GOP senator sees 'tremendous progress' if Obama drops public plan, co-ops

The Senate could make "tremendous progress" on healthcare reform in weeks if President Obama drops the public option or nonprofit cooperatives from consideration, one Republican senator said Tuesday.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said that a great deal of the prospects for healthcare reform hinges on what Obama tells lawmakers during a joint session address to Congress tomorrow night.

"I believe we could make tremendous progress by the middle of the month, and actually find a significant number of provisions that would significantly improve the healthcare picture in the United States," Crapo said during a news conference with Idaho reporters.

The president is expected to detail his favored healthcare reforms in his speech tomorrow.

Crapo, like many Republicans, said that the public (or "government-run") option would be a nonstarter with the GOP, leading to an even more protracted debate over health reform.

"If the president continues to insist that some type of government takeover or government option be included -- even if he tries to cloak it in the context of a set of cooperatives that were established by the government -- I think that will result in the continuation of this strong battle over the direction of the plan," Crapo said.