(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this afternoon will announce his decision to include a government-run health care plan, or "public option," in the health care bill he brings to the floor, CBS News has learned.
Reid is scheduled to discuss his plans for the bill at a 3:15 p.m. ET press conference on Capitol Hill. He is expected to say he will go forward with a public option that will allow states to opt out of the program. However, he is also expected to say it is unclear whether or not he has 60 votes to move forward with the plan.
The bill will be sent to the Congressional Budget Office later today to get a cost estimate for it.
Reid has been under considerable pressure
from liberal activists and legislators to include a public option in the bill.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) told reporters Monday that he thinks it will be hard for Reid to get 60 votes for a public option plan in which states can opt out, the Associated Press reports. At least four key senators seem opposed, Nelson said while traveling with President Obama on Air Force One to Florida.
If an opt-out plan passes, he reportedly said, he hopes states would not be able to exercise the opt-out for at least two years. Otherwise, Nelson said, the powerful insurance lobby "will convince state legislatures to opt out at the very beginning," before a public option plan has had a chance to prove its worth.CBS News Capitol Hill Producer John Nolen contributed to this report