POLITICS
04/24/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Gibbs Explains Why Obama Didn't Include Public Option

The White House decided not to include a public option for insurance coverage in its final health care proposal because of concerns about vote count, spokesman Robert Gibbs suggested during Monday's briefing.

But the window to pass a government-run insurance plan has not fully closed, even if the Obama administration isn't enthusiastically on board.

Much to the chagrin of progressive and some non-progressive Democrats, the White House on Monday appeared to fully reject the idea of passing the public plan using reconciliation despite calls from at least 20 senators to pursue this route. Asked by the Huffington Post why the administration dumped the idea -- even though aides continuously stress that the president supports the public plan -- Gibbs suggested that the main consideration was getting something into law.

"The president has put forward a proposal that is based on the Senate plan with some modifications to that and, as the best way forward, into something that can ultimately wind its way through the Senate," he said.

But the case isn't fully closed. A campaign to get the public plan added to the legislation during the amendment process is still very much alive. And even Gibbs conceded that the provision could still come to a vote on the Senate floor.

"I think they have asked for a vote on the floor of the Senate," Gibbs said. "And that is certainly up to those who manage those amendments and to [Majority] Leader [Harry] Reid."