Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl supports a public option as part of health care reform – but admits it might not make the cut. In an interview following a Thursday meeting between moderate Democrats and President Barack Obama, Kohl said there’s Democrats and Republicans agree on “eighty percent” of what ought to be in a health care reform bill.
But what about the public option, much derided by conservatives who say it will unfairly compete with private insurance providers? “Only about five percent of the uninsured, who would be using the public option, would even be eligible,” said Kohl. Kohl said both he and Obama support a viable public option as part of health care reform. “He thinks it’s a good thing, he wishes we could have it. I feel the same way. But we’ll see how it works out as we work our way through the legislative process.”
“He (the president) has never said that he would not sign any legislation unless it had a public option,” Kohl said. “In other words, that’s not his bottom line.” A final package, Kohl predicted, is still weeks away. “Everybody agrees, whether we’re Democrat or Republican, that we need to get everybody under an umbrella of coverage. And everybody agrees that the cost of health care needs to be dealt with.”