Early Morning Swim: KO Interviews Howard Dean on Public Health Care Option

With Harry Reid at the helm, what’s there to worry about?

Critics say a government-sponsored option could drive out private insurers and potentially lower the quality of health care. Some fear that such a program would hurt those who have a plan they like, because employers would opt for the government program if it were less expensive.

"A public plan is a non-starter," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, leaving the Capitol meeting. "They’re trying to come up with various ways to have a public plan without calling it that."

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, who chairs one of the committees writing the Senate bill, said negotiators "are trying to thread the needle" to create a so-called "public option" that Republicans might support.

"The government-run plan is most concerning to most Republicans, so we’re trying to figure out a way to help keep the insurance companies feet to the fire in a way that doesn’t frighten Republicans away because it sounds too much like government," Baucus said.

I don’t remember Republican Senators fretting publicly about how they were going to placate Democrats when the GOP controlled the Senate, do you?

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