Liberal groups pressing Pelosi on public option

New ad tells House speaker the plan for government-run insurer is in her hands

Published March 15, 2010 2:35PM (EDT)

Even as the Democrats' final healthcare reform bill really takes shape this week, liberal activists haven't given up hope of getting a public option passed. Three groups -- the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, and Credo Action -- unveiled a new TV ad on the issue Monday.

The spot aims directly at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, telling her the public option is in her hands and that there are 51 votes in the Senate for it. (Fifty-one, not 60, is the number of votes needed because Democrats are using reconciliation to get reform done now.)

In truth, things are more complicated than the ad makes them seem -- for instance, some of the committments to the public option it cites were made before reconciliation was on the table, and that changes the dynamic. There's also the problem of getting enough votes in the House to pass a bill even without a public option; with one included, Blue Dogs and vulnerable members would be sure to balk.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Healthcare Reform Nancy Pelosi D-calif.