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.”