Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a key player on the Senate Finance Committee who has nevertheless been critical of the bill, said that he would first need to see the actual bill before he commits to supporting it.
“What you’re hearing from Americans by any measure—whether its by town hall meetings, polls or through the mail—is that they are increasingly uncomfortable with the idea that they would be forced to buy health insurance with the prospect of higher premiums and not being able to get the choice of an alternative,” he said.
Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also said he wants to see stronger coverage guarantees.
“I’m going to make sure that as many Americans as possible have access to that public option because we think the American people are not happy with private health insurance companies and they want the choice of a public plan,” he said.
Further, a handful of the Democrats said they steadfastly oppose a public health plan.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana said he is working to get both sides to negotiate a deal. “They’re going to have to start talking to each other,” he said. “We need 60 votes. I’m talking to them.”
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has been working in lockstep with the Congressional Budget Office as it determines the financial impact the Senate’s reform package will have, said he expects to have a bill firmed up “very soon,” but declined to offer a timeline.
“Everything is moving along just fine,” he said.
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