Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) implored President Barack Obama on Wednesday to resist the calls of his fellow Democrats and altogether abandon the public option.
"He is under pressure, and when [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that a public option is essential to pass the House, she sort of threw down the gauntlet," Hutchison told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. "I know there is pressure, but if the president truly wants to bring America together and have Republicans sign onto this, he really does need to start all over with a new blueprint."
Hutchison explained she objected to the public option out of fear it would quickly become a "government takeover" that would inevitably usurp choice from the marketplace. When Mitchell pressed her on this, asking how the public option would do that, Hutchison fumbled a bit.
"It is going to turn into a takeover because... first of all, it's
going to be a government-subsidized option, if it's the co-op, its a government-subsidized co-op, and of course if it's the government plan, it's the government plan and it's going
to be subsidized by taxpayers," she said.
But the Texas Senator quickly regained her footing, adding, "You don't need all of these taxes... what you need is a free market out there, you need to keep the choices in health care."
Hutchison said she instead advocates a health care package that strongly approaches tort reform and offer tax credits to uninsured Americans. And asked whether no reform would be better than the ideas Democrats have recently proposed, she said: "I think a good reform is necessary; I think bad reform could be worse than nothing," she said. "If you put a government program in that takes over all of the private sector, you just can't undo it."