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Schumer: Public option near votes needed to pass

The Associated Press

A key Democratic senator says he believes Democrats are close to the 60 votes they need to advance a health care bill that includes a new program for government-backed health insurance.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York says he thinks a public option plan will be in the Senate bill.

Schumer says he thinks it will be a middle-ground proposal that allows states to opt out of participation. The opt-out proposal, according to Schumer, draws support from many liberal and moderate senators and less opposition from others.

Schumer says that a government-backed insurance plan would remain only an option for consumers looking for alternatives to private insurance.

Schumer spoke Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."