WASHINGTON (CN) – As the hours tick away before a Sunday vote, groups representing doctors and the elderly joined the White House Friday in its final effort to haul hesitant lawmakers over to its side on the health care bill.
When asked during a press conference whether the House already has the necessary 216 votes to pass the legislation this weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi replied indirectly, “When we bring the bill to the floor, we will have a significant victory for the American people.”
But fresh and powerful allies have entered the struggle, with 40-million-member strong AARP throwing its weight behind reform Friday and the American Medical Association lending less enthusiastic support.
Democrats have intensified their efforts, with President Obama giving a lively speech and inviting the entire House Democratic caucus to the White House on the eve of the vote in an effort to win over any lawmakers still on the fence.
And California lawmaker Pelosi is sending a stream of emails to journalists with news of new support for the bill and links to pro-legislation editorials.
AARP issued letters to every member of Congress calling on them to pass the bill and it said, “We urge Congress to seize this opportunity to improve health care so older Americans and their families get the care they need.”
And the doctors’ group announced its backing of the bill despite calling it imperfect.
Obama’s lively speech before rowdy student supporters in Virginia seemed to add new energy to the pro-bill movement. And just minutes after the rally, the White House released a video highlighting a series of numbers important in the health care debate as part of its push to pass reform.
$1,115 is the average monthly premium of employer-sponsored family health care, and is similar to the monthly income of a minimum-wage job, it says. And 625 is the number of people who lost health insurance every hour of last year.