House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will not pass a healthcare overhaul bill that doesn't include a new public insurance plan, according to a report by The Associated Press.
Her line-in-the-sand announcement came at a news conference Thursday in San Francisco, adding fuel to the fire lit under the White House as it confronts a general liberal backlash for an apparent willingness to leave a public plan out of the final health bill.
Pelosi has said repeatedly that healthcare legislation in the House would have a public plan, but her statement Thursday left no room for doubt, noted the AP report.
Liberals insist a new public insurance plan is essential, but Republicans almost uniformly oppose it.
“There’s no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option,” the California Democrat said. "Unless someone comes up with a better idea, that's how we're going forth in the House."
Pelosi added: "If someone can come up with a better idea, let them put it on the table, we haven't heard that yet . . . So we're fighting very hard for the public option."
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama noted his support for a public option, but was less adamant on the issue.
Obama told a conservative talk-show host this week that he continues to support a public option, but emphasized it was only a piece of a broader health reform package and made it clear that it would not be a deal-breaker, according to a report by Politico.
The Senate is also less than enthusiastically aboard the public-option bandwagon.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-S.D., a key figure on the Finance Committee, has clearly announced that there aren't enough votes in the Senate to approve a bill with a government-run option.
"It's very clear that there are not the votes in the United States Senate for a public option," Conrad told Fox Business Network.
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