The Associated Press is now reporting that the White House is considering dropping the "public option" from the Obama administration's health care plan, with Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noting that the public option is "not the essential element" of the reform.

The alternative, reports the New York Times, would be a system of "nonprofit cooperatives," set up to provide a choice for citizens who can not afford the costs of private health insurance. "I think there will be a competitor to private insurers," Sebelius says, "That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing. We need some choices, we need some competition." [NYTimes] [AP]