Senate health care bill to include public option

by Greta Kaul

            Senate majority leader Harry Reid said Monday that he would include a contentious government-run plan in the health care legislation that is expected to reach the Senate floor within a few weeks, according to the New York Times.

            Currently, the bill gives states the freedom to adopt laws to opt out of the reform, the New York Times said.

            Democrats argue that a public health care option will lower costs and create competition in the health insurance market, according to Reuters.  Republicans call it a government takeover that will hurt private insurance companies, Reuters said.

            Senate Republicans are united in opposition to any bill that includes a public option, according to the New York Times.  Democrats will need all 58 Democratic votes in the Senate and at least two Independent or Republican votes to reach 60 votes to pass the legislation, the New York Times said.

            Democrats appear to be short of these numbers, as several caucus members have not committed to a vote yet, the New York Times said.

            President Obama is pleased that a public option will be included in the bill, Reuters said, though he does not consider it a mandatory part of health care reform.

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