The public option, a favorite of Democratic leaders and liberals, will not be part of any health care legislation Congress is expected to consider this month.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., buried the idea of a government-run health plan at her weekly press conference.
"We had it; we wanted it," she said, recalling how the House included the public option in the health care bill it passed Nov. 7.
But it's not part of the compromise bill now being crafted by Democratic leaders. "We're talking about something that's not going to be part of the legislation," she said.
The plan was not in the bill passed by the Senate Dec. 24, but a sizeable number of Democrats, notably Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said they were ready to push for the public option if the House once again approved it. House leaders are hoping for votes on health care bills next week.
But, Pelosi said, forget the public option.
"I'm quite sad that a public option isn't in there." Pelosi said, adding, "It's not in there because they don't have the votes to have it in there."