Following Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s announcement of the Senate health care bill that will come to the floor, Oregon’s junior senator, Jeff Merkley, issued the following statement late this afternoon through his Web site:

Senator Jeff Merkley

It has been clear from the beginning of this debate that a public option is absolutely necessary to provide consumers with more choice, hold insurance companies accountable and keep costs down.

Senator Reid made the right decision to include this critical component in the merged legislation.  States may choose to opt-out based on their individual needs and the input of their citizens, but this provision will ensure that most Americans will have the choice between private insurance or a public plan that operates on a level playing field.  This is a reasonable compromise to this issue and takes us one step closer to action by the full Senate to finally pass health care reform and fix our broken system.

Senator Merkley’s comments echo what he has said in the past and reaffirm his commitment to real health care reform. Read the statement at the source.