Blue Dog Democrat Comes Out Against Public Option

11/08/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

WASHINGTON — A leader of a pivotal group of moderate House Democrats says he can no longer support a new public insurance plan in a health overhaul bill.

Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas made the announcement Tuesday as members of Congress returned from Washington after their August recess.

It could be a sign of big trouble ahead for President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders trying to push health legislation through Congress. Most House liberals say they won't support a bill without a public plan.

In July, Ross took the lead in negotiating changes to House Democrats' health overhaul bill to make it more palatable to moderates. He voted for it in committee with a public plan.

But Ross said that after hearing from constituents over the recess he could not support a bill with a public plan.