Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, released the following statement today after his meeting with President Obama at the White House to discuss health care reform:

"The President said today, as he's been saying since this debate got underway, that we can't put health care reform on hold for another year, another decade or another century.
"I couldn't agree more.

"We need to stop the rising costs that are bankrupting working families, small businesses, and our economy. We must hold insurance companies more accountable by ending denials of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and make exorbitant out-of-pocket costs and arbitrary caps on coverage a thing of the past.

"These reforms must be fiscally responsible and not add to the deficit.

"The President's plan, which incorporates ideas from both parties, offers us the best chance for success to achieve these goals.

"I also support a public option as a means to promote choice and competition. In town halls and conversations I've had with Coloradans across the state, I have heard from numerous people who year after year have paid for private insurance only to discover that when they needed coverage, it wasn't there. Many Coloradans who have had such experiences are understandably unhappy that somebody profited from that commercial transaction.

"There is no reason why people shouldn't have as many options as possible to choose from, including a public option. A public option should be just that, an option, one of a number of choices - public, private and non profit - that families and small business can choose from.

"We need to get health care reform done and, just as important, done right. The American people are counting on us to make the hard choices, and enact reform that makes a positive, material difference in their lives - it's time we show them that we are equal to the task."

- Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado