The office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Friday provided a hint that the top senator could reintroduce the public health insurance option under the right circumstances.

In a carefully-worded statement, Reid spokesman Rodell Mollineau addressed majority leader's stance on the government-run plan for the first time since a group of senators sparked talks of passing it using the controversial budget reconciliation process, which only requires the approval of 51 senators. 

Mollineau said:

Senator Reid has always and continues to support the public option as a way to drive down costs and create competition. That is why he included the measure in his original health care proposal.

If a decision is made to use reconciliation to advance health care, Senator Reid will work with the White House, the House, and members of his caucus in an effort to craft a public option that can overcome procedural obstacles and secure enough votes.

The public plan was thought to be dead when Reid stripped it from the final healthcare bill in December because he could not attract enough centrist support with the bill included.

But a letter circulating among Democratic senators has given some Democrats hope that the plan could become law. 

Senate Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)  on Thursday became the first senator to sign the bill, bringing the total number of signatories to 17 and adding even more momentum behind the push.

But the inclusion of the public option is still a far way from becoming reality in part because of hangups that Mollineau tacitly acknowledged in his statement.

Reid will serve as the ultimate arbiter of whether or not the senators will pass healthcare reform legislation using the reconciliation process. And it's while its clear that Democratic leaders are weighing the use of reconciliation to pass a bill, they have still not arrived at a final decision.

Still, Reid's statement indicates that the leaders are considering the reintroducing the public option alongside their deliberations on reconciliation.

Republicans have scoffed at the renewed push for a public plan, saying it is out of step with what the majority of Americans want.

They have also said that the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) should serve as indication that the public does not want Democrats to push through with their current healthcare bill.