WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed off Thursday on a key component of a health care deal reached with conservative Democrats earlier in the week, potentially paving the way for a new consensus among the fractured House majority.
The deal between four fiscally conservative congressmen - part of the so-called "Blue Dog" coalition - and the chamber's Democratic leadership allowed debate to resume Wednesday in the critical House Energy and Commerce Committee.
A full House vote on the health care plan has been delayed until after the August congressional recess in part because the committee's fiscal conservatives had threatened to defeat the bill if several of their concerns were not addressed.
The Energy and Commerce Committee is the last of three committees required to clear the bill before it can be considered by the full House.
Pelosi told Capitol Hill reporters that she is "okay" with language instructing the Health and Human Services secretary to negotiate reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals under a government-run health care option.
The idea is a key concession to conservatives worried that a public plan would have an unfair advantage over private insurers if it is allowed to tie its hospital and doctor payments to lower Medicare rates.
Conservative opponents of the public option have maintained that a not-for-profit plan would have a competitive advantage over private insurers and eventually would wipe them out.
The provision is "not my preference" but "it meets the test of having an effective public option," Pelosi said.
"I am for the strongest possible public option" to keep private sector "honest" and reach the goal of universal coverage, she added.
Pelosi noted that the provision had also been adopted by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee chaired by Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy - a longtime liberal advocate for health care reform.
"I have a comfort level with (Kennedy's) language," Pelosi said. It proves there is "common ground" between the Democrats' conservative and liberal wings.
The agreement with the Blue Dogs, which is projected to lower the cost of the House plan by $100 billion over a decade, would also exempt businesses with payrolls below $500,000 from having to provide health coverage to their workers.
In addition, the agreement calls for the creation of state-run health insurance cooperatives to compete with a public health insurance option and private insurers.
It is not clear if any 52 House Blue Dogs beyond the four who made the agreement will sign on. It also remains unclear if House liberals will agree to the changes.
In a statement issued by the White House on Wednesday, Obama thanked members of the House and Senate, including "some Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee," for "working so hard" to reach an agreement.
The Blue Dogs had initially threatened to derail the House bill because of concerns that it cost too much and fails to address systemic problems in the nation's ailing health care industry.
While momentum for reform may have accelerated in the House, prospects have grown more cloudy in the Senate. On Wednesday, two key Senate Republicans negotiating a bipartisan agreement said they now consider a deal out of reach before the Senate goes on its August recess.
The so-called "Gang of Six" negotiators - three Democrats and three Republicans - have been working to reach a compromise in the Senate Finance Committee.
All Americans should get free botox just like madam Pelosi!
I thank the Lord that there are enough people who had the sense to give this thing pause and have it done right not just fast.
So not only is pubic option still in the bill, but also the co-op. This is novice progression. I said we should have evrything on the table if we are actually going to reform healthcare. As for provider reimbursement, if a public option is passed, I think it should be a requirement for the HHS Secretary to negotiate reimbursement rates to empower PCPs and specialist to treat patients with the public option.
It must be quite a shock to Pelosi and Obama to be forced to negotiate as opposed to just getting their way.
Obama "I want you to hold me accountable". Seems to be sticking in his throat now.
She needs to crack the whip on those so call Blue dog Democrats and the Democratic reps in general !!!! I swear I'm a card packing lifelong Democrat, but these guys on the Hill are their own worst enemy!!! The Democrats can not stick together on nothing and they wonder why the Republicans although down and out are just sitting back waiting until next year. They are going to put all these idiots up for election out of office next year and take control again!!
Message to you Democrats get your acts together or get ready to be put out next year!!!
This deal is not about appeasing fiscal conservatives. The liberal plan is cheaper for taxpayers. This deal is about appeasing conservative supporters of insurance companies.
Why can't you supporters of the plan see that any government run health plan will too be much cheaper (at taxpayer expense) than private insurance, and policy holders will automatically want to switch to the cheaper plan hoping for the best. That is the way the government will control whether or not you get health care, life/death.
Maybe during this recession in August the members will TAKE THE TIME TO READ this bill on health care CAREFULLY. I believe if they were to have their health care taken away THEY WOULD READ THIS BILL CAREFULLY. As of now there is NO INCENTIVE for them to bother. I believe they will be influenced by the lobbists that have the "BUCKS" to influence them. Pelosie is no different. She's in there for the same thing. It's called VOTES. Pay attention VOTERS. Make sure of what you are getting.
Your Congressmen and Senators are SUPPOSE to be WORKING FOR you. Do you really think they will read this thing and VOTE in your best interest? Delay can be good! You know the saying about Rome! It wasn't built in a day! TIME TO STUDY EACH WORD IN THIS THING. REMEMBER WE ARE GOING TO BE PAYING FOR THIS AS WELL AS THE STIMULUS TO THE CHINESE.
Just goes to show Congress can work and be productive for the american people!
As long as even one for-profit insurance company remains in the mix, it will provide cheaper "healthcare" to those who don't actually need any and then dump them on the public option if and when they do need services. The for-profit concerns will reap huge profits while you and I foot the bill for actual healthcare. This deal is a SCAM!
Who voted for these crooks?
The deal saves only $100 billion out of at least $1 trillion. That's, at most, ten percent. And it still requires working Americans to pay the medical bills of the deadbeats.
No thanks. Not even a good try.
I do not believe Nancy Pelosi has the country's best interest at heart.
Oh, we really care that Pelosi has put her stamp of approval on this. It's still going down in flames if a lot of us have anything to say about it. They act like the can appease us with a little concession but don't realize that we DO NOT WANT A NATIONALIZED HEALTH PLAN
The provision " is not my preference " but "it meets the test of having an effective public option".
No it doesn't Pelosi. That's the status quo! Quit lying! All that is going to do is raise the price above a REAL public option.
You politicians need to know health care reform is very high profile right now, and opponents can count on losing their seats in congress. We've waited too long for this.
In your time in congress you've received $1.2 million from health care/insurance/pharmaceutical industries.
How is this so hard? Look at where our money goes now. ALL insurance companies are making a profit, paying their executives millions, putting millions of dollars in advertising, and paying millions to lobbyists. WHERE DO YOU THINK ALL THIS MONEY IS COMING FROM? THE MONEY IS COMING FROM US. A government funded healthcare system could lower cost just because they would not have to pay millions for advertising, millions to lobbyists, and millions to executives. They would be able to negotiate better prices for medication/medical equipment. Sure they would be some rough spots, but in the long run people would be better off. THE GOVERNEMTN WOULD WORK ON PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE. No insurance cares about preventative medicine, they only care about profit. Their finance people make the decisions on what is covered, not doctors. We have a shot to fix one of the worst healthcare systems. Look at the rest of the world, do you think they have anywhere near the number of problems with healthcare?
Anything that Nancy Pelosi agrees to has to be bad for those of us who actually work and pay taxes and don't do drugs. Where is that report on Charlie Rangel not paying his taxes?
Pelosi has a 24% approval rating. Her response: She doesn't care if people like her. Trusting her is more important. Too bad she didn't know that only 24% coincidentally trust her. She is more out of touch and less popular than Bush.
Let's blink our eyes & click our heals – Maybe she will go back to Oz.
But the "Lock is Old and Rusty".
STOP THE GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF HEALTHCARE!
Pelosi doesn't want to control costs - she and the rest of her socialist gang want to control the lives of every American.
If they get their way, freedom and liberty will be on life support, along with prosperity.
STOP THE LIBERALS! STOP THE RECKLESS SPENDING!
President Obama was elected because we wanted and needed CHANGE. The "Blue Dogs" will be tossed out of office if they block the change we so dearly need!!!!!
Dem wants to pass this Healthcare plan so it can be used as a campaign platform for the next reelection. I would like to know the time table (if pass) when it will take effect: 2012? Just asking!
Wow, Queen Pelosi has agreed to something "conservative". I hope she has time to tell President Obama what's new in the Bill he's been pitching in supermarkets this week.
It seems to me that having "state-run health insurance cooperatives to compete with a public health insurance option and private insurers" doesn't solve anything. Now we'll have both state and government bureaucracies to support and both will be working to drive private insurers out of the market using our tax dollars. Oops, I mean the wealthy taxpayers' dollars because Obama will never tax the middle class.
This healthcare will never pass. Too many republicans and no-nothing talking heads are trying to defeat it.... AND, the media is helping them.
It's just politics as usual.
The republicans are on a course to finish destroying our country – and you people are helping them.
I personally don't care (I'm rich) but it would be nice if you people would stand behind our President on this healthcare reform.
Maybe when you lose your jobs and your healthcare you'll look at things differently....but, the republicans would already have won and you'll be out in the cold with no healthcare. Too bad. LOL
They should not pass any health care reform that they are not required to use themselves. They want to shove some half-ass coverage on us, while they are exempt from using it. What a crock. Vote these idiots out of office!