White House, Reid hug it out over public option

The administration pushes back against rumors that top Democrats are moving in different directions

By Alex Koppelman

Published October 26, 2009 2:45PM (EDT)

If you believe the rumors -- and considering how widespread they are, you probably should -- then President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have come to different conclusions about what to include in the healthcare reform bill.

Reid reportedly favors a more liberal plan than Obama does; the majority leader is said to support a proposal that would allow states to opt out of the government-run insurer, while the president has gotten behind the idea of a "trigger," an idea championed by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, under which the public option would only kick in if private insurers fail to meet certain goals.

The official word from the White House, though, is that everything is smiles, hugs and rainbows. Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer took to the White House blog on Sunday night in order to write:

A rumor is making the rounds that the White House and Senator Reid are pursuing different strategies on the public option. Those rumors are absolutely false.

In his September 9th address to Congress, President Obama made clear that he supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition. That continues to be the President's position.

Senator Reid and his leadership team are now working to get the most effective bill possible approved by the Senate. President Obama completely supports their efforts and has full confidence they will succeed and continue the unprecedented progress that is being made in both the House and Senate.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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