Pelosi Reportedly Lacks Votes for 'Robust Public Option'

Published October 23, 2009

| FoxNews.com

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly lacks the votes to pass a "robust public option," the most far-reaching of three forms of a public option House Democrats are mulling to overhaul the nation's health care system.

The shortfall, according to Politico.com, increasingly points to a compromise for a "trigger" option for a government plan on the heels of a private White House meeting on Thursday.

Pelosi told reporters Thursday that House Democrats are continuing to count the votes, but assured that a government-run insurance plan of some kind will be included. 

"The robust public option is in my view a preferred way to go," she said. "It's not the only way to go and at the end of the day we will have a public option in our legislation." 

Administration officials for weeks have said a trigger is the most likely compromise since it will satisfy liberals, Politico.com reports, eventually clearing the way for supporters to pass a limited public option through the Senate by appealing to moderate Democrats.

During a meeting with Democratic leadership late Thursday, President Obama said he prefers the "trigger" option advocated by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine. The plan allows a government-run insurance plan to take effect if private insurers fail to expand coverage quickly enough.

Obama did not sign onto a plan offered during Thursday's meeting by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who favors a proposal that would create a national public plan but allow states to opt-out. Reid, Politico.com reports, believes he can acquire 60 votes to bring a bill with that plan to the floor by breaking an expected Republican filibuster.

But Pelosi's office dismissed speculation that the robust version is out. 

"Leadership and caucus and looking at (the) latest numbers will help us decide whenever we are ready, period. Speculation that a decision was made last night is not accurate," Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami told Fox News. 

Click here for more on this story from Politico.com.

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