Akaka backs 'public option' health-reform proposal
HONOLULU — U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka says he supports adding a “public option” element to health-reform legislation.
Liberal groups had pressured Akaka for a week to join more than three dozen fellow Democrats who want a Senate vote on establishing a government-designed health insurance plan for people who can’t obtain private insurance.
They support voting on the provision under budget reconciliation rules, which allow passage by a simply majority of 51 votes.
Akaka last week said prospects for a public option element looked unfavorable.
But on Tuesday, he told The Huffington Post Web site he’d vote for the public option if it arose under reconciliation rules.
Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, is among 40 senators who have pledged support for a vote.