White House accused of sending mixed messages on health care

As is so often the case in U.S. politics, comedian Jon Stewart may have said it best this week as the Obama administration sent mixed messages in the midst of passionate national debate on health-care reform.

WASHINGTON — As is so often the case in U.S. politics, comedian Jon Stewart may have said it best this week as the Obama administration sent mixed messages in the midst of passionate national debate on health-care reform.

“Mr. President, I can’t tell if you’re a Jedi, 10 steps ahead of everything, or if this whole health-care thing is kicking your ass just a little bit,” a bewildered Stewart said in a segment of “The Daily Show,” a major source of news for young Americans, earlier this week.

“Why is this so hard? Why can’t you guys just stay on message?”

The dig came as the White House appeared to be backing away from government health insurance in its sweeping health-care reform plans that aim, in part, to help as many as 50 million uninsured Americans get coverage.

President Barack Obama and his health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, downplayed the importance of the so-called public option in weekend remarks. Sebelius said the administration was also looking at non-profit health care co-operatives as an alternative.

But on Tuesday, the White House press secretary disputed the notion that the administration has shifted its position.

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