Schumer: Opt-Out Public Option Gaining Steam

Lauren Victoria Burke
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We’re chasing the ball on a new idea (is it a trial balloon? is it the magic answer?) to pass a health care bill with a public option that states–likely small, and conservative states–could choose not to participate in.

As I reported last night, the idea comes from Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), and is being pushed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)–a man with no shortage of clout on the Hill. Appearing on MSNBC a few moments ago, Schumer said the idea’s gaining traction.

“That’s one of the things being very seriously considered,” Schumer said. “I’m not going to — we have a range of things we’re considering. Senator Carper and I met for quite a while last night and made progress and talked to a large number of members last night, yesterday. And I am optimistic that there will be some kind of public option in the bill the president signs. I’m very optimistic.”That’s important. Looks like they’re really selling this idea pretty hard. Some key questions, which we’ll try to answer today: Who’s been approached about this? Will it assuage conservative Democrats who’ve been resistant to the public option? And will progressives, particularly in the House, be satisfied by a public option that may not be national, but that would leave that tough political decision to the governments of conservative states? We’ll try to get you answers to all those questions.

Late update: Here’s video.

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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