Murphy actually voted against the House health care bill when it came up in November, though it wasn't because of the public option, according to a staffer: he liked parts of the bill, but felt it didn't do enough to reduce costs.
The new letter poses creating the public option though reconciliation (which only requires a simple majority) in the Senate as a trade-off that would get House Democrats to pass the Senate bill. The public option, considered out of the realm of possibility for some time--largely because there aren't 60 senators who support it--has consistently polled better on its own than health care bills in Congress.
Here's what Murphy said, e-mailed by his office, about his signing onto the letter:
"Our nation's health care system is broken. To have real reform we need to ensure three things; accessibility, accountability, and affordability. I support this letter because the public option would help achieve all three of these goals and help to keep costs down by giving the American public a competitive option to private insurers."UPDATE: The letter, being led by Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME), now has 74 signers.
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