On Sunday, the White House signaled that it is willing to give up on the public option in the Health Care bill. According to Politico:
President Barack Obama and his top aides are signaling that they’re prepared to drop a government insurance option from a final health-reform deal if that’s what’s needed to strike a compromise on Obama’s top legislative priority.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that the public option was “not the essential element” of the overhaul. A day earlier, Obama downplayed the public option during a Colorado town hall meeting, saying it was “just one sliver” of the debate.
He even chided Democratic supporters and Republican critics for becoming “so fixated on this that they forget everything else” — a dig at some liberals in his own party who have made the public option the main rallying cry of the health reform debate.
At the same time, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), one of six senators involved in bipartisan Finance Committee negotiations, all but declared the public option dead in the Senate.
“Look, the fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option,” said Conrad, who has pushed an alternative proposal to create a network of consumer cooperatives, on Fox News Sunday. “There never have been. So to continue to chase that rabbit, I think, is just a wasted effort.”
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