Brown: Obama Implicitly Demanded a Public Option

September 9, 2009 5:54 pm

On a conference call with reporters just now, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said that Obama’s decision to adopt Sen. Max Baucus’ $900 billion financing scheme was a “major concession,” but gave Obama high marks for his statement on the public option.

“He wants to always be open to ideas…but he sets his standard. And the standard is it’s gotta offer better choice… it’s got to discipline insurance companies… and it’s got to bring prices down,” Brown said in response to a question from TPMDC. “The other options don’t even come close to doing it.”

Brown’s statement amounts to a belief that Obama has implied a demand for a public option. Obama has insisted that the plan he signs must increase competition and bring prices down. But though he’s said he’s open to triggers and co-ops, Brown says those options fall short enough that they likely won’t meet the President mark. “I think he laid it out in a way that only a public option will get us where we want to go.”

I asked Brown whether he would be supportive if Obama ultimately came to the conclusion that one or both of the alternatives–a co-op or a trigger plan–do meet his criteria. Brown said he’d have to wait and see, but said he’d only be supportive if he were convinced that the policies on offer would meet those goals.

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