Sen. Harkin: final health care bill will have public option

Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who became chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee after the former chairman, the late Ted Kennedy, passed away in September, promised on Friday that a health care bill will be on President Obama’s desk before Christmas and will include a public option:

“I believe we are in an irrevocable position,” Harkin said on a conference call organized by the health care reform group Families USA. “The momentum is there. We will not get stopped by the obstructionists. We will have the votes.”

Sen. Harkin also noted only five of his fellow Democrats in the Senate are holding up progress toward a health care reform plan that includes a public option, and he was clear that he felt those five senators should “come on board” with the rest of Senate Democrats.

It’s good to see Sen. Harkin’s taking a hard line in pushing for a public option as a part of health care reform, but it obviously remains to be seen if those Democrats who aren’t supportive of a public option can be convinced to support a health care reform plan that includes a robust public option.


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2 thoughts on “Sen. Harkin: final health care bill will have public option

  1. I think Harkin is still naively optimistic about health care reform. When he ran for President in 1992, he promised that, if elected, he would sit everyone down in a room and not let anyone leave until they fixed the health care problem. Good luck with that.

    1. Jill, I agree. As I said, I’m happy to see Sen. Harkin pushing for a public option, but I think at this point it’s going to be damn near impossible to get a public option included as a part of any health care reform bill that comes out of the Senate.

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