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Blue Dog Leader Hardens Opposition to Public Option « The Washington Independent

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) had said throughout the August recess that the outcome of this year’s health reform debate will likely hinge on lawmakers’ individual experiences with the sometimes-rowdy town hall forums that marked the break.

In the case of Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), Grassley hit the nail on the head. And if the vocal Blue Dog is any indication of a trend, supporters of the public option might be in for a long autumn.

Although a few weeks ago Ross had expressed an openness to the creation of a public insurance option to compete against private companies — provided it were merely an option, as the House bill specifies — he’s now opposed even to that, The Hill reported Tuesday.

Ross credited the August recess and his interactions with constituents with leading him to oppose the public plan, about which he had previously expressed a great deal of apprehension.

“I have been skeptical about the public health insurance option from the beginning and used August to get feedback from you, my constituents,” Ross said [in a constituent newsletter]. An overwhelming number of you oppose a government-run health insurance option and it is your feedback that has led me to oppose the public option as well.”

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