Call him Roland, the health care gunslinger.
U.S. Sen. Roland Burris told a crowd of medical students at Cook County Hospital today that he wouldn't compromise on his demand that any health care plan have a public option.
"Now is not the time to back down. Now is the time to act with conviction," Burris said. "We must restore competition and choice to the health care insurance industry."
Burris said that Sen. Harry Reid's proposal to let states opt-out of the public option wasn't in the nation's best interest, but stopped short of saying he wouldn't vote for it.
"I will not vote for any reform legislation that fails to include a strong public option. I will not vote for it. I hope you all will back me up on that," Burris said to applause.
Burris said he's received no pressure from the White House on his position.
This is the first substantial issue on which Burris, who's been largely ignored due to his appointment by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, has attracted media attention.