Kucinich indicates willingness to be deciding vote against healthcare

Liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) indicated Monday night that he is willing to serve as the deciding vote against healthcare reform legislation.

The former presidential candidate voted against the House's healthcare bill in November because it lacked a "robust" public health insurance option. He called it a giveaway for the insurance industry.

To proceed on healthcare, the House will likely have to pass the Senate's bill, which does not include a public option at all, along with a package of fixes to the bill proposed by President Barack Obama.

"I told the president twice in two different meetings that I couldn't support the bill if it didn't have a robust public option" or significant consumer protections, he said on MSNBC.

Pressed by host Lawrence O'Donnell on how he will vote, the Ohio congressman said "If that sounded like a no, you're correct."

Asked if he was willing to serve as the deciding vote against the Democrats' healthcare reform bill, Kucinich indicated he was.

"Every vote counts. And I am one of 435 members of the House of Representatives," he said. "If the White House is ready to go back and have a robust public option...Then we have something to talk about. Otherwise, I need to hear more about what they're proposing. And what they've proposed so far isn't anything different than I voted against."

Democratic leaders are currently rounding up votes to pass the final version of the legislation. Kucinich is listed as a firm "no" vote in the latest healthcare whip count by The Hill.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) has threatened to whip at least 12 votes against the proposal because he believes it will allow federal subsidies to fund healthcare plans that provide for abortions. But the Michigan lawmaker said Monday that he thinks a deal could be reached for his support.

That could take pressure off House leaders, who now need 216 votes to pass the bill because of vacancies, to pick off other "no" votes this time around.

218 House members were needed to pass the bill through the House in November.