President Obama may be considering a health care bill without a public option, but it will not be acceptable in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced late Thursday.
“A bill without a strong public option will not pass the House,” Pelosi said in a statement. “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.
Pelosi said the month of August has brought distortions and distractions from those who oppose health insurance reform “to try to kill this historic legislation.
According to media reports, White House Chief of Staff (and former House Democratic Caucus Chair) Rahm Emanuel is negotiating with moderate Senator Olympia Snowe, a Republican, on a plan that would put a public option in place only if insurance companies fail to reduce costs and make other changes that will enable wider coverage.
The most liberal faction of the House Democratic caucus has sent a letter to Obama letting him know they will block a bill without a public option, though some political experts have argued that, when faced with the prospect of no health reform, they will vote for a compromise measure.