House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with a 78 member plurality over Republicans, said legislation to revamp the U.S. health-care system won’t get through her chamber unless it creates a government-run insurance program to compete with the private industry.
“There’s no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option,” the California Democrat said at a press conference in San Francisco yesterday.
At the same time, Sen.Kent Conrad(D-N.D.), in a filibuster-proof Senate and one of six senators involved in bipartisan Finance Committee negotiations, all but declared the public option dead in the Senate.
“Look, the fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option,” said Conrad, who has pushed an alternative proposal to create a network of consumer cooperatives. “There never have been. So to continue to chase that rabbit, I think, is just a wasted effort.”
So the House can’t pass a Health Care Reform bill without a public option and the Senate can’t pass a Health Care Reform bill with a public option.
So what’s President Obama’s take on this Democratic impasse? His charge is that Republicans are engaged in a vast right-wing conspiracy to kill health care reform.
“I think early on, a decision was made by the Republican leadership that said, ‘Look, let’s not give him a victory, maybe we can have a replay of 1993, ’94, when Clinton came in, he failed on health care and then we won in the mid-term elections and we got the majority. And I think there are some folks who are taking a page out that playbook,” the president said.
An administration aide chimed in adding, “We were forced into this by Republicans.”
Who would have guessed this “vast right-wing conspiracy” – first conjured up by Hillary Clinton in 1998 – was still alive and formidable enough to trigger Democrats into speaking in tongues and reeling in confusion.