House Dems Relax Stance on HC Public Option

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Two top House Democrats are softening their stance on healthcare reform legislation saying a government insurance plan may have to be sacrificed in the interest of hammering out a final agreement with the Senate.

House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D- Md., among the most ardent proponents of the so-called public option, are now saying they would support a bill that does not include it.

They said they could forego the public option if the bill contains something similar to it.

"We want a public option to do basically three things: create more choice for insurers; create more competition for insurance companies; and to contain costs," House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, D- S.C., told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

"So if we can come up with a process by which these three things can be done, then I'm all for it. Whether or not we label it a public option or not is of no consequence" he said.

Hollen added, "Before the House was to give up the public option, we would want to be persuaded that there are other mechanisms in whatever bill comes out that will keep down premiums."

On Christmas Eve, the U.S. Senate passed their healthcare reform bill. Now the House and the Senate must settle on common legislation, pass it and send it to the president.

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said House Democrats are going to have a tough time getting enough of their members to vote for a watered-down compromise bill.

To contact your representative and senator, call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your senators' and/or representative's office. Or find your representative's contact information on the links below. Let your voice be heard.

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Related Link:

Click here to see a side by side comparison of the health care bills in Congress and the Senate.

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