Dems Push Harder for Public Insurance Option

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Congress continues work on health care reform legislation, and for Democrats, that means a big push for a public option.
A public option allows the government to sell health insurance to compete with private insurance. Liberals in the House say it "essential," and claim it will lower costs.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that, regardless of the final form the government options takes, it is a priority.

"At the end of the day we will have a public option in our legislation to keep the insurance companies honest and to provide real competition," Rep. Pelosi said. "So it's good, better, best, we're having that debate and members have to reflect and represent their districts."

Click play for more on possible provisions under the health care bill with attorney David Rivkin.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also may be leaning toward including a public option in the Senate version of health reform.

A government-run insurance is controversial, though, as many centrist lawmakers don't support the plan.

To make the proposal more palatable to moderate senators, lawmakers would allow individual states to drop out of the system. But that provision is unlikely to be included in the final House version of the bill.

Both the House and Senate measures aim to expand coverage to about 95 percent of the population. Federal subsidies would help lower-income families afford coverage and allow small businesses to cover their employees.

The two versions are very different, but both are said to be paid for through a combination of cuts in future Medicare spending and higher taxes.

Stay with for full coverage as the legislation develops over the next couple of weeks.

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