Pelosi says she 'definitely' has 218 votes for health bill

House Democrats "definitely" have a health reform bill right now that could win 218 votes in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday.

The speaker expressed confidence in her ability to pass legislation including a public (or "government-run") option, arguing that scoring from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) would affect what that public plan will look like in final legislation.

Pelosi said she "definitely" has the votes to pass Democrats' health legislation during an interview on Bloomberg News.

"We have had, I have said for months, we will have a public option in our legislation," she said. "And we have the votes to do that. And we always have."

"The question now is what form will it take?" the speaker added.

The claim comes as the Huffington Post reported Wednesday that Democrats are eight votes shy of being able to pass a bill including the public option, with Pelosi having given House Democrats until this evening to declare how they currently stand on the bill.

Pelosi said that much of what the public option will look like would be determined by the final CBO score. She said Wednesday that Democrats have received some preliminary numbers, but no finalized totals.

"A lot of that will be predicated on the numbers that we get from the Congressional Budget Office as to which approach saves the most money, does achieve the President’s goals of accessible, affordable, quality health-care – improve quality, lower cost, expand coverage, retain choice, if you like what you have, you can keep it," she said.

"And so, we have a situation where, we have a couple of good options," the speaker explained. "I don’t think we have a bad option in the mix. And members will have to choose among them."

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