Sen. John Thune said on a Wednesday conference call that there is growing momentum behind including a government-run plan in final health care legislation.
"I thought the government plan was dead," Thune said. "I don't think that anymore."
Thune said there was momentum on the Democratic side of the aisle for some form of a government plan. So far, various ideas have included a "trigger" mechanism that would create a government plan if private insurers don't meet certain targets, and another proposal that would allow states to opt out of the plan.
Thune also said that if Democrats have trouble passing a bill through normal means, they may split it into two parts, passing the purely tax and spending measures (such as the expansion of Medicaid) through the reconciliation process where they would only need 51 votes, and the regulatory changes (such as coverage of preexisting conditions) through the traditional process that would require 60. However, he said that such a move would be a last resort if they don't even have the votes to pass something along the lines of the Senate Finance Committee bill, and that they likely couldn't get a government plan through this method.
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