Lobbying for health care votes over Thanksgiving

    With health care debate expected to start in earnest next week, some lawmakers are using their time off for Thanksgiving to lobby support for reform.

    With debate on health care reform scheduled to start following the Thanksgiving break, the effort to secure votes is moving into high gear.

    Much of the debate now centers on the public option.  Senator Joe Lieberman (I- Conn.) has said he will oppose any bill with a public option.  Delaware’s senior Senator Tom Carper (D) says Lieberman’s main concern making sure “we don’t balloon or swell the deficit, the nation’s debt further by what we do with respect to a public option.”  Carper calls that a reasonable concern.

    But there are other senators like  Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) , who, although opposed to the public option, may be willing to compromise on a public option if it includes a “trigger”.  Under the trigger plan, a public option  would only be implemented in state’s where affordable insurance was unavailable.  Carper says he plans on trying to encourage Snowe to support his plan that would create a government run health plan put together by independent boards in areas where affordable insurance is not available.  “I think at the end of the day, we would be wise as Democrats to make sure we have some Republicans to vote for this proposal, especially if they have good ideas, and Olympia has a lot of good ideas.”

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    U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Service Kathleen Sebelius says she expects the Senate to approve the health care overhaul plan by the end of the year.

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