OPIOID SERIES:

Obama supports Senate efforts to find compromise on public insurance option

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaJudge rules against Trump administration in teen pregnancy prevention case Parkland student rips Obama for essay on shooting survivors Obama pens Time 100 entry for Parkland survivors MORE said Wednesday that he supports the effort by Senate Democrats to reach a compromise on the public option.

Obama said the Senate had made “critical progress with a creative new framework” that he believes would help pave the way for final passage.

“I support this effort, especially since it’s aimed at increasing choice and competition and lowering costs,” Obama said.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination The Memo: Teens rankle the right with gun activism Dems to party: Go on offense with Trump’s alleged affairs MORE (D-Nev.) late Tuesday announced that 10 centrist and liberal Democrats had reached a broad deal on healthcare. Their agreement would replace the public health insurance option in the Senate bill with a new system that would have the Office of Personnel Management negotiate insurance polices that would be administered by private firms.

Another part of the compromise would allow people between the ages of 55 and 64 who lack insurance to enter the Medicare program.

The compromise is aimed at winning the votes of the Senate’s 58 Democrats and two Independents, who both caucus with Democrats.  

It is unclear whether the effort will win the support of Senate liberals who want the public option, though liberal Sen. Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Overnight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term MORE (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday evening suggested he could support the deal in order to move healthcare forward.

Some outside groups on Wednesday pressured liberal senators to oppose the new deal. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee called on Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOvernight Finance: Senate repeals auto-lending guidance, shattering precedent with vote | House passes IRS reform bills | Senate GOP fears tax cut sequel Dem Senator open to bid from the left in 2020 GOP Senate hopefuls race to catch up with Dems MORE (D-Ohio), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders, Warren, O’Rourke inspire patriotic small donor waves Bill Press reflects on Clinton, Sanders and a life in politics Overnight Health Care: GOP pushes stiff work requirements for food stamps | Johnny Isakson opens up about family's tragic loss to opioids | Republicans refuse to back vulnerable Dem's opioids bill | Dems offer new public option plan MORE (I-Vt.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Roland Burris (D-Ill.) to block the bill and demand that the Senate use budget reconciliation rules to move healthcare. Liberal groups support the use of those rules because it could mean that only 51 votes would be needed to dispense with procedural moves that would otherwise block the bill.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed questions about whether Obama would rather have a public option in the bill, dismissing them as hypothetical. "You're asking me if the president would rather he'd won the lottery," Gibbs said.

Asked if the president believed he did everything he could for the public option, Gibbs responded, "Yes."