But a White House official told the New York Times "It's so important to get a deal [that Obama] will do almost anything it takes to get one," which strikes some as an all-too-apt description of the White House's mentality.
Many believe that the administration--reportedly in fevered negotiations with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)--will put their efforts into securing a health care reform bill that calls for a public option as a fallback--to be triggered at a later date if and only if private insurers don't manage to rein in premium prices on their own.
House progressives have vowed to oppose such a scheme and some are renewing their insistence that they won't accept such a compromise.
If that effort fails, the thinking is that the "reconciliation" option--which circumvents a filibuster, and could allow Congress to enact a fairly robust public plan--could still be in play.
That said, the process is still very fluid, and much still hinges on what happens in the days leading up to the President's landmark health care address before Congress next week.
The leader of one major reform group said that they have received absolutely no communications whatsoever from the White House regarding the content of the President's speech or anything that would indicate from them a change in their position on the public option.
But that appears, for now, to be the optimistic take.