Sixth District Congressman James Clyburn says he wants a public option in the final health care reform bill but acknowledges that it might not survive compromise talks with the Senate. Appearing Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” the House Majority Whip says he could vote for a bill that doesn’t include the public option, but it still must contain certain features. “We want a public option to basically do three things; create more choice for insurers, create more competition for insurance companies, and contain costs. If we can come up with a process by which these three things can be done, then I’m all for it. Whether we label it a public option or not is of no consequence. What we want to do is to get good effective results from whatever we put in place,” Clyburn says.
Clyburn will serve on the Senate-House conference committee on health care legislation beginning in January .
Clyburn says early on in the process he questioned whether a robust public option was needed or could be passed. Clyburn says he is satisfied that the House measure includes a public option that is fair and brings competition for private insurance companies and is more inclusive in making 36 million more American eligible for Medicaid. “I said way back before we went out on our August break, that we need to take a hard look at this so-called robust public option that a lot of people had bought into, I never quite bought into that. was one of those people that thought we needed to come up with a hybrid part of which was to bring more people into Medicaid and that is what we did on the House side. We did a blended plan. We didn’t do what you may call a robust public option plan on the House side.”
Clyburn says the House plan is more inclusive by making 36 million more Americans eligible for Medicaid.