August 17 2009, 9:54 AM
After mentioning the idea of a government insurance option at a town hall meeting in Grand Junction on Saturday, President Barack Obama and his top aides may now drop the idea from the proposed health-care-reform legislation, writes Politico, which points out that reform is the president's top priority and that compromise might be necessary in order to get results. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says a public option is "not the essential element" of the plan, and Obama perhaps downplayed the idea in Grand Junction by calling it "just one sliver" of the debate. Obama promised "common-sense" solutions in his meeting on Saturday (via INDenverTimes) and told the story of his grandmother's death to combat "misinformation" about the plan, particularly so-called "death panels" that would allegedly end the lives of terminally ill Americans (via NPR). The debates have become unfair, Obama said: "What you can't do---or you can, but you shouldn't do---is start saying things like, 'We want to set up death panels to pull the plug on grandma.' I mean, come on." The Grand Junction Sentinel writes that Obama holds hope for the involvement of a government nonprofit insurer that would "keep the insurance companies honest," but also quotes him as saying, "Nobody is talking about the government takeover of health care." Obama also made his case for reform in an opinion piece in The New York Times on Sunday, writing that what "we haven't heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them." Health reform is a complex subject, as one case examined by the Rocky Mountain Independent illustrates. Check out a photo gallery of Obama's Colorado visit from The Washington Post.