Nelson Comes Out for Public Option with “Triggers”

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September 7, 2009 5:06 a.m.

Yesterday, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) said he supports a public option…but only as a fallback mechanism if a modified health insurance market fails to provide affordable insurance to all consumers.

“If, somehow, the private market doesn’t respond the way that it’s supposed to…it would trigger a public option or a government-run option,” Nelson said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “but only as a fail safe, backstop to the process. And when I say trigger … I don’t mean a hair trigger. I mean a true trigger.”

Nelson is one of the Senate’s most conservative Democrats, and, as such, often a barometer for the sorts of measures that might win the one or two Republican votes needed to overcome Republican filibusters. And, tellingly, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) has endorsed the idea of affixing the public option to a trigger.

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