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Public Option the Only Option in CBS 'Early Show' Interview

Following a report on the rise in bankruptcies due to medical bills, “The Early Show” offered the Obama administration more free advertising for its health care agenda.

Anchor Harry Smith interviewed controversial Health and Human services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on June 5 to learn more details about the proposed reform but didn’t bring on any free market health care experts to offer a different solution.

As point-person for the administration’s agenda on health care reform, Sebelius admitted they will push for a “public option” plan.

Smith asked , “Are we any closer to understanding, is this a single payer? What form will this really take?” Single payer would mean only one source of payment for health care, such as when the government takes over all payments in a nationalized program.

Sebelius replied, “Well, I think that the discussion that Congress is actively engaged in, in a very bipartisan way, is to create a health exchange. To create really a marketplace where you would have a public option side by side with private plans. And um, folks without insurance coverage or who may have coverage that is inadequate or not covering what they need to cover would have a choice.”

Sebelius also claimed a public option would lead to “competition in the marketplace.”

Smith failed to challenge Sebelius on the consequences of a public option plan, which free market health care experts say would actually destroy competition and create a government monopoly.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb explained in a May 12 Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Like Medicare, the ‘public option’ will control spending by using its purchasing clout and political leverage to dictate low prices to doctors. (Medicare pays doctors 20% to 30% less than private plans, on average.) While the public option is meant for the uninsured, employers will realize it's easier -- and cheaper -- to move employees into the government plan than continue workplace coverage.”

Sebelius advertised the plan as cost-lowering but without mentioning that could result in worse care. She also inflated the number of uninsured Americans, incorrectly citing “close to 50 million.”

According to Gottlieb, “Doctors will consolidate into larger practices to spread overhead costs, and they'll cram more patients into tight schedules to make up in volume what's lost in margin. Visits will be shortened and new appointments harder to secure.”

The Business & Media Institute debunked inflated claims of 47-50 million uninsured Americans in 2007 in Health Care Lie: ‘47 Million Uninsured Americans.’ In 2007, the total number of uninsured was 45.6 million according to the Census Bureau, but 9.7 million of those were non-citizens. The Kaiser Family Foundation, a liberal non-profit, put the number of chronically uninsured at roughly 8.2 million.