Murray endorses public option

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray joined 29 other senators Monday in committing to support a public option if it is brought up as part of an attempt to pass a health care reform bill using the budget reconciliation process.

“I’ve been consistently supportive of a public option so that Washington’s families and businesses have choices in their health care options and so insurance companies are finally forced to compete for the business of the American people,” Murray, D-Wash., said in a statement released to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “Nothing has changed that support.”

“I don’t know whether the votes exist in the Senate right now,” Murray said, “but if the public option came up for a vote as we move ahead with reform, including under reconciliation, I would vote yes.”

State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, who is running to unseat Murray, said in a statement he was “deeply toubled” that Murray supports what he called “a desperate, last-minute attempt to force a health care bill through the Congress.”

He warned that the Democrats’ bill “will raise taxes, cut Medicare and increase spending.”

No word yet on whether Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., would cast her vote in support of a public option if the opportunity arises.

Kathie Durbin

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