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Nancy Pelosi: The Lone Democratic Leader Fighting For Health Care Reform

by on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 2:08 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

Nancy Pelosi Speaks With President Obama

New estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office showed a healthcare overhaul drafted by Democrats would reduce the U.S. budget deficit over 10 years and cost less than $900 billion.  Reuters reports that:

[Pelosi] asked CBO to provide estimates on three versions of the [public] option — one based on reimbursement rates paid to healthcare providers under Medicare and two that would rely on reimbursement rates negotiated with the providers.

All three were shown to reduce the annual budget deficit and come in under The President’s goal of $900 billion.  Speaker Pelosi is reported to be pushing the Medicare-based public option for passage:

Pelosi (D-Calif.) made it clear in a leadership meeting Tuesday night that she intends for the Medicare-based public option to be included in the final House bill.

She added that passing a strong public option will give the House negotiating leverage in conference negotiations with the Senate.

The Medicare-based plan, called the “robust” option or “Medicare Plus 5” in the jargon that has emerged on Capitol Hill, ties provider reimbursement rates to Medicare, adding 5 percent.  That option saves the most money, according to congressional analysts, by competing with those companies and driving down premiums.

Pelosi still hasn’t pulled together the essential 218 votes needed for passage, though she revealed they are close.

So, while President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Reid continue to waffle around on the public option — and, in doing so, display a serious lack of fortitude — their counterpart in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, continues to demonstrate both courage and tenacity.  Pelosi has effectively become the lone ‘change agent’ within the Democratic Leadership.

The American people spoke loud and clear in the 2008 elections: they granted the new Democratic President and the two Democratic-controlled Houses of Congress a mandate for change, and it appears that ONLY Nancy Pelosi got their message.

Should a robust public option get passed in a final bill — thereby ensuring real health care reform — Americans will have Nancy Pelosi to thank for it; not “with the help of” the White House, but “in spite of” the White House — who effectively undermined the public option at every turn.

Thank You, Nancy Pelosi, for taking the lead as a real ‘change agent’ when both your male counterparts appear to lack the courage, the conviction — the balls! — to stick out their own necks.

UPDATE  I:

Watch: Nancy Pelosi tells Bloomberg today that she has the 218 necessary votes for a strong public option.  She explains why it is essential to any reform bill:

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The Medicare-based plan, called the “robust” option or “Medicare Plus 5” in the jargon that has emerged on Capitol Hill, ties provider reimbursement rates to Medicare, adding 5 percent.