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House Progressives Trying To Save Health Care: Public Option, Anyone?

Everybody has a little birdy that is giving them tips about what's happening to HCR. I have mine too, and while I'm not optimistic, I've heard some o

Everybody has a little birdy that is giving them tips about what's happening to HCR. I have mine too, and while I'm not optimistic, I've heard some of the same things that Ryan Grim writes:

House progressives organizing to rescue health care reform are pressuring their Senate counterparts to go back to the provision that has most energized the party and a majority of Americans throughout the debate: The public option.

The effort was discussed during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday night, with a faction arguing that the best way to salvage reform is to persuade the Senate to pass the public health insurance option using the budget reconciliation process that needs only a majority vote.


That leaves progressives as the bloc available to pick up. Their demands -- changes related to the tax on insurance, a Medicaid or Medicare expansion, and a public option -- would likely be allowable using reconciliation. (The Senate parliamentarian would have the final say.)

Two House freshmen, Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), circulated a letter, looking for signatures, that will be delivered to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday on behalf of the plan, Polis told HuffPost.

Reid is not generally receptive to advice from the lower chamber, but health care reform has stumbled into territory where there is no map.

If Reid and President Obama decide that the House Democrats have a workable plan -- perhaps the only viable plan left, after the New York Times declared that the brakes had been slammed -- they may be able to accomplish it.

A big problem is that the House doesn't trust the Senate to actually do everything they say they might, so they want the Senate to handle their part first before the House votes. And after what we've seen from the Senate, would you trust Lieberman, Bayh, Nelson or the rest of them either?

Digby caught this bit by Ben Nelson where he said he always planned on filibustering HCR anyway.

Nancy Pelosi held a presser today and Greg Sargent caught this:

There’ve been some rumblings among House Dems that Obama’s speech last night, despite its urgent appeal for passage of health reform, didn’t chart out a specific enough road map for Congress to break its logjam on the issue.

But at a presser just now, Nancy Pelosi strongly articulated the opposite argument: That the President’s appeal would be “helpful” to Congress in their efforts to get reform done.

Best of all, a striking quote from Pelosi underscoring her determination to get health care done:

“You go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, you go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole-vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in. But we’re going to get health care reform passed for the American people.”

It’s often been observed that this health care fight is the defining moment of Pelosi’s career, and that victory would seal her place as one of the most powerful House Speakers in modern history. She seems to realize this, too


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