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Franken says public option for health care provides competition for insurance companies

Congressional officials say there's a move afoot among top Senate Democrats to try to strip the health insurance industry of its exemption from federal anti-trust laws.

If that happens, it would mean greater federal regulation of an industry that recently has stepped up its criticism, of portions of a health care bill moving toward the Senate floor.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., says he continues to support the controversial public option proposal in health care reform.

And Franken says it will help provide competition for the insurance companies and bring prices down.

He also says something needs to be done about the medicare reimbursement rates that penalize states like Minnesota and North Dakota - both of which provide quality medical care at lower costs.

And he sees that happening in an amendment being offered as a part of the health-care debate.