By Mike Soraghan - 07/22/09 12:50 PM EDT
"I think 70 percent of the American people would want that," Pelosi said. "I want a bill."
But Pelosi also said she believes she has the votes to pass the bill on the floor of the House. Still, she indicated it will be important for members to look at the Senate Finance Committee's version, which is not yet finished. That suggests she may change the House version to more closely resemble the Senate bill.
The Senate Finance version should have broader appeal with Democratic centrists and Republicans, particularly if it does not include a government-run insurance option to compete with the private sector, as expected.
The House healthcare plan is bogged down in the Energy and Commerce Committee, where seven Blue Dog Democrats are threatening to block it unless it is changed to cut more costs.
But it faces other problems. Many members don't like the income surtax on the wealthy to pay for it, particularly freshmen from conservative districts. And rural lawmakers say the bill would build on a Medicare system that shortchanges rural doctors.
Pelosi's comments came at a news conference held hours before President Obama’s primetime news conference to promote the healthcare plan.
Pelosi's news conference highlighted the stories of people who have racked up huge medical bills because they lacked adequate insurance.
"There were days I prayed I wouldn't make it because I knew what I would face when it was over," said Molly Secours of Nashville. Secours had only "catastrophic coverage" when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2007. She ended up with $25,000 in debt and faces foreclosure on her home.