As Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is set to send a draft of health care reform legislation to the Congressional Budget Office for cost evaluation, the White House is denying a rift with Reid and restating its support for a public option.

“In his September 9th address to Congress, President Obama made clear that he supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition,” White House Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement. “That continues to be the President's position. Senator Reid and his leadership team are now working to get the most effective bill possible approved by the Senate. President Obama completely supports their efforts and has full confidence they will succeed and continue the unprecedented progress that is being made in both the House and Senate.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, a final version of the bill may be made public as early as Tuesday. The bill includes a mandate for individuals to carry health insurance. Likewise, employers with more than 50 workers would also face fines of up to $750 per employee if part of their work force received a government subsidy to buy coverage, the paper says, citing sources close to the negotiations. 







Keywords: health care, coverage mandate, public option, Harry Reid,

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