Washington (CNN) - Health care reform advocates inched closer to victory Wednesday morning as a high-profile liberal Democrat switched his position and announced his intention to vote for a sweeping $875 billion plan under consideration in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said he believes "health care is a civil right." He had previously characterized the bill, which passed the Senate in December, as little more than a boondoggle for private insurers.
Kucinich was publicly lobbied for his vote by President Barack Obama during the president's visit this week to Kucinich's congressional district in Ohio. He told reporters he's had four meetings with Obama to discuss the bill.
"The president's visit to my district ... underscored the urgency of this vote," Kucinich said. "I have doubts about the bill ... [but] I've decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation."
He said he ultimately had "to make a decision on the bill as it is, not on the bill as I'd like to see it."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, needs 216 votes from her 253-member caucus to pass the measure. No Republicans are expected to back it.
A number of House Democrats have refused to state their voting intentions publicly. Twenty-six House Democrats, however, have indicated they will join Republicans in opposing the Senate plan. Included in that total are five House Democrats who said Tuesday that they will vote against the Senate legislation.
That puts opponents of reform 12 votes shy of the 216 needed to prevent Obama from scoring a major victory on his top domestic priority.
– CNN's Charles Riley, Alan Silverleib, Jeff Simon and Robert Yoon contributed to this report
Thanks Dennis! I know it's not perfect, but it's a start. Go America! USA! USA!
It's time to stop all the rhetoric. Health care reform is needed. BOTH Presidential candidates campaigned promising it. Obama is the first President in memory who is sincerely trying to do everything he promised during the campaign. ANYONE who believes current health care is not a major problem is not in touch with reality and/or the people he/she represents, in the case of Congress. So, if you can't/won't lead, then follow, or...GET OUT OF THE WAY, LIKE NOW!
That should be the sign to Ohio people to vote him out.
Wonder what kind of sweetheart, under the table deal Kucinich got from obama? If these idiots had the votes to pass obamacare as Pelosi claims, they would have voted on it already.
Just sent my email to Kucinich: Very disappointing to see you cave in, but I guess this is where we separate the true patriots from those that just pretend. You have lost my support and funding for flip flopping your vote to "Yes" on this Health Care issue, there is much more at stake here then Medical Rights, this bill is a travesty and is evil. The entire Obama Administration is disintegrating and against the country and you have just joined their side, in effect you just committed political suicide. I am willing to bet that you have just sealed your career and will NOT be elected in the next election. Goodbye and Good Riddance to You.
Maybe we shoud all chip in and purchase Rep. Dennis Kucinich
a Air Force One. People we need to vote the jerks like Kucinich out of office.
This legislation is so tainted by corruption and payoffs and so costly only tyrants and ideologues could justify its passage. We the People want Congress to start over and do health care reform in an orderly, step by step fashion. Those who vote for this legislation will be out of office after the next election.
Thank you, Rep. Kucinich!
While you recognize that you may not get everything you want with this bill, you have accepted the fact that the Republicans want to stop health care reform – as they always have and always will – regardless of the harm it does to our country and her citizens.
Health Care Reform Will Pass!!!!
Dirty politics personified!
Maybe it's just a little too early in the morning for me, but is there something screwy with the numbers in the last three paragraphs?
Way to go Senator.
Passing the Health Care Reform Bill is decent thing to do.
Kucinich actually supporting this bill should be the greatest reason for others to realize it should not be supported!
Kucinich can be a "crazy" but at least he can know when this vote "MATTERS" Dont listen to all republican babble and vote YES on healthcare reform bill!
What did we get for his vote? Nothing so what else is new with Dennis, has not done anything for his district since he was elected.
Our Governments job is to protect Americans from all enemies’, foreign and domestic.
America’s top domestic enemies:
1. Wall Street
2. Health Insurance Providers
3. Corporate Banks/ Credit Card Companies
4. All Other Insurance Providers
It's not anything near what he wants, but he nows it's a "now or never" situation. Some change is better than none. For those Obama haters that say this is a liberal plot toward socialism, it looks like about the most Rpublican approach at healthcare a Democrat can have, forcing the sale of more insurance policies. Insurance IS the problem.
Thank you Rep. Kucinich. It took you long enough to do the right thing.
Nice to see that Rep. Kucinich won't let his prinicples be swayed by rides in Air Force One. Wonder what wonderful deals will be included in the bill for Ohio?
What a sell out!!!! Another back room deal????
I'm shocked!!!!!! Kucinich flipping???? Please, say it ain't so >>>> Trough feeder & traitor >>>>>>>>>>
So, two questions: What bribes was Kuchinich given to switch and how in the hell is the US going to pay for the bill if it passes?
We've seen how much it took to get the "good" senator from Nebraska to flip. I wonder what Kuchinich got.
Civil right or not, the US is flat broke. China owns us. The CBO, before it got completely worked by the Whitehouse, said that the bill would cost us a cool trillion.
When dose one of our law makers stand up and say "we are broke, stop spending!"? When do the libs stop pandering to the non tax paying people? When do we, the people, figure out that our country is in a death spiral? When do we have the courage to reverse what is going on?
And, by the way, Mr. "you lie" was right. Obama was lying.
Whatcha get Kucinich? Way to stand on your morals and principles...nice knowing ya.
Thank you, Mr. Kucinich!
I cant wait to see what odumbo promised Kucinich to gain his vote. This administration is pure slime and nothing short of it.
2010/2012 REAL Change is coming