For the speaker, that means the fight comes down to money versus votes. Linking the plans to Medicare could save the government an additional $85 billion over 10 years — money Pelosi desperately needs to bring the cost of her bill down by $200 billion. But the moderates could have the votes to make her buckle.
After months of careful planning, Democrats in both chambers now seem to be lurching about for the right combination of mandates, cuts, subsidies and revenue measures to get a bill through Obama’s desk. This has given liberals more time to explain how optional government-run coverage would work and to debunk some of the rumors that were swirling in August.
“I see momentum building,” said Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an outspoken supporter of the public option, citing a recent Anzalone-Liszt poll in the 91 most-competitive congressional districts that showed an overwhelming majority want Congress to include a public option if it will also be mandating coverage.
“We know with the public option it’s a long road. We get better as time moves on,” Schumer said, citing a recent New York Times/CBS News poll that showed wide support for the public option. “I am very hopeful, I think there is a really high chance that at the end of the day there is a public option in the bill that the president signs.”