Durbin: Healthcare bill doable this year

Sept. 13, 2009 at 4:10 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. healthcare reform is achievable this year with or without the cooperation of Republicans, a senior Democratic senator said Sunday.

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., the Democrats' second-ranking senator, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he believes a healthcare overhaul can be accomplished, and suggested there may be enough to votes to enact a controversial government-run "public option" component.

"We've got to understand that just taking small steps at this point won't stop the obvious increase in healthcare premiums, which are making it very difficult for individuals and families to pay for health insurance and a lot of businesses are dropping health insurance," Durbin said.

Adding that he "hopes" to have the support of Republican colleagues, Durbin said he believes that there will nevertheless be a reform bill ready by Thanksgiving.

Asked if were a sure thing that a "public option" component would fail in the Senate, Durbin said, "I wouldn't go that far. I would say at this point that the House of Representatives includes a clear public option."

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