Via Fox News, so mark this (especially the count) as unconfirmed:

Just when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed to be one vote shy of the number needed for health care reform to pass, a Democrat who voted for the bill last year announced he is switching his vote to no.

The vote tally on health care reform is starting to look like the Dow.

Just when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed to be one vote shy of the 216 she needs for health care reform to pass, a Democrat who voted for the bill last year says he's switching his vote to no.

The opposition from Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., dials back the number of House members leaning toward voting yes to 214, and the number leaning toward voting no to 217.

The piece then goes on to "quote" DeFazio as a possible switch back to yes, provided the fix legislation increases rural Medicare spending.  Not sure exactly what that means, let alone entails, but it's a shame to see a generally principled progressive hinting that he could be bought off with some pork.

Either way, DeFazio's pivot cancels out Boccieri's, so expect The Hill to change its 215-216 back to 214-217 shortly. Clyburn announced he would seek fast commitments starting as early as this afternoon prior to Boccieri's announcement, so there's a possibility the media count is pessimistic.

I've been a consistent critic of the Senate bill, and unlike most people here I don't think that killing it will be the end of the world.  On the contrary, if the Democrats have any sense of self-preservation, they will enact real reform through the legislative mechanism that's been proven by both parties for expanding access to medical care--the expansion of entitlements.  I still suspect that this is the contingency plan Obama alluded to following the healthcare summit, although I worry that the White House underestimates the political payoff of going this route out of sheer pride.

Anyways, I will not be pleased if the House votes out a turd on Sunday.  But I have a question for all you "pass at any cost" types here.  Can you survive if the  Senate legislation fails? Will you curl up somewhere and cry while  the GOP runs you into the ground from here to November? Are you so high on the fumes of "momentuous moments" and "making history" that you'll be impotent if you don't get your way?

Just askin'.

UPDATE: Confirmed, via CQPolitics

Peter A. DeFazio , D-Ore., said he was threatening to withhold his vote because the final bill does not include a deal involving higher Medicare reimbursements for low-cost areas such as Portland in his home state. The plan was dropped because it might be struck by a Senate rule that blocks only "incidental" changes in revenues and outlays.

Once again, I don't know the specifics of DeFazio's demands, but it occurs to me that it's pretty tough to take up any negotiation position on an increase or decrease in reimbursement rates that runs afoul of the Byrd rule.

Originally posted to revprez on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:11 AM PDT.

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