ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:
A series of breakthroughs on Capitol Hill leaves Democrats newly optimistic about the prospects of passing a major health care reform bill, after several days of apparent setbacks.
One key lawmaker, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate Finance Committee, told us on ABCNews.com’s “Top Line” that he and a bipartisan group of 15 senators who have signed on to his health care proposal are encouraged by the developments.
“I think we've got a lot to work with. There are positive developments today,” Wyden said. “I'm glad the president is out talking to workers who are insured. He's spending his political capital to market the case for health reform.”
Wyden is the co-author of a bipartisan bill that the Congressional Budget Office and other nonpartisan groups have said would achieve near-universal coverage without adding to the deficit.
The centerpiece of the plan -- empowering states to set up purchasing pools through which individuals would obtain insurance -- isn’t quite the co-op system being discussed as an alternative to the public option.
But Wyden said he and his co-sponsors are open to suggestions of other ways to get
“I'm not one of the senior members of the Finance Committee, but I can tell you, we're being consulted, particularly on our big ideas,” Wyden said. “For example, one of the key issues that we're pursuing is something called the ‘free choice proposal.’ If you're going to make it possible for insured folks -- the folks, for example, that President Obama is talking to today -- to get a better deal, more affordable coverage, you've got to get these exchanges right so that everybody has real bargaining power.”
Watch our interview with Sen. Ron Wyden HERE.
Also today, we caught up with Ana Marie Cox of Air America -- who did not make good on her offer to bring props along to demonstrate tomorrow’s White House beer diplomacy.
The Audacity of Hops, perhaps?
Watch the interview with Ana Marie Cox HERE.