February 28th, 2010
09:03 AM ET
3 years ago

Pelosi: Health care bill can be bipartisan even without GOP votes


Washington (CNN) - The top House Democrat appears to be signaling that her party has all but given up any hope of achieving meaningful bipartisan support for a health care reform bill.

“Bipartisanship is a two-way street,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declares in an interview airing Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“But let me say this,” Pelosi continues, “The bill can be bipartisan, even though the votes might not be bipartisan, because they [Republicans] have made their imprint on this.”

Pelosi pointed to the fact that the final bill will, in all likelihood, not include a government-run public health insurance option, a provision vigorously opposed by congressional Republicans but supported by liberal House Democrats. Instead, Pelosi tells CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, Democrats have settled on insurance exchanges as a way to help contain health care costs. That compromise position, Pelosi suggested, reflects an acknowledgement of Republicans’ approach to health care reform.

Reflecting a key provision of the Senate bill passed late last year, the legislative outline released by the White House last week does not include a public option. Asked about the White House’s decision to forego a provision popular with many liberals in the Democratic Party, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration made that decision because it did not appear that there would be sufficient votes to get the public option passed in Congress. Although some liberal Democrats in both chambers favor a public option, a substantial block of conservative Democrats in the House, known as the Blue Dogs, do not support it.

In the interview, Pelosi is also quick to suggest that President Obama and congressional Democrats have gone to great lengths to give Republicans an opportunity to weigh in on health care reform notwithstanding fundamental ideological differences between the two parties.

“We went into the legislative process - hundreds of hours of hearings and bill writing and all the rest - where the Republicans made their suggestions,” Pelosi tells Crowley. “We know that one of the reasons we didn’t have a bill in the fall is because the president wanted to give the Senate more time to arrive at bipartisanship in the Senate bill, which he thought might be possible then.”

Pelosi added, “And so what we’ve had is the year of trying to strive for bipartisanship, as I say over 100 Republican amendments in the bill. And the Republicans placed their own bill on the floor, here in the House, which insured 3 million. Our bill insures over 30 million. So we have a different value system here.”

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Filed under: Congress • Health care • Nancy Pelosi • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. WASPMM

    Leftisloony, well done. Mobile how profound? You deserve a WOW also.

    February 28, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. Dachozen1

    I keep hearing how this plan is a giveaway for this and that social group. There seems to be a disconnect between whats imaginary and what's reality. The fact is many wealthy people have been brought down by insurance bills. Many people who worked all of their lives were recently laid off and left without insurance. Also, many people who had insurance only to find out their insurance company wouldn't pay for coverage during a crisis. No one knows how good their health insurance is until their is a tragedy. It's too late for you to find out your insurance company is trying to get out of paying. I hope people wise up and make disagreements that have some factual content. Some Americans are so dumb it is useless to debate.

    February 28, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. MP

    We voted in a majority of democrats into the House and Senate. We voted in Obama as president,. He campaigned on exactly this type of healthcare reform – exchanges and pooling large groups – like the federal employees insurance – (it is actually just insurance reform). The house and senate went through the process of voting in two bills with huge majorities (democracy). There were hundreds of republican amendments (democracy). As by usual procedure, this bill is a reconciliation of the two bills. This is what we voted Obama in for in the presidential election to do. This is what we voted congress in to do. I know some progressives were hoping that Obama was pandering to the moderates when he said during the campaign that he would not be able to do single payer and would do these free market exchanges instead. I know some republicans hoped that the bill would be...(from what I remember, this IS what they wanted – increased free market competition – like what will happen on the exchange). I do not understand the objections, except that it is mostly political. Half the people in the US are already on some form of government health insurance program right now, either medicaid, medicare, or VA. We need to make insurance work better for everyone. It just seems like the progressives want more change and the republicans want less. The same arguments happened when the Constitution was written. Almost no one was 100% satisfied with it. Ben finally got them to realize this is what you get in a democracy and this is as good as it gets. They signed it . If they had polled most of them, a majority would have said, it is not perfect, it is not what I wanted. So, here we are in the middle with this healthcare bill – a compromise bill – big surprise! The CNN poll reflects both those who want more from this bill, and those who want less – I think this is a pretty good bill – a few tweaks perhaps – but it is defiantly bipartisan in its current form.

    February 28, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. WASPMM

    Not mobile, mollie.

    February 28, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Tony T

    as an American I am absolutely embarrassed that this dim, arrogant, truly mindless, loon is the speaker of the House. How is it possible that she is a leader. It is difficult even watching here as she dodges questions and spouts the party talking points that no one really believes. She was asked a simple question: do you have the 217 votes required to pass the Senate version? EVERYONE KNOWS THE ANSWER IS NO!!! But she talked in circles, said they were going to look at putting a new bill together, talked about letting the Senate go first, which we all know can't happen. You can't fix a law, that hasn't been passed. Frustrated with these loons who continue to lie to us like we are dumb, when PELOSI may be one of the dumbest people on the planet.

    February 28, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Republicans are the biggest blockade since the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Republicans say they have a better Idea?

    Why did it take Obama's administration to make us all realize there was a problem at all with health care? I don't get it! George Bush did not indicate once in 8 years of Republican rule that there was a problem at all.

    February 28, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. jsmith

    If you have paid any attention this last year, and you can watch the Above Pelosi interview and beleive even one word of what she says, you are a progressive wanting your way at any cost to The United States and its people. This lady is black hearted and she wants you controlled and to remember your place is under her feet.

    February 28, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Bob

    Let's summarise. The DEMs have known since the Election Nov 2008 of the 60/40 Majority in Senate and huge majority in House. The DEMs could have written the HC Bill over Christmas 2008, and could have voted it through in early 2009, but DEMs are a fragmented, disorganised, Party demonstrating zero leadership, and they have failed the American People. They can only blame themselves now trying a desperate "Summit" to try to save face. Desperate & Pathetic Party Politics and backroom DEM Party deals may obiliterate the DEM Party for generations to come, they can only blame themselves. Hooray to the REPUBLICANS for standing up for the people!

    February 28, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. MP

    We voted in a majority of democrats into the House and Senate. We voted in Obama as president,. He campaigned on exactly this type of healthcare reform – exchanges and pooling large groups – like the federal employees insurance – (it is actually just insurance reform). The house and senate went through the process of voting in two bills with huge majorities (democracy). There were hundreds of republican amendments (democracy). As by usual procedure, this bill is a reconciliation of the two bills. This is what we voted Obama in for in the presidential election to do. This is what we voted congress in to do. I know some progressives were hoping that Obama was pandering to the moderates when he said during the campaign that he would not be able to do single payer and would do these free market exchanges instead. I know some republicans hoped that the bill would be...(from what I remember, this IS what they wanted – increased free market competition – like what will happen on the exchange). I do not understand the objections, except that it is mostly political. Half the people in the US are already on some form of government health insurance program right now, either medicaid, medicare, or VA. We need to make insurance work better for everyone. It just seems like the progressives want more change and the republicans want less. The same arguments happened when the Constitution was written. Almost no one was 100% satisfied with it. Ben finally got them to realize this is what you get in a democracy and this is as good as it gets. They signed it . If they had polled most of them, a majority would have said, it is not perfect, it is not what I wanted. So, here we are in the middle with this healthcare bill – a compromise bill – big surprise! The poll reflects both those who want more from this bill, and those who want less – I think this is a pretty good bill – a few tweaks perhaps – but it is defiantly bipartisan in its current form.

    February 28, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. Tony T

    "WE NEED A PUBLIC OPTION!!! " That is a dead issue. Get a clue and let it go. There is no way for the public option to be passed. If the Dems had the votes this would have been done already. Start over and do real reform. If losing "Teddy's" seat wasn't a big enough wake up call, then in 9 months when the Dems lose 50 seats, maybe that will do it.

    February 28, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Wes410

    This is easy logic to follow here: The bill is not specifically sponsored by republicans but still contains an admitted 80% of content agreed upon by republicans. When it passes, it will contain numerous examples of republican initiated ideas. That's what Pelosi is saying and no republican lies can dispute those cold hard facts.

    February 28, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Spartacus7502

    The question is What Value does and Insurance Company bring to healthcare?

    What is the service that they bring to the transaction that is worth $, or worth more than a rival?

    The ability to judge risk pools, or attrack popular doctors and facilities could be a differentiator, but health insurance is like airline travel. There is no real difference between carriers in the long run, and that is why airlines generate no net ROI for life. Without the distortion of the marketplace, insurance companies would be in the same boat.

    Collecting and paying fees on behalf of others is a commodity service. It should not generate giant profits, and if it did it should generate enough new entrants into the marketplace to remove the profit margin.

    February 28, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. Mike

    Pelosi claims many of the ideas are Republican, maybe that's why so many Democrats won't support it.

    February 28, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. Old White Virginia Female

    I cannot understand why you folks do not understand the English language. When the Democrats go through all of the laborious steps to get a bill passed and modify their original bill and their original goals to reflect preferences of the Republican Party, that is what bipartisanship is. That is an attempt to compromise. That is what has taken place over the past year with health care/insurance company reform. What some of the American public seems to think bipartisanship is is when the Democrats stop being Democrats and capitulate on everything to the Republicans. Now, whether the Republicans choose to be bipartisan and say, "Well, if I wrote this bill I would only include three lines and all three of them would help the insurance industry, but I can see that there are serious changes proposed in this bill which will benefit Americans all over this country and even in my district and so I'm going to vote for it," or choose to follow the Republican leadership in lock-step and "Just say No," the simple fact is the bill that is emerging from the reconciliation of the House and Senate versions, plus direct input from President Obama and as a result of the summit input (meager as it was), is in fact a BIPARTISAN bill. And once again, Speaker Pelosi absolutely said it best and much more succinctly than I just did, but I am appalled at the ignorance and/or deafness exhibited by some of these posts. I do hope the independents in this country are more astute.

    February 28, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Bob

    Well said MIKE.
    The DEMs do not have the votes, if they did, they could have passed the HC bill last year.
    Simple question to the DEMS: Why have the DEMa opposed "Tort Reform" so long? It will – unchallengable – lower costs.
    Simple answer: The DEMs always protect their special interests, the trial lawyers.

    February 28, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Kate

    No public option for the people that need insurance and health care. Hmmm......We the people support the insurance that Congress has, so let's protest and take theirs away and see how they scramble for a public option. THEY HAVE A GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE PLAN.

    February 28, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. bacspartus

    I'm pretty sure Nancy Pelosi proves that you don't have to be blond to be dizzy. 200+ million citizens to support a health care program for 30 million peoples, minus the illegals = roughly 17 uninsured Americans. Which by the way some are rich enough to pay for their own medical costs so they have no need to maintain a monthly premiums (i.e. Shawn Penn, Bruce Springsteen, and the likes) like the average Joe does.
    Sum it all up, most Americans are suckers and the politicians knows it. They will use this knowledge to stay in power, i.e Nancy Pelosi.

    February 28, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. indy

    Basically, Republicans or anyone who disagrees with us can say what they want. We (as Democrats) will pass the bill we want and because you got to say where you disagreed, it's a bipartisan bill. It sounds like a great way to live in your own little world. It also sounds like something they would have criticized when not in power. So much for change you can believe in.

    February 28, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. sifto77

    you people who despise Pelosi should realize that she "runs" Obama and the democratic party–she is the "face" of the liberal democrats–try as you might–you cannot separate her from Obama–she is the evil brains behind your President. He likes to portray himself as the "good cop" and lets her have the title of "bad cop" which she does very well–Believe it–Pelosi and Obama are in lock-step whether you people like it or not.....

    February 28, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. Tennessean

    Thank you for giving a forum to Nancy Pelosi (please put her on every day!). The Republicans just picked up 10 more seats in the House. The elections cannot come soon enough...

    February 28, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. none

    Pelosi is delusional. She needs to see a doctor.

    February 28, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. Sue

    I find it amazing that Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the liberal/socialist Dems--think that the majority in the country are as blind, clueless, and gullible as the Obama drones.

    This is even after the elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

    Only 8 more months-–and Obama, Pelosi, and Reid will lose their power/control and wake up from their la-la lands.

    Tick tick tick.........Only 8 more months until the elections.

    February 28, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. jules sand-perkins

    How can Speaker Pelosi think that Americans are stupid enough to believe her assertion that a bill can be bipartisan without Republicans' voting for it–especially when Republicans stated that the bill needed to be junked and started over on a black piece of paper?
    If there is any rationality to her thinking, its basis is that we were stupid enough to vole for her and President Obama in the first place.

    February 28, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Wes410

    This is typical of the republican view, "pelosi is delusional." Don't bother to offer any rational arguments to the discussion, just name call. That will definitely get you guys re-elected come November. Please keep it up.

    This is easy logic to follow here: The bill is not specifically sponsored by republicans but still contains an admitted 80% of content agreed upon by republicans. When it passes, it will contain numerous examples of republican initiated ideas. That's what Pelosi is saying and no republican lies can dispute those cold hard facts.

    February 28, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. Sue

    Republicans are the biggest blockade since the Cuban Missile Crisis:

    Republicans say they have a better Idea?

    Why did it take Obama's administration to make us all realize there was a problem at all with health care? I don't get it! George Bush did not indicate once in 8 years of Republican rule that there was a problem at all.

    ========================================

    Because there really wasn't a problem. The children of US citizens can get coverage through S-Chip-–all states. Low income US CITIZENS can get coverage through Medical Assistance through the welfare offices, Medicare/Medicaid.

    Because under George Bush, millions of US citizens had jobs-–and were getting health care benefits through their jobs.

    Because under George Bush and the Republicans-–the majority of Republicans were not concerned about providing health care coverage to illegals.

    February 28, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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