Howard Dean, former head of the Democratic National Committee and a vocal supporter of health care reform, told PBS Wednesday that he believes there will be a public option.
"The Republicans have no interest in health care reform ... The administration now realizes this is gonna be done with Democrats alone and that means there's gonna be a public option," Dean said, "because the vast majority of Democrats in Congress and, frankly, the majority of Americans think there ought to be a public option."
The fate of a public option has seemed uncertain in recent days. Last weekend, the White House seemed to back off its support, with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying it was not the "essential" piece of reform. (The administration later said nothing had changed.) Conservatives continue to describe it as "a government takeover of health care" and even "socialism," while centrist Democrats such as the Blue Dogs are telling their constituents they won't vote for a bill with a public option.
Yet, Dean seemed confident. He even cheered on the Blue Dogs for their efforts at negotiating.
"The Blue Dogs made the bill a better bill. And I continue to think it is going to be a very good bill in the end," he said. "It won't be perfect but it will be a real piece of reform that is badly needed."