The new chairman of the Senate HELP Committee said a public option won't be deal breaker for moderate Democrats.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who just replaced Ted Kennedy as head of the committee, said his centrist colleagues might accept a bill with a public option even if they aren't crazy about it.

"Some of my colleagues may not like a public option, but they like all the other things and I don't think they'll vote against the bill just because it has the public option in it," Harkin said on MSNBC.

The HELP Committee, however, shares jurisdiction over healthcare with the Finance Committee, whose chairman says the public option lacks the votes to make it through the Senate.

"It would not pass the full Senate," Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) told The Hill on Tuesday. "There are not enough votes in the Senate for a public option."

Baucus's own draft legislation does not include a government plan.