Public Option a Go: Reid

Senate bill will include government health plan, with opt-out
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2009 4:07 PM CDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. gestures while speaking on health care reform during a news conference, Monday, Oct. 26, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
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(Newser) – Harry Reid will include a public insurance plan in the pending health care reform bill, with a provision allowing individual states to refuse to participate. The Senate majority leader’s bill is likely to include an “opt-out” version of the public plan, taken from the Senate health committee, as well as provisions for the creation of nonprofit health care cooperatives, taken from the finance committee’s version of the legislation.

Reid’s announcement could jeopardize the fate of the public option if opponents take it as a sign to ramp up efforts to block it, sources tell CNN. But it could also signal that Reid is confident, as he said today, that he has the support he needs. President Obama signaled that he was pleased by the inclusion of a public plan, which has “the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition,” spokesman Robert Gibbs said.