Gibbs: No "Postal Service" for Health Care

Face The Nation, Robert Gibbs, 08.16.09
Robert Gibbs spoke with CBS Early Show anchor Harry Smith about the health care reform debate on Face The Nation.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on Face the Nation Sunday that President Obama is still in favor a government-sponsored health insurance plan -- but does not intend to replicate the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service.

The federal government would be able to successfully administer a health insurance option, Gibbs told CBS Anchor Harry Smith, even though the government-run Postal Service is facing serious financial problems.

"I don't think he was saying that what we were going to do is create the postal service for healthcare," Gibbs said. "The president believes this option of a government plan is the best way to provide choice and competition."

The president intends to build on the employer-based insurance market already in place, Gibbs said. He added, though, that the public option would drive down costs and provide more options particularly for people who currently have limited options.

"There are places in this country unfortunately where if you don't get insurance through your job and you are seeking it on the private insurance market you don't have any choice but one health insurance company," he said.

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Gibbs said the riskiest option of all is leaving the status quo in place.

"We know that premiums will skyrocket -- for a family listening out there, your premiums will double in less than nine years if we do nothing," he said.

The president's town hall meetings have been an attempt to dispel the myths surrounding health care reform, Gibb said. He stressed, though, that most conversations on the topic have been civil.

"I think most of what you are seeing on TV, no offense, is good TV, and that's about it," he said. "I think the vast majority of people are having discussions, whether it is around their kitchen table or with their congressmen... and they are doing this the way every American discusses issues, and that is trying to get some information and some facts to make a good decision.

Gibbs added that the economy has "pulled back from the edge of going into a depression," but that there is still room for improvement.

"This president won't be satisfied that our economy is back on track again until the people that want to work in this economy can find a good paying job that lets them provide for their family," he said.