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Speaker Nancy Pelosi counted votes Thursday night (10/22) and determined she could not pass a “robust public option” — the most aggressive of the three forms of a public option that the House Democrats have been considering as part of a national overhaul of health care.

Pelosi’s decision—coupled with a significant turn of events yesterday during a private White House meeting—points to an increasingly likely compromise for a “trigger” option for a government plan. This would clear the way for backers to sneak a limited public option through the Senate by attracting moderate Democrats and then to win President Barack Obama’s signature.

Obama told Democratic leadership at the White House Thursday evening that his preference is for the trigger championed by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) – a plan that would allow a public plan to kick in if private insurers don’t expand coverage fast enough, a top administration official told POLITICO. It’s also a sign that Obama is interested in maintaining a sense of bipartisanship around the health reform plan.


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