In it, but not of it. TPM DC

White House: Public Option Not Essential--A Sliver Of Reform

Back in July, Obama said health care reform legislation "must include an insurance exchange: a one-stop shopping marketplace where you can compare the benefits, cost and track records of a variety of plans - including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest - and choose what's best for your family."

Later, though he issued a caveat: "I think in theory you can imagine a cooperative meeting that definition. Obviously, sort of the legal structure of it is less important than practically how can it operate."

House progressives, meanwhile, have vowed to oppose a health care reform bill that doesn't include a public option--an inconvenient reality for the White House, and one which could set the stage for a major show down after the August recess comes to the end.

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