Dem congresswoman: single payer 'part of the conversation'

A single payer healthcare system is still "part of the conversation" in the ongoing reform efforts, one Democratic lawmaker said Monday.

Rep. Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.) said that advancing single payer system was still part of some Democrats' efforts on crafting healthcare reform, after they were forced to abandon such a plan in favor of a public (or "government-run") option (which she characterized as the "next best" alternative).

"I think single payer is really part of the conversation right now," Clark said during an appearance on MSNBC, pointing to work by Education and Labor Committee Democrats to insert an amendment while marking up the healthcare bill allowing states the option of establishing a single payer system.

"In the Education and Labor Committee, we voted for an amendment that will be part of the bill that will speaks to states having the right to choose a single payer process," she said.

"Each state has a right, under the Constitution, to make those types of determinations," Clark added. "We're simply setting up the framework for a new healthcare reform delivery system."

Republicans have fretted that the public option would eventually lead to a single payer system, using that line of attack as a cudgel against Democrats' current healthcare reform plans in Congress.