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Pelosi Insists Public Option Will Be in Health Care Bill

Despite troubling signs from the Senate on the prospects of a public option in a health care overhaul, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is standing firm on including one as the centerpiece of a reform package.

“I have every confidence that we will have a public option coming out of the House of Representatives,— Pelosi told reporters Thursday at her weekly press conference.

Moderate Democrats in Pelosi’s own ranks have voiced concern about a government-backed alternative to private insurance undermining the existing marketplace.

But Pelosi made clear Thursday that some version of the program — “It may not be called public option,’ but it will be a level playing field,— she said — is the price of admission for health care reform in her chamber. “We will have a public option in the House that will be real,— she said. “What’s not real is no use doing.—

And Pelosi tried to project calm in the wake of news from the other side of the Capitol that Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) had to punt a scheduled markup of his panel’s legislation to spend more time developing consensus.

“The give-and-take, the back-and-forth of different ideas, you may call them snags. We call them the legislative process,— Pelosi said.

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