Sanders: Public Option Critical to Health Reform

BURLINGTON, Vt., November 22 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today that without a strong public option, which would reduce health care costs by competing with private insurance companies, he expects a number of senators would not support final passage of health care legislation.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans want to be able to choose between a strong public option and a private insurance plan.  Without that competition, there is very little in this bill that would keep health insurance premiums from escalating rapidly,” Sanders said.  “This legislation cannot simply be a huge subsidy to private insurance companies that will get millions of new customers and be able to raise their rates as high as they want.

“I strongly suspect that there are number of senators, including myself, who would not support final passage without a strong public option,” he said.