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Dodd Reiterates Support for Public Plan in Health Care Bill

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who is managing the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s markup of health care reform legislation, reiterated Thursday his support for a “strong— public plan.

During a break in the middle of Day Two of the HELP Committee’s markup of its health care reform bill, Dodd vowed to reporters to work five days a week until the panel finishes its work. Dodd said details of what type of government-run insurance option the HELP legislation will include could be available within the next couple of days.

“We’re going to plow ahead,— Dodd, who is managing the health package in Sen. Edward Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) absence, said. “One thing I’m not going to do is stop working.—

“I happen to be very strong for a public plan option,— Dodd added. “It’s one certain way to drive down cost.—

The Republicans are almost unanimously opposed to a public plan; some moderate Democrats are also against it.

Meanwhile, Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Thursday afternoon convened a closed-door meeting of Democratic and Republican Senators to continue his panel’s work on a health care bill.

Finance and HELP are set to merge their bills following their respective markup sessions, although Finance has delayed its markup, originally set to begin next Tuesday. Senators, at the urging of President Barack Obama, are hoping to clear a health reform package before they adjourn on Aug. 7 for the August recess.

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