Feingold blasts White House's 'lack of support' for public option

A leading Senate proponent of the public option blasted the White House for a "lack of support" for the provision's inclusion in health reform legislation.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) said he would vote in favor of the Senate's healthcare bill, but not without taking a terse shot at the White House.

"I’ve been fighting all year for a strong public option to compete with the insurance industry and bring health care spending down," Feingold said Sunday in a statement. "Unfortunately, the lack of support from the administration made keeping the public option in the bill an uphill struggle."

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Feingold had been amongst a group of more liberal lawmakers in the Senate who had been pushing for the public option, a provision of the healthcare that was dropped by party leaders as part of concessions to win centrist Democrats' support in the upper chamber.

Liberal activists had previously criticized the Obama administration for not throwing its full weight behind the public option, a sentiment which Feingold openly voiced in his statement.

"But while the loss of the public option is a bitter pill to swallow, on balance, the bill still delivers meaningful reform, and the cost of inaction is simply too high," the Wisconsin senator said.

Feingold also said he'd be working with lawmakers in the House and Senate who will be working on a conference report to try to reinsert the public option.

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