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Senate Moderates Discuss Opposing Public Option, Nelson Says

Senate Democratic moderates huddled privately Tuesday to discuss health care, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) confirmed, and the bloc is emerging as an early foe of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) plan to include a public insurance option in a final health care reform bill.Also Tuesday, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) reaffirmed her opposition to the public insurance option, telling reporters late in the day that she is against anything akin to a government-funded and operated entity. Lincoln declined to say whether such a measure would lead her to vote against a motion to proceed on a comprehensive health care bill.“We haven’t seen the bill. I don’t know what [Reid] sent to [the Congressional Budget Office]. So I’m going to wait until I see what’s out there,— said Lincoln, a key moderate who faces the prospect of a tough re-election in 2010. “If it’s government-run and government-funded, that’s the biggest concern that any of us have, at least for me.—Reid announced Monday that he had settled on a public insurance option with an “opt out— provision for states that do not want to participate. The Majority Leader said he views this measure as the best way to hold the support of Senate liberals who want a robust public option, while also providing the centrists political breathing room back home.

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