At Open Left, we have been reporting that the Congressional Progressive Caucus has found at least 206 votes for health care reform with a public option tied to Medicare rates +5%. With 218 needed for passage, and up to 27 members still persuadable, this is surely one of the reasons why Speaker Pelosi has decided to try and push health care reform with a robust public option to the floor of the House.
However, the 206 number is at least a week old. Now, Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva is claiming it has risen to 210:
"We anticipate that we're at 210," he said. "We feel that the momentum is all on the robust Medicare plus five public option."
Grijalva said that "25-plus" Democrats have said they will vote no. "Some of those no's are no regardless. It has nothing to do with the public option," he said, putting the number of those firm no-votes at 18 or 19.
With this information, here are the updated whip numbers:
House Medicare +5% public option whip count
Yes: 210 (includes the leadership and "lean yes" members)
Incoming yes votes: 1 (maybe two)
Undecided: 19 (at most)
No: 26 (at least, could be higher. Includes "lean no" votes)
Many readers have asked who the remaining undecideds are, so they have help push them into the "yes" camp. To assist in that effort, I have managed to acquire a target list for the remaining members. However, the chart is two weeks old, and does not differentiate between members who are "lean yes," "undecided," and "lean no." So, it is a step in the right direction, but still not the level of detail we need.
Again, the list of "lean yes," "undecided" and "lean no" Representatives can be found here. If you wish to call one of these members, urging them to support a health care with the Medicare +5% public option, contact the Congressional switchboard at 1-866-220-0044, and ask for the member of Congress who wish to speak with.
In the meantime, I will try to acquire a more recent and narrowly targeted list.
Update: Target chart cleaned up. The leadership is currently whipping undecided members to try and get the whip count up to 218 before a full Democratic House caucus meeting tonight. Placing a call to a local member of Congress on the whip count target list could help this effort.
Update 2: Partial CBO score is now in. It places the ten-year cost of House health care bill with robust public option at $871 billion. The bill will reduce the deficit, and increase health insurance coverage to 96% of American non-elderly residents (compared to only 94% for Baucus bill).
To put it a different way, for $871 billion, the House bill provides new health insurance coverage to 13% of America, while the Senate Finance Committee provides coverage to an additional 11% of American residents at a cost of $829 billion. So, the House bill costs $67 billion per percentage of Americans provided with new health insurance, while the Senate Finance committee bill costs $75.4 billion per percentage of Americans provided with new health insurance. Unless your goals are not actually to provide more people with health insurance, or to save money, the House bill is the better bet.