Robert Gibbs tells Helen Thomas why Obama is against single payer health care
About that media blackout: stories go into the pipeline, they just don't seem to come out the other end very often. The March 5th White House press briefing transcript:
2:55 P.M. EST
Helen. Yes, ma'am.
Q In that respect, I want you to reconcile two things.
MR. GIBBS: Okay.
Q In prepared remarks the President said every voice must be heard. He also said, "I want it to be clear at the outset, everyone has a right to take part in the sessions." But you have barred two people who are strongly for single-payer. And Conyers had to beg to come.
MR. GIBBS: Who was barred?
Q You barred Dr. Angell -- Marcia Angell and Dr. Quentin Young, both staunch advocates of single-payer Medicare for all.
MR. GIBBS: Well, I am pretty sure that their -- those viewpoints are represented in that room.
Q Why were they barred?
MR. GIBBS: I will certainly check on -- I told Chip we rented a big room, but we didn't get the Nationals' baseball stadium. There's a lot of people that are involved. There were a limited number of seats, but a lot of different viewpoints. We could have had 535 members of Congress, in addition to all these stakeholders, because I think everybody is going to be involved in this.
I would also say I think this is the first of many discussions and many issues --
Q I think it was quite an insult to Conyers.
MR. GIBBS: Well, I -- look, there were a lot of members of Congress that wanted to come and were added to the list. Again, I think there's a lot of people that are involved in this process; the bill will go through many committees and I think -- I think a lot of different viewpoints will be expressed today. And I think many of those viewpoints will have somebody to make them.
Q Why is the President against single-payer?
MR. GIBBS: The President doesn't believe that's the best way to achieve the goal of cutting costs and increasing access.
This is a pretty unhappy answer; I hope Mr. Gibbs is exaggerating. But then again, hope is not a plan.