By Mike Soraghan - 10/01/09 07:23 PM EDT
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has ruled out including cooperatives in the
House version of the healthcare bill, putting the House further at odds
with the Senate Finance Committee.
"A state should be allowed to have a co-op. But it doesn't take the place of a public option," Pelosi told reporters Thursday.
The bill being considered by the Senate Finance Committee features cooperatives, and the committee voted down two versions of the public option this week. The bill is considered by many to be the best chance of bringing at least one Republican on board.
But the Republican whom Democrats are courting most, Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), has said she prefers making the public option a fallback option, triggered if reforms don't lower healthcare costs. Last week, Pelosi ruled out including a "trigger" in the bill.
Ruling out cooperatives and triggers could also alienate some centrist Democrats in Pelosi's own chamber.
"I don't like that co-ops and triggers have been dismissed out of hand," said Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.). Sandlin is a leader of the centrist Blue Dog Democrats, but she said on that point that she was speaking for herself, not the group.