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September 1, 2014

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Harry Reid: Public option trigger ‘pretty doggone good idea’

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Sen. Harry Reid

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WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the proposed public option trigger a “pretty doggone good idea” during a telephone-town hall on health care reform with Nevadans.

Reid supports the idea from Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, which would establish standards and goals the insurance companies must hit within a specified timeframe. If companies miss the deadline, the public option would kick in.

“My first choice is a public option, because I think it will create competition and make the insurance companies more honest,” Reid said Thursday. “My No. 2 choice is the trigger that Snowe talked about.”

Reid said that he preferred the trigger, “which is a pretty doggone good idea,” to the proposed co-operative model some moderate Democrats support.

The public option would be a government-run program and one type of insurance that could be purchased on the new exchange, alongside offerings from private companies. Under the health reform plans being considered in Congress, all Americans would be required to carry some type of health insurance.

Supporters of the co-op see it as an alternative to the public-run option, but opponents worry it would not provide enough competition to force down insurance policy prices.

Reid said the co-op is his third choice.

“It would be better than nothing but it’s nothing I’m going to jump for joy with," he said.

“We have to be careful at the end of the day we don’t wind up giving a bouquet of roses to the pharmaceutical industry or the insurance industry. They’re going to get a lot of customers. They’re the ones that are making all the money during this time of stress for most people.”

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