Feingold: I would have liked a stronger healthcare bill

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) on Tuesday said he would have liked to have a stronger healthcare reform bill that the current compromise draft.

The liberal Feingold spoke to The Hill the day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) stripped the Medicare buy-in proposal from the heath bill.

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"I certainly think a stronger bill would be better in every respect, better policy ... but there are obviously some good things in the bill," he said. 

Reid's decision to remove from the bill the buy-in proposal and the public health insurance option has rankled liberals who viewed both provisions as key elements of the legislation. The buy-in would have allowed people between the ages of 55 and 64 to purchase coverage under the federal plan.

Reid stripped the bill of the provisions in part to attract centrist holdouts who oppose them. Democratic leaders are attempting to attract the 60 votes necessary to break a Republican filibuster of the bill.

Feingold last week told reporters that he was concerned about the removal of the public option from the bill but expressed enthusiasm about the Medicare buy-in.

The Wisconsin senator said he has not yet made a decision on whether to support the legislation.

"I am not making a judgment until I see the CBO numbers and that's only the beginning."