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Grassley Says Public Option is DOA in Senate

John on September 1, 2009 at 11:38 am

The latest on the constantly shifting tide of reform:

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley said Monday he remains hopeful a limited health care reform measure can be negotiated, but that a small bipartisan group of senators working on the issue agrees a government-run public option won’t be part of the package.

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., meanwhile, said an overhaul measure will be presented this year with or without bipartisan support — though he said a compromise would be far better than any bill pushed through solely by Democrats.

The senators are among a group of three Democrats and three Republicans on the pivotal Finance Committee who are negotiating a proposal to overhaul the nation’s health care system. Both said Monday they were hopeful a bipartisan deal could be reached.

“I think the chances are still good,” Baucus told The Associated Press. “I talked to (the Republicans) and they all want to do health care reform. But the sad part is a lot of politics have crept in.”

Grassley, the GOP’s key negotiator, expressed similar determination, but made clear he doesn’t expect a public health care option sought by President Barack Obama to be in a final deal.

“I’m still hopeful, but I’m hopeful based on I think you’re talking about something a little less sweeping than what we talked about before,” Grassley told the AP in a telephone interview.

Grassley in the past has roundly criticized the public option, but went a step further Monday in saying the core group of senators agreed such a provision would not be in a bill.

“It’s pretty clear that’s something not on the table,” Grassley said. “It’s fair to say that not every one of the six is opposed to it, but they realize the reality of it.”

The moment this is confirmed, it’s margarita time.

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Category: Health & Education |

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