Speaker Nancy Pelosi affirmed on Wednesday that the House would pass a health care bill before the August recess, and she said in no equivocal terms that it would include a public insurance option.
"I promised the president that we'd have a health care bill out of the House by the August break, and we will do just that," Pelosi said in a speech at the Campus Progress National Conference. "And it will have a public option," she continued, to a thunderous applause.
Pelosi's remarks came at a critical juncture in the health care debate, as a government-run alternative to private insurance faces serious opposition in Congress.
She noted the arguments of her critics and borrowed some of their language to rebuke them. "We're trying to pull the insurance companies out from between you and your doctor," said the Speaker.
But Pelosi wasn't naive about the challenges she, and the bill's proponents, will face. "I'm willing to take the heat as long as we get the bill passed," she said.
In her closing remarks, she urged the young progressives before her to reach out to their senators and representatives to help make sure Congress passes a bill that provides affordable, quality care to all Americans.
President Bill Clinton, who followed Pelosi in his keynote address, said he fully supported the Speaker and expressed confidence that Congress and President Obama would succeed at reforming health care this year.