The public option has "new life" in the Senate, a leading proponent of the plan said today.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has pushed hard for the inclusion of a government-run insurance program, praised Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for including a compromise version of the public option in his merged bill.

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"Leader Reid has always been a strong supporter of a public option that could help keep the insurers honest, and today he showed just how deep his commitment is," Schumer said.

"The public option has new life because as Americans have learned more about it, they have come to see it is the best way to reduce costs and increase competition in the health insurance industry."

Schumer, who has reportedly worked hard behing the scenes to round up votes for a compromise, said that the "opt-out" clause wasn't ideal but was the best Democrats could get.

"This form of public option is not exactly what either liberals or moderates would want," Schumer said. "But a public plan based on a level playing field, with an opt-out for states, is the best compromise that has the potential of getting 60 votes in the Senate.”

The New York Democrat's comments suggests he prefers an opt-out clause to a "trigger" plan.