Merkley Applauds Inclusion of Public Option in Merged Senate Legislation

Washington, DC – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced
today that health care reform legislation to be considered by the full Senate
will include a public option.  Under this version, states would be able to
opt-out of the program.

Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, a member of the Senate
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and strong supporter of
a public option, issued the following statement on Reid’s announcement:

“It has been clear from the beginning of this debate that a
public option is absolutely necessary to provide consumers with more choice,
hold insurance companies accountable and keep costs down. 


“Senator Reid made the right decision to include this
critical component in the merged legislation.  States may choose to
opt-out based on their individual needs and the input of their citizens, but
this provision will ensure that most Americans will have the choice between
private insurance or a public plan that operates on a level playing
field.  This is a reasonable compromise to this issue and takes us one
step closer to action by the full Senate to finally pass health care reform and
fix our broken system.”