WASHINGTON (AP) - As negotiations continue on a Senate health overhaul measure, something unexpected may be finding its way into the bill's final version: the public option.
Liberals in the House have called the public option essential to overhauling the nation's health care system, and President Barack Obama has often said that he favors it.
But the Senate has been seen as opposed to the federal government selling health insurance in competition with private industry. Now, officials say that senior Senate Democrats and White House officials are strongly considering including such a measure in the health care bill.
The provision being considered in the Senate would let individual states drop out of the system, a design that could make it more appealing to moderates.
The House version is also expected to include a public option, although it is unlikely states would be allowed to opt out.