WASHINGTON - A House Democrat who favors a government insurance plan, a central element of health care legislation passed in that chamber, acknowledged Sunday it might have to be sacrificed as negotiators work out a final agreement with the Senate.
Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House and one who had appealed to President Barack Obama not to yield on the public plan, set out conditions for yielding himself. Asked during rounds on the Sunday news shows whether he could vote for a final bill that does not embrace a public plan, Clyburn said: "Yes, sir, I can."
Clyburn added: "We want a public option to do basically three things: Create more choice for insurers, create more competition for insurance companies and to contain costs. So if we can come up with a process by which these three things can be done, then I'm all for it. Whether or not we label it a public option or not is of no consequence."
Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina said Sunday he is hoping for "a few Democrats to stand up in the House that maybe didn't before and help us stop this thing."