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Johnson Supports Bill Without Public Option

December 29, 2009, 5:32 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Johnson Supports Bill Without Public Option
A Christmas Eve vote on health care reform cleared the way for Congress to begin negotiations after the new year.
The U.S. House passed its version of the health care bill in November and the Senate passed its own version last week, and Senator Tim Johnson was the only member of South Dakota's Congressional delegation to support health care reform.

"We have the main framework and one way or the other this will be the framework providing coverage for all Americans," Senator Tim Johnson said.

The Senate bill does not include a government-run public health care insurance option like the House bill does. That's one of the main differences up for discussion when the House and Senate try to merge the two bills.

Senator Johnson says it was a bit of a compromise to vote for the Senate bill because he would have liked to see health care reform that included that public option.

Instead, the Senate bill includes non-profit private plans that would be overseen by the government.

"It is less effective than the public plan, but I'm practical about it enough to say it doesn't matter in the longer scheme of things if we have national health insurance," Senator Johnson said.

But, Johnson says with our without the public option, the final bill must make health care more affordable, decrease the deficit, and eliminate higher costs for patients with pre-existing medical conditions.

Johnson expects a final health care bill to be done by February

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