Pelosi: A Bill Without a Strong Public Option Will Not Pass the House

Congressional Quarterly/Newscom
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If you weren’t already convinced that the House and the Obama administration are on a collision course, you might be now.

The latest statement out of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office is unequivocal: “A bill without a strong public option will not pass the House,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi has said the same thing in the past, but with the fight over the public option reaching a fever pitch–and the White House signaling left and right that they’re walking away from it–her renewed insistence is telling, and will no doubt come as encouraging news to progressives.

“If someone has a better idea for promoting competition and reducing health care costs, they should put it on the table,” Pelosi said. “Eliminating the public option would be a major victory for the insurance companies who have rationed care, increased premiums and denied coverage.”

Earlier today, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)–a leading public option surrogate–said a health care bill with a public option “trigger” might pass the House. But perhaps he spoke too soon.

You can read the entire statement below the fold.

“Any real change requires the inclusion of a strong public option to promote competition and bring down costs. If a vigorous public option is not included, it would be a major victory for the health insurance industry.

“President Obama has said that a public option will keep the insurance companies honest. If someone has a better idea for promoting competition and reducing health care costs, they should put it on the table. But for the past month, opponents of health insurance reform have demonstrated that they are afraid of the facts. They have only offered distortions, distractions and misrepresentations to try to kill this historic legislation.

“A bill without a strong public option will not pass the House. Eliminating the public option would be a major victory for the insurance companies who have rationed care, increased premiums and denied coverage.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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 brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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