Senate Democratic Leaders Look For Public Option Compromise To Win Moderates
The Washington Post: "Democrats had little time to savor their weekend Senate health-care victory, as two of the lawmakers who voted to move the debate forward Saturday night indicated Sunday that they will not vote to pass the package if it includes a government-run insurance program."
"One member of the Democratic caucus, independent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.), reiterated Sunday that he will oppose any bill that contains a public option. Appearing on NBC's 'Meet the Press,' he called such a government-run plan 'radical.' ... Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), another centrist who supported the move to continue debate but has made it clear he has many objections to the legislation as currently written, restated his opposition to a public plan. ... Moderate Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) also have deep misgivings about the Senate language -- a public option with a state opt-out clause -- and have expressed varying degrees of unhappiness about other approaches under consideration." Meanwhile, "Some liberals in the chamber were just as insistent that they will press to keep the bill largely intact" (Murray, 11/23).
The Boston Globe, though, reports that some senators are optimistic about compromise on the public option. "One alternative senators might still consider would trigger a public plan in states where the private insurance industry fails to offer affordable choices. Sen. Olympia Snowe, Republican of Maine, presented this approach to a bipartisan group of Senate Finance Committee members negotiating on health care this summer, but liberals have thus far rejected it because they fear its implementation could be delayed" (Wangsness, 11/23).