At a press conference today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave an indirect answer to a question about the Senate deal to drop the public option from its health reform package, Greg Sargent reports. As Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) did yesterday, Pelosi is taking the approach that she hasn't seen legislative language from the Senate yet and will wait to evaluate it. (Though Pelosi, no doubt, has a good idea of what the compromise entails, and not just from news reports: along with other select leaders and committee chairmen and ranking members, Pelosi attended a meeting on health care with President Obama at the White House yesterday, where this deal, we can assume, was the topic of conversation.)
Here's Pelosi's quote on the deal:
Well what I said was a two-part statement: The president has said, we believe, the House believes that the public option is the best way to hold the insurance companies honest, keep them honest and also to increase competition. If you have a better way, put it on the table. When we see something from the Senate, we'll be able to make a judgment about that.
If the public option is to survive, the impetus will have to come from the House. Based on the tone of Pelosi's comment, we're not seeing that impetus yet. But as we know from watching health care unfold over the past months, things can change from week to week.