Conrad, Grassley: Public option dead

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Kent Conrad, D-N.D., agreed Sunday that a "public option" component won't be part of a healthcare reform package.

Speaking Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, Grassley criticized the idea to establish a government-run plan to compete with private insurers as a recipe to eventually "get to only one option," while Conrad asserted the votes for a public option were not there in the Senate.


Grassley said Republican colleagues could support member co-ops as alternatives to a public option, saying, "The co-op plan that we have come up with, if it's run like Midwest co-ops that we've known for 150 years would be consumer-oriented, the benefits of it would go to the consumer, it would be regulated just like other insurance companies."

Conrad, meanwhile, bluntly asserted that despite the support of President Barack Obama and many liberal supporters, the public option is doomed in the Senate.

"It is very clear that in the United States Senate, the public option does not have the votes," he said. "If we have to get to 60 votes, you cannot get there with public option. That's why I was asked to come up with an alternative."


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