The White House is willing to make a push for the public option if Senate Democrats decide to bring it up for a vote, Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said tonight.
Eighteen Senators have signed a letter asking Harry Reid to push for the public option using reconciliation, which would allow Democrats to pass it with just 51 votes. (Republicans may be able to slow or halt the processing with procedural objections.)
Appearing on MSNBC tonight, Sebelius said the administration would back that decision.
"Certainly. If it's part of the decision of the Senate leadership to move forward, absolutely," she told Rachel Maddow.
The public option has long been seen as dead, since there are not 60 votes for it in the Senate. But the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts means Democrats may have to resort to reconciliation to pass parts of healthcare reform regardless of whether they include a public option or not.
That development has led progressive to make a renewed push for a government-run insurance plan.