Pelosi's final remarks at today's health care summit. (Suck it, Steny Hoyer.)
Mr. President, I harken back to that meeting a year ago. At that time, Senator Grassley questioned you about the public option.
And you said the public option is one way to keep the insurance companies honest and to increase competition. If you have a better way, put it on the table.
Well, I bring that up because we have come such a long way....As a representative of the House of Representatives, I want you to know that we were there that day in support of a public option which would save $120 billion, keep the insurance companies honest, and increase competition. [This describes the Medicare-rates version of the public option, not in the House bill. The current version saves $25 billion.]
We've come a long way to agreeing to a Republican idea, the exchanges...because the insurance companies opposed the public option. They couldn't take the competition.
We have in our bill [which includes a weaker public option], market-oriented, encouraging-to-the-private-sector initiatives. I think the insurance industry, left to it's own devices, has behaved shamefully. And we must act on behalf of the American people.
We have lived on their playing field all this time. It's time for the insurance companies to exist on the playing field of the American people.
This seems to me like an embrace of the House version of the public option going forward. What do you think?
UPDATE: Obama pretty much admits that he abandoned the public option not because of a lack of votes, but because the White House couldn't stomach Republican "government takeover" talking points being used against them and they really really wanted Republican support. This is actually huge news:
"There were criticisms about the public option. That's when supposedly there was going to be a government takeover of health care. And even after the public option wasn't available, we still hear the same rhetoric...We have the concept of an exchange, which previously has been an idea that was embraced by Republicans before I embraced it. Now, suddenly, it became less of a good idea."
UPDATE II: Statement by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, and Credo Action
"President Obama gave Republicans one final chance, and the verdict is in: Bipartisanship is dead. It's clear that no Republicans will vote for health care reform. So Senate Democrats should pass the highly popular public option through reconciliation. Starting tomorrow, we will ramp up our pressure on Senate Democrats to do the will of the people -- and do what's best for America's health care system -- by passing the public option into law."