Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), one of the most conservative members of Congress, raised some eyebrows today when he seemed to offer support a single-payer health insurance system.

Shadegg blasted the for-profit health insurance industry during an appearance on MSNBC today, finally declaring, "I would support single payer."

He quickly clarified his comment, saying he would simply like to see health insurance companies have more competition.

"I would support forcing American healthcare companies to compete right," he said "Now they have a monopoly."

That's similar to the argument Democrats have made for the public option, and in a statement to The Hill, Shadegg's office said a public option would be better than requiring individuals to buy insurance from the for-profit sector.

Here's the full statement, followed by the video of his interview today:

Congressman Shadegg believes health insurance companies should have to compete for our business as individual consumers.  Forcing them to compete, even through a public option, would be better than an individual mandate which will not work.  Specifically, on MSNBC he stated his position as follows:
“I would support forcing American health care [insurance] companies to compete…It is immoral in this society to say if you get health care from your employer, it’s tax-free.  But if you want to go out and buy it yourself, you work for a lawn mowing company in Arizona in my district, and you want to buy your own health insurance, you’ve got to buy it with after-tax dollars and this bill doesn’t fix that.  This bill says to that poor lawn man, you must buy health insurance, or your government is going to fine you, and you must buy it from the same for-profit companies that are not doing a very good job of holding down costs right now.”