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Public/gov't option -- or not?

From NBC's Michelle Perry and Domenico Montanaro
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) stressed on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports that a government run/public option is necessary and that he would not be satisfied if the Finance Committee does not include one.

"I believe there has to be a public option," Harkin said, per a rough transcription. He said there "has to be choice and competition" particularly for rural areas.

Video: Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, discusses why that research demonstrates the need to include prevention and wellness initiatives in the health care overhaul.

Harkin sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, or HELP, which released their own version of health reform, which, as Harkin pointed out, included a public option.

Chuck Grassley

-- a Republican also of Iowa, who sits on the Finance Committee -- told Mitchell that Finance's version will not include an employer mandate and will include a co-op as opposed to a government-run option. He said a public option would be unfair to private insurers and the co-op would spark the competition necessary.

Grassley said the so-called Cadillac tax, which would tax the top-of-the-line health-care plans, is being seriously considered. He said economists as well as the Congressional Budget Office say it is only way to close the cost gap.

On timing, Grassley added that the committee is making progress by inches and that it's difficult to say how long it's going to take. He said he hopes to get the bill out of committee, however, before the August recess. But, he added, the committee may not make it, and if it doesn't, people will wonder what's taking so long.

He stressed that when talking about something as important as health-care reform, it should be done right. That's why, he said he and Democratic committee chairman Max Baucus aren't rushing.