michael_bennet_71U.S. Senator Michael Bennet says 62 percent of personal bankruptcies in Colorado can be linked to health care—another reason why health-care reform, he says, must be passed this year.

And, after leading a group of fellow freshmen senators in a series of floor speeches yesterday, he’s “enormously optimistic” that reform will pass, writes The Associated Press. Bennet, a Democrat, claims people want more choices when it comes to health plans, including a publicly run option.

Such a plan would presumably be cheaper than private insurance because it would not have to pay out high executive salaries or generate profits for shareholders.

“This is why Republicans say it would have an unfair advantage over private plans,” writes The New York Times. “They also say that if the public plan started losing money, the government would have no choice but to spend tax dollars to prop it up.”

Look for the debate, at least in part, to return to Colorado next week as part of the “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour” at the University of Denver, featuring former U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker, as well as representatives from the Brookings Institution and Heritage Foundation (via PR Newswire).