Tarkanian leaps into health care fray

U.S. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian isn't letting the fact he's not yet in federal office stop him from jumping into policy making on health care.

Tarkanian is the resident agent for an initiative drive that would make sure voters are the ones who choose whether a state should opt in or opt out of proposed federal health programs.

Tarkanian could file the paperwork with the Nevada Secretary of State today.

"If Nevadans want the plan, they can vote for it. But at least an initiative will give us time for real debate," Tarkanian said in a written statement.

Health reform legislation in Congress includes proposals for a public option, a government-run insurance program that would compete with private insurers on the assumption that government competition could make insurance more affordable.

In the Senate, Harry Reid, D-Nev., is shepherding the bill as part of his role as majority leader. Tarkanian is one of many Republican candidates seeking the nomination to challenge Reid in 2010.

In one possible scenario, the decision to offer the public option to citizens could be left to the states.

If that scenario holds up, Tarkanian wants state citizens to vote directly on whether or not Nevada should participate.

Of course, there's no guarantee health reform legislation will pass, let alone pass with a public option that would apply to the initiative Tarkanian is pushing.

Draft of the paperwork (pdf).