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GOP: Public Plan Option Big Obstacle To Health Reform

Democrats and Republicans moved further apart this afternoon over the possibility of including a public plan in any health care reform legislation.

Roll Call: “Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) emerged from a Thursday afternoon negotiating session on health care reform and conceded that the Senate is unlikely to clear a bill that lacks a public plan option.”

“Baucus’ concession that a government-run, public insurance option will likely be included in the reform bill could sink its bipartisan support. Additional items are also making compromise difficult, including the issues of government mandates and how to pay for it. ‘Our caucus is very much against [a public plan.] It’s kind of a litmus test,’ Grassley said. “That’s all you can say. There’s no follow-up question that you can ask me. There’s no further statement I can make about it.'”

Associated Press: “‘Didn’t help. It hurt’ the chances for a bipartisan agreement, said Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, top Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. ‘We were making great progress up until yesterday,’ Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, told CNBC. “The president laid down a fairly significant partisan marker when he said the proposal has to have a public plan.”

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