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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The pitch to change Boyd and Kosmas' mind on health care



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a struggle to corral votes to pass health care reform, and in Florida, she'll turn to help from a trusted ally, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The task: persuading the two Florida Democrats who voted against the first plan -- Allen Boyd and Suzanne Kosmas -- that the still-emerging new version is worthwhile.

"I haven't talked to them about it recently. I will be because we'll start whipping," Wasserman Schultz said.

So what's the pitch?

"The pitch to them is the same as the pitch to any member who didn’t vote for it. We’ve got to really stabilize costs, and this is an opportunity to do that. They are both fiscal conservatives, and I’m going to pitch them based on our ability to bring health care costs down, which in Florida is really important."

Boyd, of Monticello, and Kosmas, of New Smyrna Beach, were among 39 House Democrats who opposed the bill, citing cost and other concerns. The issue could also make them politically vulnerable, though Wasserman Schultz dismissed that they were acting out of re-election interests.

"They voted the way they did because they felt like we could have gone further. I want to show them how, with the Senate bill and the modification we will make to it, that it will meet their test."

Boyd and Kosmas have not said whether they can support the plan, in part because the details are still not out. The process calls for the House to pass the Senate version, then make changes that would be approved in the Senate under controversial "reconciliation" rules that sidestep a 60-vote threshold and require a simple majority.

In an interview Kosmas said, "I have some major concerns about whether or not the proposals that we are considering do enough to rein in the skyrocketing costs of health care. Until I see the legislation I’ll hold my decision."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:27pm]


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