Vote on Health Care Must Wait Despite Deal

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Four of the seven conservative Blue Dog Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have sunk their teeth into a health care deal they can chew on.
         
Blue Dogs say it cuts the cost of the plan by more than $100 billion, offers protections to small businesses and enables private plans to truly compete with a public option.
         
"The public option is just that: It's optional," Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., said. "It gives consumers another choice."

GOP leaders said the deal reveals the Blue Dogs have no bite.
    
The breakthrough came on the same day President Obama took his message of change to North Carolina and rural Virginia, a region where access to health care is a problem.

"We're trying to get this done, but the American people can't wait any longer," Obama said.

In the Senate, lawmakers have rejected a public health insurance option and instead want to set up a system of non-profit co-ops to compete with private insurers.
    
Progress is being made, but the full House and Senate won't vote on the bills until after the August recess.

It is the best case scenario for Republicans who plan to use the time off to educate citizens about a plan they say will leave the nation broke and Americans without adequate health care.

"No one has ever seen the number of calls, the (amount) of email and mail that they are seeing in their offices," Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, said. "Clearly it's about 95 to one opposed to their health care proposal and so it's having an impact not just in my office, but in every member's office."

And while lawmakers are back in their districts, special interests will ensure health care remains front and center on the airwaves.  

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