"The president feels that having a 'public option' side by side -- same playing field, same rules -- will give Americans choice and will help lower costs for everybody. And that's a good thing," Sebelius told CNN.
"The president does not want to dismantle privately owned plans. He doesn't want the 180 million people who have employer coverage to lose that coverage. He wants to strengthen the marketplace," Sebelius added.
Healthcare costs undermine the competitiveness of U.S. companies, drive many families into bankruptcy and eat up a growing portion of state and federal spending.
Versions of healthcare legislation unveiled by senior Democrats in the House and Senate include a new government insurance program. But Republicans are adamantly opposed to the idea, saying it could harm private insurers, and some of Obama's fellow Democrats are against it, too.
Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said there is not enough support in Congress for the "public option" even though proponents offer "very good arguments" for it.
"You've got to attract some Republicans as well as holding virtually all of the Democrats together. And that, I don't believe, is possible with the pure 'public option.' I don't think the votes are there," Conrad said on CNN.
You heard it here. You won't get Republican votes if you're putting their constituents ahead of the interests of private insurance companies. Who is voting for these people again?