NE Senators Talk About Healthcare Reform

A key Democratic senator says he may be open to a government-run insurance program that allows states to participate only if they ask to participate.

Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska says he is not ready to commit definitively on the most controversial issue surrounding health care overhaul legislation, whether to set up a nationwide public health insurance program to compete with private insurers.

Nelson says he is not excited about a public insurance plan in which states would be able to “opt out.'' Instead, the Nebraska senator says he is more interested in a program in which states “opt in.''

Democrats need 60 votes to advance the health care bill in the Senate.

Nebraska's Republican senator Mike Johanns also talked health care this weekend in the GOP's  weekly address.

Senator Johanns says current proposals in congress increase premiums and cut medicare.

“It's increasingly difficult to get access to health care. True health care reform should decrease what you're paying, and make it easier for you to receive care. That That should be a no brainer.”

Johanns says he and other Republicans are ready to tackle the reform challenges he says his test for if it'll work is simply asking, “will it improve americans lives?”