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Connecticut Lawmakers Weigh In on Public Option
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HARTFORD -- Last week, Democrats in Congress unveiled a health care bill that would include a public health insurance option. The plan would require all individuals to get health coverage.

Connecticut lawmakers have played a big role in health care legislation. Senator Ted Kennedy has given Connecticut's senior Senator Chris Dodd the reins to usher the bill through the U.S. Senate. Congressman Chris Murphy sits on the committee that is crafting the bill in the House. Two other Connecticut lawmakers are weighing in, and they're not on the same page.

Connecticut's Independent Senator Joe Lieberman said creating a public plan to compete with private insurers will cost taxpayers too much money.

"I think that this is just one that we don't need to take on at this time," said Lieberman. "If for some reason, we adopt health insurance, and health care reform, and we go two or three years and we find that the private health insurance market is not working and the companies isn't doing what we expect them to do in the public interest, well we can come back and take a look at this, but lets not let a partisan fight over the so-called public option to stop the very strong desire in members of congress to adopt health insurance reform this year."

Lieberman added that if the public option is a condition of the overall bill, he's skeptical it will get enough votes to pass at all.

But, speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, second district Congressman Joe Courtney said a public alternative is needed in the insurance market.

"You know when you see price increases by 32 percent which Blue Cross is asking for this morning in the newspaper, you know, I believe that there is a justification for saying that consumers should be given other choices."

A new Quinnipiac poll shows that 69 percent of voters nationwide say they should have the option of government-run health insurance, but less than a third would choose to join it.