Reid, Carper to Unveil New Public Option

'Hammer public option' emerges as Plan B
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2009 7:41 AM CST
Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del. is seen outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
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(Newser) – Facing the reality that his "opt-out" public option doesn't have enough votes to clear the Senate, Harry Reid will reveal a Plan B public option next week in a bid to break the gridlock on health reform. The new plan, largely the work of Sen. Tom Carper, looks likely to feature a "hammer public option" recently touted by Carper, The Hill reports.

The "hammer" plan, a response to centrists' concerns about the heavy hand of government in Reid's plan, is a public option that would kick in only in states where private insurers don't meet standards of availability and affordability. The bill would establish a national public insurance program but have a non-governmental board run it. Carper said he is trying to “thread the needle” between conservative Dems who oppose a public option and liberals who insist on it.

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