Public option called essential
Several leading Democrats objected to signals from senior Obama administration officials that they would abandon the idea of a government-run insurance plan if it lacked the backing to pass Congress. President Obama had pushed a nonprofit, government-sponsored insurance plan as an alternative to existing insurance companies. Over the weekend, he minimized the importance of a public option, saying at an event in Colorado that it was "just one sliver" of his overall effort to reduce healthcare costs and expand coverage. One Democrat predicted that without the provision, the bill could lose as many as 100 votes in the chamber.
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