September 11th, 2009
12:43 PM ET
9 years ago

Key Democrat predicts final health bill will have 'some form' of public option

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Democrats met Friday in hope of achieving consensus on one of the biggest sticking points in the health-care battle, the House majority leader predicted final legislation will include a "public option."

The question, Rep. Steny Hoyer told CNN, is what form it will be in. "We'll have to see how that legislative process goes. The public option is a priority for us, it's our objective, and we think that in some form, a public option will be available," he said on CNN's "American Morning."

In recent days, the White House has been speaking with moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the Finance Committee
negotiators, about her idea for a "trigger mechanism" that would bring a public option in the future if health-care legislation fails to meet thresholds for expanding coverage and reducing costs, Snowe told CNN on Wednesday.

Moderate Democrats who are uneasy with a public option, such as Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, have said they could support a trigger mechanism. Such support could help a health-care bill gain the 60 Senate votes that would be necessary to overcome any filibuster attempt by Republicans.

The mechanism might also satisfy some liberal Democrats who previously described a public option as a necessity. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had argued that a bill wouldn't pass the House without a government-run public health insurance option.

But Pelosi and others have softened their language in recent days as the focus has turned more toward a compromise. "This is about a goal. It's not about provisions," Pelosi said Thursday, adding that so long as legislation meets goals of "affordability and accessibility and quality ... then we will go forward with that bill."

Republicans unanimously oppose including a public option as part of
initial steps. Some more conservative-leaning Democrats also express concerns
that it could be too much government involvement and could put private insurers
out of business through unfair competition.

President Barack Obama insists a public-option entity would act as a
non-profit that has to fund itself. He said it would help hold insurance
companies accountable.

"We want to see the public option in a bill passed from the House,"
Hoyer, D-Maryland, told CNN Friday. But he added, "we ought not to just focus
on that."

Asked whether he would ultimately support a bill without such an option,
Hoyer said, "I'm prepared to pass a health-care reform bill that provides
millions access to affordable, quality, health care.

"We think the public option is an important component of that. But
obviously you're going to have to have 218 votes in the house and you're going
to have to have at least a majority in the Senate to do that. We'll have to see
how that legislative process goes."

–CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report

Filed under: Health care • Olympia Snowe
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. Hyprocrite

    Joe Wilson, and his four sons, all have government sponsored healthcare. It is called Tricare. Joe is a vet, and all of his sons are serving or have served. So, since Joe is so against gov. health care, why doesn't he cancel his own policy and go private?

    September 11, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. gt

    the democrats control all the branches ,,, do what you want ,,, let the chips fall where they may ..... stop blameing the republicans..

    September 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. Some republican guy

    We need to end all farm subsidies now!!! They're just a socialistic way for the government to meddle in the free market. This will lead to a government takeover of agriculture!!! We are not a socialist country like Canada or Mexico!!! Have a nice day!

    September 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Nagudcm Sugna

    Of course it will. Otherwise there will be no way for the goverment to encourage businesses out of providing healt care benefits in the future.

    September 11, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    There'll be no socialist public option if the republicans will follow the leadership of JOE WILSON of South Carolina and expose the truth about this un-american train-wreck of a proposal.

    September 11, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. J.P.

    "Key Democrat predicts final health bill will have 'some form' of public option"

    Pass this thing and the Democrat majority in both houses will have "some form" of being sent home in the 2010 midterms.

    We refuse to be revenue batteries in the O'topian Matrix.

    September 11, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    Dream on, Steny... Obama already threw it under the bus.

    By the way... is "Steny" a cross between Ren and Stimpy?

    September 11, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Vets4Obama

    The trigger mechanism is fine, it should trigger in six months. And lets not forget to give credit where credit is due, to Sen. Snowe for the idea (the only good idea from republicans since Lincoln abolished slavery).

    A trigger shouldn't threaten the health care insurance industry. Only a retard wouldn't be able to clean up their genocide aimed business model in a six month time period. So the only question is, does the Health Care insurance industry consider themselves incompetent retards? They do if they protest it.

    September 11, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. Bob in Pa

    No triggers, no public option. What incentive will people ever have to actually get off their backsides and do something productive. I see too many people in stores paying with Food Stamps, nicely dressed, driving nice cars, and buying more steaks and junk food than I can afford in a year. No more welfare state.

    September 11, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. Jon in CA

    Hey Congress....

    Pelosi is NOT the boss!

    Reid is NOT the boss!

    Obama is NOT the boss either.....

    WE – THE PEOPLE are. Pass a bloated "Government Option" and be sure YOU will be fired.

    September 11, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Moderate Democrat

    It's not fair that the Mercenaries have to compete with the government funded Marines. Abolish the marine corps, it's putting our mercenaries at an unfair advantage!

    September 11, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. ccc

    we are going to get this done this year and we are going to get GOP out of out government!!!!!!! we dont need thos idiots here we need smarter people to take over Republican Party and clean out those trash

    September 11, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. a health economist

    If they were smart the public option would be bare minimum no thrills coverage that is low on costs and run by a non-profit, non-government insurer. If it was something that only someone that had no other means of getting insurance would take it, they would be putting the Republicans in a tight spot. It would achieve universal coverage of some level, keep costs low, keep the government "out of the insurance business", and keep still leave the insentive for individuals to want private insurance.

    The Republicans can't fight that. Their claims of the gov. being in the insurance business would be false (there is a difference between the insurer and the insurance purchaser, this is no different than an employer going to a non-profit insurer), costs would be low, and their wouldn't be a threat of private insurance being squeezed out becuase it would be fairly unattractive as insurance for those that can afford better.

    September 11, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. WeThePeopleofVA

    The next "trigger mechanism" will be to vote those in favor of a public option out of office.

    September 11, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. Melissa

    I would prefer a public option from the outset, but I'd be willing to accept a trigger mechanism as an acceptable compromise.

    Why is it that Pelosi and Reid continue to tick me off no matter which direction they're going. I'm a Democrat and they make me want to smack them both upside the back of the head.

    September 11, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. GS

    Why are people convinced that a government healthcare option will make every business in the country drop their insurance? Businesses aren't required to offer it now, so why do they?
    At least their are aspects of this issue that both sides and almost all members seem to agree with. We may not get a public option, but hopefully we'll get out of this with some reform. The worst thing we can do is nothing.

    September 11, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. ccc

    i agree if all this GOP rats are against the health care than cancel your own health care go with private insurance than you will get dropped!!!!! on your face idiot.... GOP is done for long time!!!

    September 11, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    "a health economist" said it best. Well done!

    September 11, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Vet For All

    As a member of the military for many years, I received the best health the United States Govt had to offer. Our people (Americans) are struggling to provide their familes with affordable health care. This country can only reach it's greatness if we start caring about others and not the GREED that consumes us all. I gave 23 years of service, because I loved this country. I help protect the rich, middle class and the poor. Let us have a heart and do the right thing. God has always been my guide, let him shine his everlasting light on all of us.

    September 11, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. dng dong

    Reform Begins wth the Publc Option.

    Everything else s a Political/Corporate Shell Game.

    C'mon America, you can grow up just a little bit more

    Reform begins with the Public Option.

    September 11, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. K in Canada

    You guys scream socialist like its facism. Obama isn't close to socialist believe me, but even if he was would that be the worst thing to the US.

    1) It been a longtime since the US has been considered in the top 5 countries to live in the world

    2) You're not even ranked in the top 25 in the world on health care

    3) The US has one of the high crime per capita amongst 1st world countries.

    See how well its worked for you so far? Maybe socialism is what you guys need. However thats not Obama, so stop whine like spoiled children.

    September 11, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. jules sand-perkins

    No trigger. No public option. No champagne and caviar in every pot, either.
    Obama is spreading the wealth too thin.

    September 11, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Steve (the real one)

    Yesterday no public option, today some type of public option! The dems are flip flopping faster than a teen deciding what to wear!
    BTW, to all complaining about Wilson and his Tri-care. You want Tri-care too? Then join a branch of military service and stop whining! A trigger is nothing more than a public option slightly delayed, who are you kidding? The new liberal mantra:

    Me!, Me!, Me!
    Free, Free, Free!

    September 11, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Tom

    Let the Republicans filibuster. It still takes only 51 votes to pass a bill that has achieved cloture.

    September 11, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. bern

    Truth-Bomb Thrower September 11th, 2009 12:48 pm ET

    There'll be no socialist public option if the republicans will follow the leadership of JOE WILSON of South Carolina and expose the truth about this un-american train-wreck of a proposal.

    I hope that the FBI will arrest you and those like you for trying to instigate violence. You need to be in jail.

    September 11, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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