Durbin says he's 'open' to no public option

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on Sunday that he is "open" to a final healthcare bill that does not include a public health insurance option.

"I support a public option but yes, I am open," to its absence he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Durbin stressed that keeping the three Republican senators, Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), still negotiating with Finance Committee Democrats is key to passing a successful bill.

"We want to keep them negotiation we are determined to get a bill to the floor, it doesn't have to be a
perfect bill," he added. "I don't want this process filibustered to failure."

Durbin expressed that getting a bipartisan bill to the floor after recess was his top priority and that the conference committee could rectify differences between the House and Senate versions, including a public option.

Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) set a September 15 deadline to bring a bipartisan healthcare reform bill to a vote in his influential committee.Some Democrats have said they would force a party-line vote if the deadline is not met.