several scenarios, more than 100 million Americans could sign up for a public plan. She declined to give a number of how many Americans could actually qualify for the proposed plan, instead saying that it would be attractive to “some fraction” of the 47 million people with no insurance, to another 25 million with limited insurance and to people in areas where few insurance companies compete for their business.
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