Nancy Pelosi: No Way Health Care Bill Passes House Without A Public Option

Lauren Victoria Burke/WDCPIX.COM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knows how to twist arms, and some on the left worry that she might twist liberal arms to pass a health care bill without a public option. But apparently that’s beyond her power.

“There is no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option,” she said to a crowd in California, noting that regional health care co-ops won’t get the job done. “If they want to have [co-ops] for their state, perhaps that could be included in the legislation. But it is not a substitute for a public option.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has agreed to a provision that would allow states to erect co-ops in addition to the public option. But a large progressive bloc insists that the overall bill must contain a public option or it won’t pass.

Pelosi appears to be putting the White House and Senate on notice–there must be a public option, or there won’t be health care reform for a very long time. “Let me just be very clear,” she said. “If we don’t pass this bill with all the comprehensive aspects of it now, I don’t know when we’ll have a chance to do it.”


Brian Beutler is TPM’s senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he’s led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at