June 16, 2009
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR


   

HHS SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS DEFENDS OBAMA HEALTH PLAN ON NPR NEWS: “THIS IS NOT A TRICK. THIS IS NOT SINGLE-PAYER.”

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



June 15, 2009; Washington, D.C. – In an interview airing tomorrow on NPR News’ Morning Edition, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius answers charges that the Obama administration’s health care plan includes a “Trojan horse” leading to government-run health insurance for all. “This is not a trick. This is not single-payer,” Sebelius says in defense of the administration’s plan, in the interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

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.”

All excerpts must be credited to NPR News’ Morning Edition. Television usage must include on-screen NPR News credit with NPR logo. The audio of the interview will be posted at www.NPR.org at approximately 9:00AM (ET). A complete transcript will be made available tomorrow morning via contact below.

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.

Morning Edition, the two-hour newsmagazine airing weekdays and hosted by Steve Inskeep in Washington, D.C. and Renée Montagne from NPR West in Culver City, Calif., is public radio’s most listened-to program with nearly 14 million weekly listeners. For local stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org/stations