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Dec 28, 2009 9:16 AM by Associated Press

Senate, House staking out positions on health care

January could bring some testy times on Capitol Hill again, but this time it may well be among Democrats as they craft a final version of health care reform.

House members -- still smarting from losing the public option in the Senate bill -- want assurances that costs will be bridled, more choices will be created and more competition will exist for insurance companies. Congressman James Clyburn -- who had appealed to President Barack Obama not to yield on the public option -- says if all three are in the reconciliation, he won't care if the label "public option" is missing.

But Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey flatly predicts: "If we are going to have a final law, it will look a lot more like the Senate version than the House version."

As far as the White House is concerned, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that President Barack Obama is optimistic and will help work out the differences.

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