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Congress: Public option day

It's public option day at the Senate Finance Committee. The big mystery: Will Olympia Snowe offer her plan -- a public option trigger -- as an amendment? "The Senate Finance Committee is expected to consider whether the government should offer its own insurance plan for the middle class in competition with private carriers. A public option is the top goal for liberals, but it has no Republican support and moderate Democrats say the Senate will never go along."

"So Tuesday's debate is expected to pit Democratic liberals against moderates. Although the public plan isn't expected to get a majority of the panel, supporters say at least they'll know where everybody stands."

The Hill breaks down the Senate Finance Committee mark-up. There are 13 Dems and 10 Republicans. "Apart from Snowe, the GOP is lined up strongly against the legislation. Baucus can afford to lose one Democrat when the final vote comes -- or two if Snowe jumps aboard."

Schumer's influence: "Sen. Charles Schumer has revived the prospect of a public insurance option in the Senate's version of healthcare reform. Whether it ultimately passes may depend on a handful of first-term Democrats who owe their seats, in significant measure, to the support they received from Schumer (D-N.Y.) when he headed the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) in 2006 and 2008."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's health care leadership seems to be in the media's crosshairs of late. Yesterday, it was about how he's relying on the White House to cut the big deals needed to get 60 votes. And today, the New York Times focuses on how he's gotten a Medicaid exception of Nevada in the Finance Committee bill.

The Washington Times has a good analysis of the GOP strategy in the Senate which, surprisingly to some, has meant the party will NOT offer a policy alternative and instead will continue to strategically target the bill on things like, transparency. "But the Republican strategy, so far, doesn't have much to show for it. One of the most substantial Republican arguments - and one that shows signs of resonating with the public - came from Mr. Bunning. It called for the entire bill to be posted online in legislative text for three days before the committee casts its final vote. The Congressional Budget Office would also have to submit a full analysis of the bill - requiring two weeks of work."

The Democratic-leaning group Americans United for Change is running a new TV ad ($25,000 buy in Orlando, Louisville, and DC) targeting health insurer Humana.