Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Obama calls for public health insurance option

President Barack Obama on Wednesday said he was open to the idea of a public funding of health insurance, the latest twist in his ambitious and difficult goal to reform the country's health care system by year's end.

The White House on Wednesday made public a letter detailing how the president hopes to make health care available to the 46 million Americans -- about 15 percent of the population -- who have no coverage.

"I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans," Obama said

"This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest," Obama said.

The US health care system is largely in private hands. Americans with health care coverage normally have it through their employers, their spouse's employer, or through an employed parent.