Conservative And Liberal Democrats Warm To Public Option Compromise

Congressional Quarterly/Newscom
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Both conservative and liberal Democrats seem to be open to a new public option proposal floated by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Tom Carper (D-DE) to allow states not to participate in the plan if they decide they don’t want to.

A Baucus aide tells me “Senator Baucus will look closely at this proposal, as well as other proposals, and could consider supporting them as part of an overall package as long as it achieved his health care reform goals while getting 60 votes.”

Along the same lines, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) told Politico that he likes the idea of leaving the decision up to the states.On the other side of the party, Howard Dean says, if he were a member of the Senate, he would vote for the proposal, not because it’s his ideal public option, but because it would represent real reform.

And Richard Kirsch, the campaign director for Health Care for America Now says “It is clearly much better than triggers and opt-ins.”

Does this mean we’re reaching consensus? As I’ve noted, the idea is still very young, and has a long way to go. But it seems to be finding friends very quickly.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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