Landrieu Warming to Public Insurance Option

Posted November 4, 2009 at 12:45pm

Moderate Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) signaled Wednesday that her opposition is softening to the public insurance option and to her leadership’s forthcoming health care reform bill.One day after Landrieu reiterated her opposition to the public insurance option, she suggested she might be able to support it with an opt-out provision for the states being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Landrieu, who won re-election last year, said Tuesday’s off-year elections have not influenced her approach to the health care debate.“I think we have got to move forward with reform that reduces costs and improves choices,— Landrieu told reporters. “The president was right to move us in the direction of finding a way to turn this cost curve down. We cannot accomplish any of our domestic goals and objectives without doing this.—“The public option,— Landrieu continued, “has been shaped 100 percent better than when it started out. So, it’s already shaped to be a public option that is supported by premiums.—Landrieu said she and her fellow Democratic moderates are working on language to improve the proposal. Landrieu said she isn’t ready to support the measure, but added: “What this bill is accomplishing is a new way to deliver health care in this country that reduces cost and gives more choice to people.—The Louisiana Senator’s comments Wednesday reflect a sharp turn from the resistance she has expressed in recent days. On Tuesday, Landrieu told reporters she favored a proposal by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) that would call for a public insurance option to be “triggered— only if private insurers failed to adequately reduce health premiums.“That is kind of where both of us are,— Landrieu said Tuesday of herself and Snowe, adding that the Senators believe “we should reform the private market first. If the private market fails to reform or refuses to reform, then there would be a fallback position.—