On October 26, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid announced that the chamber's health care reform bill would include a government-supported insurance plan called a public option, reports The Washington Post. The Senate legislation, however, would give individual states the right to opt out of the government plan.

Some Democrats threatened to reject the legislation unless it contained a public option.

Health care legislation would require Americans to buy insurance. A public option, Reid affirmed, would help guarantee that the coverage would be affordable.

“We've spent countless hours over the last few days in consultation with senators who've shown a genuine desire to reform the health care system,” Reid said. “And I believe there's a strong consensus to move forward in this direction.”

“An opt-out clause would protect the public option,” said West Virginia Senator John D. Rockefeller, “and would help secure the necessary votes to pass health care reform without compromising on the type of coverage or level of affordability.”