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Sink ducks 'public option' in health care reform debate

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the leading Democratic candidate for governor in 2010, refused to say whether she would support one of President Obama's top priorities in health care reform: a so-called "public option" that would compete with private insurance plans.

A government-backed plan is emerging as a major sticking point in the negotiations in Washington, with liberal Democrats demanding that a new health care system include a government-run alternative, and Republicans calling it a deal-breaker.

The ever-cautious Sink refused to take sides and suggested Democrats haven't made their case for a public option. Yesterday, Republican Gov. Charlie Crist said he would rather rely on the private sector.

"I don't know what's in that 1,500-page bill,'' Sink said. "I'm waiting for an explanation of what the plan is. Nobody knows what the plan is...You know what I want? I want something that works.''

Sink was in Boca Raton Wednesday morning to speak to a group called Leaders of Tomorrow that brings South Florida business executives together to network with each other and hear from community leaders. Sink warned the crowd of about 30 people that there was a reporter present before fielding questions.

Sink emphasized that Florida's economy is still struggling but dismissed growing criticism from Republicans that the federal stimulus plan is not working.

"Last fall we were in danger of a total global financial crash. That  was like the Titanic hitting the iceberg, and you don't turn around from that in six months,'' she said. "You can't just turn these road projects -- even though they call them shovel-ready, there's a lag time. I'm not discouraged at all. Between now and the end of the year, we're going to see a lot more economic activity as a result of the stimulus package.''