Pallone: 'More hopeful' that Senate will include public option

The head of a key House subcommittee said on Friday that he is "more hopeful" that the Senate will include a public option in their final healthcare reform bill.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee, took to Twitter on Tuesday to say that he is encouraged by recent developments in the Senate's effort to merge its two reform proposals:

More hopeful that Senate includes public option. A stronger option in House & Senate = more likely a better version survives conference.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been grappling with the decision of whether or not to include a public health insurance option in his chamber's final bill. Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has long said that a public plan could not earn the 60 votes necessary to guarantee cloture in the Senate.

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But recently, some centrist Democratic senators have indicated they would be open to a compromise on the public option that would allow states to opt out of a public health insurance plan.

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) said yesterday evening that Senate Democrats have 60 votes to invoke cloture on a bill with a public option without having to attract Republican support from centrist Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine). 

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room