Specter Once Again Shows Openness to Health Care Public Plan

Posted May 18, 2009 at 2:47pm

Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), who recently bolted to the Democratic Party, reiterated Monday that he is open to voting for a public plan option as a part of major health care legislation.

Specter, who left the GOP late last month, had been opposed to a government-run insurance option as a part of health care reform, Since his switch, however, he has softened his position, and said on the Senate floor Monday that he is intrigued by a public plan proposal recently offered by Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.).

“I am open to some intervention of a public plan,— Specter said.

Specter suggested that he is opposed to the creation of any government bureaucracy that would replace private health insurance. But he said that Schumer’s plan, which is intended to offer government-run coverage as an option, is worth exploring.

Schumer’s plan calls for a government-run insurance option that would operate under the same rules and regulations as private coverage. Critics charge that the government could change the rules at any time, which could drive consumers away from private coverage and to a public plan.