Is Ben Nelson Backing Off His Opposition To A Public Plan

May 28, 2009 1:38 p.m.
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According to Ryan Grim of The Huffington Post, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) told a gathering of labor and health care advocates that he’s now open to the idea of a public health insurance option.

“The good news for all sides involved is that he’s open minded,” said Barry Rubin, the former Executive Director for the Nebraska Democratic Party, who was in the meeting. “He’s not closed minded about a public option.”

Jane Kleeb, a top Democratic powerbroker in Nebraska, said Nelson’s openness to a public option was the biggest takeaway from the meeting.

“He made it clear that he is open to the public option. That’s not a line in the sand where he says it must be off the table for him to move forward on health care reform,” she said.

That’s a pretty abrupt about face. Just a couple weeks ago, he was perhaps the only member of the Democratic caucus who said he outright opposed the idea, calling it a “deal breaker.”

Of course, it would’ve been difficult for Nelson to say he’d foreclosed on the issue in front of this particular audience. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t genuinely changed his position.

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