N. Carolina's senators divided on health care reform

CARY — North Carolina's two U.S. senators are ending the August congressional recess split on President Barack Obama's proposed health care overhaul. Sen. Richard Burr is an ardent free-market Republican strongly opposed to Obama's plan, while Sen. Kay Hagan is a Democratic moderate who is keeping her options open.

Continuing her political balancing act during a visit to the Triangle on Thursday, Hagan voiced support for Democratic-backed health care legislation that includes a community health initiative, a government-backed insurance option for people who can't or don't want to purchase private insurance.

But Hagan also expressed a willingness to compromise, underscoring why she has been the target of a major lobbying campaign by health-care partisans.

Asked whether she thought such a public option was necessary for health care overhaul, Hagan said she wants more details on the potential cost of such an option.

Hagan said she was open to an alternative being pushed by some Democratic Senate moderates to allow states to set up health care co-ops patterned after electric co-ops.

"Having been a state senator for 10 years, I think states can do a good job at that," Hagan said after touring SAS, the Cary software company.

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