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Pelosi: Health Insurance Companies Villains’ in Debate

Updated: 1:15 p.m.Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is dramatically escalating her attack on health insurance companies as she rallies House Democrats to go on offense against the industry over the August recess.“They are the villains in this,— Pelosi said Thursday of the insurance companies. “They have been part of the problem in a major way. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening.—Pelosi’s broadside comes as she tries to pull her fractious Caucus together after a compromise that Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) struck Wednesday with conservative members of his panel set off howls among liberals.The Speaker on Thursday morning gave what aides in attendance described as a fiery speech to House Democrats, urging them to take the fight to insurance companies over the five-week recess scheduled to begin Friday.She then laid out the line of attack to reporters gathered outside her office, blasting the industry as “immoral.—“They have had a good thing going for a long time at the expense of the American people and the health of our country,— she said. “But our Members have to go out there ready to take on a big special interest that has not made our country healthier and has made the cost spiral upward and for whom that is coming to an end. This is the fight of our lives.—House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he isn’t worried about Republicans appearing to side with insurance companies as a result of opposing the Democrats’ bill.“They certainly aren’t lily-white in this fight,— Boehner said at a press event. “But most Americans like the health insurance they have. They all think it costs too much, and I understand that. But there’s nothing in [the Democrats’] proposal that would drive down costs.—The Energy and Commerce Committee resumed its long-delayed markup of health care legislation Thursday, with Waxman planning to wrap it up sometime Friday. He warned that the markup could go until about 1 a.m. before resuming later Friday.Steven T. Dennis and Jennifer Bendery contributed to this story.

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