Senators are considering three different designs for a new government health insurance plan that middle-income Americans could buy into for the first time, congressional officials said. Officials familiar with the proposals said senators plan to debate them in a closed meeting next week. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the controversial plans have not been released.
Creating a public plan is one of the most contentious ideas in the debate over how to overhaul the nation's healthcare system to cover the uninsured and try to restrain costs.
President Barack Obama and many Democrats say a government option would serve as a check to keep the private insurance industry honest.
Insurers fear the government would use its power to drive them out of business. And Republicans call a public plan in the legislation a dealbreaker, dashing hopes for bipartisan legislation for overhauling the healt h insurance system. Employer groups are also opposed.