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Democrats Concede Public Option May Not Make Cut On Health Care

Two House Democrats who want a public-option in the health care overhaul acknowledge it might not survive compromise talks with the Senate.

Rep. James Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the party's leadership, was asked whether he could vote for a final bill that does not embrace a public plan. Clyburn replied: "Yes, sir, I can."

The South Carolina congressman said backers of a government-run option want more competition for private insurance companies and that he can live with some process that accomplishes this, regardless of whether it's labeled a public option.

Another Democrat, Maryland's Chris Van Hollen, said he recognizes realities in the Senate, where Democrats had to scrape up every vote from their side even to pass a bill without a government plan.

But Van Hollen also said "Fox News Sunday" that before the House would give up the public option, "we would want to be persuaded that there are other mechanisms in whatever bill comes out that will keep down premiums."

The Senate passed its version of health care on Christmas Eve morning, and the two chambers will have to work out differences in their separate bills after lawmakers return from a holiday break.

Clyburn appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation" and CNN's "State of the Union."


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