At a union rally in Washington, DC yesterday with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) declared his support for a public health insurance option. Further, Specter said that Americans have a “right” to health care, and predicted that health care reform will happen this year. “I think Senator Schumer has the right idea about having a public component,” Specter said:
I compliment you on your tenacity and your determination and your passion. I agree with you that health care is a right. … I do believe that there will be health care legislation. I know you are very interested in the public component and I think Senator Schumer has the right idea about having a public component which is to have a level playing field with the private sector, but the public component can be in place. [...]
Your enthusiasm has a big effect on what goes on three blocks away on the Congress of the United States. And you will get health care.
Previously, Specter opposed the creation of a public option. In May, NBC’s David Gregory asked Specter if he would support health care reform that included a public component. “No,” Specter replied.