Nelson, Conrad Say Dems, White House Leaning Toward Including Public Option In Senate Health Care Bill

October 22, 2009 10:16 a.m.

If this is accurate, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) gets a medal for prescience and Sen. Olympia Snowe’s decision may be made for her. Two high profile conservative Democrats are saying they hear that Senate and White House health care negotiators are leaning toward including the public option in the base bill that they bring to the Senate floor.

“I keep hearing there is a lot of leaning toward some sort of national public option, unfortunately, from my standpoint,” said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE). “I still believe a state-based approach is the way in which to go. So I’m not being shy about making that point.”

“What I’m hearing is this is the direction of the conversation,” said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND).

Reid’s office is not commenting on the speculation. But if Nelson and Conrad’s understanding is correct it would be bombshell news. Reid and the White House have been under intense pressure from the Democratic base to include a public option in the bill that comes to the Senate floor. If they accede, it would all but assure that if a health care bill os enacted by Congress, it will include a national public option. We’ll pay close attention

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