One of President Barack Obama's closest allies in the Senate said on Sunday that she believed health care reform will pass this year and it will allow for an "opportunity" for a public plan for insurance coverage.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO.) conspicuously did not predict that a robust, national public option would pass. The Missouri Democrat said that leadership would likely "end up... having votes on a number of choices" including a public plan that states could opt into, one they could opt-out of, and a plan that would be triggered in "if these insurance companies don't manage to bring down costs within a certain period of time."
McCaskill, who recommitted herself to voting for the public option, told ABC that the final product would likely be "some kind of opportunity to go to a public not-for-profit among many private options for people don't currently have insurance."
It was a remarkably vague response -- though the phrasing seemed to hint that she believed the Senate would settle on a trigger proposal. The concern among senators, McCaskill admitted, was about vote counts. "I would be less than honest if I didn't say all of us were concerned about getting the votes to move forward," she said. "But I remain pretty optimistic."
"If we get some of the more moderate senators, like Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) in the fold, it would not surprise me to see the few remaining Republicans come along," she said.