Single-payer healthcare should be "on the table" in the healthcare debate, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) said yesterday.

Specter made the comments at an AFL-CIO meeting in Pittsburgh yesterday. The convention voted to pursue a single-payer plan.

"Although there's not a lot of support of single-payer, I believe it should be on the table," Specter told the audience. "At a minimum, we shouldn't settle for anything less than a robust public option."

The comments indicate just how much work Specter is doing to woo organized labor now that he's a Democrat. As a Republican, he did not support even a public option.

But facing a primary challenge from Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), Specter desperately needs the support of labor's political muscle. He's also working to hammer out a legislative compromise on the Employee Free Choice Act, one of the AFL-CIO's highest priorities.