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U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison has been among the most ardent supporters of the so-called public option. In the past he's explicitly stated that he won't vote for a bill that doesn't create a government-run health care plan to compete with private companies. But in an interview with PIM today, Ellison wouldn't rule out supporting a bill that lacks such a provision.

Ellison won’t rule out voting for health care bill lacking public option

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison

Many liberals have been stewing since the U.S. Senate opted to drop the public option from its health care bill in order to corral 60 votes and stave off a Republican filibuster. Among the most ardent supporters of a government-run health care plan to compete with private insurance companies has been U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.

“I still believe the public option is essential,” Ellison said this afternoon in an interview with PIM. “I’m not willing to give up on that.”

Ellison insists that there’s still a chance to revive the public option. He hopes to pressure House and Senate conferees to include such a provision in the final bill.

“The public option has been declared dead numerous times along the way and it keeps on surviving,” Ellison said. “If people stay strong and keep pushing we’ll be alright.”

The Minneapolis Democrat has stated unequivocally in the past that he wouldn’t support a bill that lacked a public option. But today he wouldn’t close out that possibility.

“That has not happend yet,” he said of the prospect of voting on a bill without a public option. “I’m not there yet. I’ll deal with that when it comes up.”


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