Today on the Sunday Talk Shows
By John Amick and Ibby Caputo
State of the Union: Collins Won't Support a 'Trigger'
Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins (D-Maine) said she would not support a "trigger" option in any legislation, meaning a provision to delay a public option and allow health insurance companies to lower costs on their own.
"The problem with the trigger is it just delays the public option," Collins said on CNN's "State of the Union."
Collins also said she believes the president erred at the beginning of the health-care reform effort and lost many independent voters by not focusing on costs.
"He did not initially focus on cost," Collins said. "That is the number one concern, as I talk to my constituents. They're concerned that we may be creating an expensive new entitlement program. They're worried about the amount of debt that we already have accumulated."
(Read more of Sens. Collins, Feinstein and Shaheen on health care.)
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated today President Obama's support for a public option in health-care reform, yet Gibbs also said the president will not insist on the inclusion of a public option at all costs.
When asked to respond to New York Times' columnist Maureen Dowd's Sunday column calling out many Obama detractors as racist, Gibbs veered away from the assertion to highlight a struggling economy as the cause for consternation with Obama's policies.
"I don't think the president believes that people are upset because of the color of his skin," Gibbs said. "I think people are upset because on Monday we celebrate the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse that caused a financial catastrophe unlike anything we've ever seen."
(Read Gibbs' entire comments on Obama's detractors.)
This Week: Landrieu: Public Option Will Hurt Insurance Companies
Conservative Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) made clear she will not support any kind of explicit public option in health reform legislation, saying she's worried about its effect on insurance companies.
"Many of us believe ... that it will undermine the private insurance system," Landrieu said on ABC's "This Week" She expressed her desire to find ways to inject competition in the market while avoiding additional government-run health care.
When asked if she would support the "trigger" option, Landrieu was vague.
"I can support potentially a fallback, but only if the private sector is allowed and given a great opportunity to get this right," Landrieu said. "I believe they can."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), a strong advocate of a public option, said Landrieu's reply on the "trigger" was "too easy an answer" and said he will continue to press for a public option that, he feels, will only attract around five percent of the American population, despite larger predictions from conservatives.
More Sunday show wrap-ups after the jump.
Face the Nation: Snowe: President Should Take Public Option Off the Table
Republican moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), the most serious member of the GOP to work with Democrats on health-care reform to this point, says she would like to see President Obama eliminate an immediate public option from the reform debate.
"I urged the president to take the public option off the table, because it's universally opposed by all Republicans in the Senate," Snowe said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "And therefore, there's no way to pass a plan that includes the public option. So I think he's recognizing that, because it is a roadblock to building the kind of consensus that we need to move forward."
White House adviser David Axelrod echoed the administration's claims of support for a public option, but he downplayed its importance in final legislation.
"We believe competition and choice will help bring prices down and improve care and give a better deal to consumers," Axelrod said. "So he continues to believe it's a good idea. He continues to advocate it. And I'm not willing to accept that it's not going to be in the final package."
When asked if she would be willing to be the lone Senate Republican to vote for a reform plan, Snowe said she'll only vote for what she thinks is right, no matter what that means for Republican support.
"I'll do what's right based on what is the right policy," Snowe said. "But I think it is important to build support. And that's what I'm looking for."
Fox News Sunday: Wilson Won't Apologize Again
House Representative Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) said he will not apologize on the floor of the House for his outburst during the President's address to a joint session of Congress last Wednesday.
"I've apologized one time. The apology was accepted by the president, by the vice president, who I know. I am not apologizing again," Wilson said on "Fox News Sunday."
Wilson accused the House Democrats of 'playing politics' and creating a diversion with their proposed resolution of disapproval.
"This is just a way to divert attention from a bill that would cost 1.6 million jobs, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses," Wilson said. "It's a diversion from people looking at the bill and the concerns about the bill."
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) also spoke of diversions on "Fox News Sunday," saying that the public option had become a distraction from the "meat of the matter" about health-care reform.
"The meat of this matter is that we're losing 14,000 Americans from health insurance every day," said McCaskill. "Any deficit hawk cannot look you in the eye and honestly say we can do anything about the deficit if we don't bring down health-care costs."
Posted at 12:21 PM ET on Sep 13, 2009
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