W.Va. Sen. Rockefeller: Public option is out

AP News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2009 3:17 PM

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., says the House of Representatives will have to give up its idea of a public insurance plan if major health care legislation is to succeed.

Rockefeller said Wednesday the political makeup of the Senate means Democrats can't afford to lose even one vote there, and a public option would drive away a few supporters.

The House has passed legislation to overhaul health care. The Senate is working on its version. If that passes the upper chamber, a conference committee will meet to create a single bill from the two versions.

Rockefeller, who supports a public option, still backs the Senate bill. He says its regulations on the insurance industry will help millions of Americans who now struggle to get care.