In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Baucus: The Public Option Is Alive...We're Just Not Sure What Type

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"It's alive," Baucus said. "We're trying to see what makes the most sense."

The admission is a fairly candid one for Baucus, who typically demurs at the mention of the public option, and pivots to the idea that the priority for Democrats ought to be a bill that can get 60 votes.

And he did ultimately hit that point, casting doubt on the idea that a health care bill that includes a public option that pays hospitals and doctors at Medicare-like rates, could overcome a filibuster. "I don't know if there's 60 votes for the more pure kind of public option, maybe for the less pure kinds," Baucus said.

But he declined to elaborate on just which compromises might succeed. "It's just It's too early to tell. We met, our group...last, I guess it was Thursday. We're meeting again today....There are a lot of meetings going on, to try to determine the answer to that question," Baucus said. "Maybe none, maybe one of them."

About The Author

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com