At her weekly press conference this morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested today that the House could embrace a compromise emerging among Senate health care negotiators that would replace the public option with regulated national non-profit insurance companies and an opportunity for people aged 55-64 to buy into Medicare.
In the past, Pelosi has described the public option as a must-have provision, but today she said the House included the public option in its health care legislation because members believed it's "the best way to keep insurance companies honest...and also to increase competition."
Now, it's wait and see. "As soon as we see something in writing from the Senate, we'll be able to make a judgment about that," she said.
After the conference, Pelosi told reporters "there certainly is a great deal of appeal about putting people 55 and older on Medicare. That's something that people in the House have advocated for for years."
Pelosi said there's "not much" chance the House will simply take up the Senate bill (a process known informally as "ping ponging") but that differences between the two packages will be resolved in a conference between the two chambers.
"We haven't seen their bill," she said. "We don't know what their amendment process will be. But we would like to see a full conference."