Huff Post- Ryan Grim First Posted: 03-17-10 10:15 AM | Updated: 03-17-10 10:51 AM
After an intense White House lobbying effort, Dennis Kucinich announced on Wednesday morning that he has decided to vote for health care reform when it comes before the House in the next few days, reversing his previous position and giving a boost to President Obama, congressional leaders and the reform effort.
“In the past week it’s become clear that the vote on the final health bill will be very close,” Kucinich said at a Capitol Hill news conference. “I take this vote with the utmost seriousness. I’m quite aware of the historic fight, which has lasted the last century.
“I have doubts about the bill. This is not the bill I wanted to support,” Kucinich said even as he promised that he would vote “yes” on the proposal.
“If my vote is to be counted, let it count now for passage of the bill, hopefully in the direction of comprehensive health care reform,” the Ohio Democrat said.
Kucinich had been one of the few remaining holdouts who felt that the bill did not go far enough. Kucinich, a former presidential candidate, objected that the bill did not include a robust public insurance option tied to Medicare rates and did not include a provision to allow states to enact single-payer legislation if they so chose. His support gives House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a much-needed vote as she looks for 216 members to move the package through this week.