Health insurance vote expected this week

March 15, 2010 7:40:41 PM PDT
This is it. After a year of debate, the final vote on health care reform is expected to take place this week. On Monday President Obama traveled to the nation's heartland to make a final push for his plan.

Obama held a campaign-style rally in Strongsville, Ohio, but the real work on his healthcare legislation is going on behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. That is where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership are pushing their colleagues to vote yes.

In Ohio, Obama called on Congress to step up, particularly the undecided, like Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

Nationwide, there are roughly 70 Democratic members of the House who are on the fence with just a week to go.

In San Jose, Zoe Lofgren intends to support the legislation assuming the language and the Congressional Budget Office numbers Congresswoman numbers come out as expected.

ABC7 polled all of the Bay Area members of the House and they all said pretty much the same thing: they support the president's proposal and barring any hiccups, they will support it with their votes. And as that vote count would lead you to expect, outside of South Bay's Valley Medical Center, voters said the same.

"I would vote for healthcare. I think everybody should have healthcare," said one man.

Sandra Susa currently has adequate health insurance, but thinks the current system is inadequate.

"Well because you don't know what happens down the line, you know," said Susa.

Mohammed Abdull does not have health insurance and hopes the health care bill will make it more affordable.

"If it's affordable of course I'll pay for it I don't mind," said Abdull.

Among the Bay Area members of Congress only Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, is undecided.

"The only ones in your list that people in D.C. would have some question about are the valley people: McNerney, Costa, and Cardoza," said ABC7's political analyst Bruce Cain.

Cain said he believes the California Democratic delegation will ultimately back the legislation, but nationwide Time Magazine's senior political analyst Mark Halperin thinks it will be very, very tight.

"The finish line is going to be in sight, but Nancy Pelosi is going to have to scrape and claw and beg and steal for those last few votes," said Halperin.

Halperin said Pelosi will be forced to call the vote without knowing if she has enough. Cain said that will not happen.

"...because you do not want to lose on the floor. That would be bad for Nancy Pelosi's speakership and it would be bad for the presidency of Barack Obama," said Cain.

The only Bay Area Democrat ABC7 did not hear from on Monday was Congressman Pete Stark, D-Fremont.

In the House, Nancy Pelosi needs 216 votes, but she has less than a week to get them.


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