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. NUTTER!!!

    @Jon in CA September 11th, 2009 12:54 pm ET
    WE – THE PEOPLE are. Pass a bloated "Government Option" and be sure YOU will be fired.*** Who in The H_LL are You (The Great White Hope) Shut your Sour Pie Hole****

    September 11, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. carlos, that one

    this guy wilson .......a rat's a$$ and those who follow his ideology should be waterboarded, maybe their hatred will be washed away and cleanse themselves of all evil......errrrrrr

    September 11, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Centrist

    I support a public option along with the majority of Americans. The trigger seems a far more reasonable compromise than co ops.

    These health-care reforms are definitely needed for our country, and Congress should find common ground to pass this important legislation.

    September 11, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. carlos, that one

    and PASS THE HEALTH CARE BILL>>>>NOW!!!!! with or without the repugnant reptiles

    September 11, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. gary

    Why don't you libtards go to work; then, you won't need the public option? From these posting times, I see you're on you're computers rather than working. Vote Democratic- it's better than working for a living.

    September 11, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Justin

    By continuing to talk about 'scrapping the whole thing and starting over', the GOP is rapidly playing itself out of this game.

    When a huge majority of the country realizes we need major improvements to the ways we deliver and pay for health care, it would be beyond dumb to waste months of education, debate and money- spent just to start back at square one.

    The GOP had eight years to 'get this right' during the Bush administration and didn't even try. Its advocacy now for scrapping the whole thing seems to indicate that nothing's really changed on that side of the aisle.

    September 11, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. David

    And that is all they need to slip into it to make it grow until, like a Wal-Mart, it takes over.

    September 11, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Diana NJ

    We the citizens of the USA NEED the option.

    September 11, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. David

    ccc September 11th, 2009 12:58 pm ET

    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!!!
    Wow, you're not very bright. Politics are cyclical and will bounce between the two parties. It's the scam the two-party system runs on us.

    September 11, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. jeremy.....Dallas...Texas

    Why not end farm subsidies? What other socialism is bigger than that? Why not public sch system and medicare? How about ss? America has been quietly socialist long before Obama became a politician. Socialism is the evil we can never live without.

    September 11, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. diridi

    it is a must in legislation that public option is health care bill....thse republican idiots are crazy not to know....

    September 11, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. dak

    There are already several "public options" for health insurance in this country. Medicare, the V.A. & the insurance plan that cover ALL federal employees, including but not limited to, all elected members of congress and the administrative wing of government.

    If they can all have a public option WHY NOT THE REST OF THE UNINSURED OR UNDER INSURED??

    September 11, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. Strom Thurmond

    By all means, follow backbencher Joe Wilson, "Truth-Bomb Thrower."

    This noted racist belongs to several extremist and racist organization that include members of the Klan.

    But that makes him all the more appealing to you wingnuts, doesn't it? That and making out with your sisters.

    Wilson's 2010 opponent Rob Miller is closing in on $1 million in donations. Meanwhile, Joe Wilson begs for money on YouTube.

    Welcome back to South Carlolina, Joe. Your white sheet awaits.

    September 11, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Kaye Martin

    A public option is a compromise from those who initially supported a single payer system. Compromise means give and take on both sides.

    September 11, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. Nea

    People can say all that they want about their is not racism involved when it comes to President Obama NOT ALL but a lot of it is racism and the school speech proved it! Also isnt Georgr Bush and his wife suppose to be speaking to the school kids soon. WHATS UP WITH THAT NO DRAMA OVER THAT.

    September 11, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. dak

    "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."

    This is the STUPIDEST

    September 11, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Edward

    The trigger is the perfect trap for Republicans and it was proposed by a Republican of all people. Why would you oppose the trigger option when it would only go into effect if the insurance complanies don't get their act together? That's like saying you KNOW that things will not get better and chose to do nothing about it ... lol. It also gives the moderate Democrats some cover in their respective districts to vote for the bill. Politically this is genius.

    September 11, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    Can someone take the trouble to estimate the cost savings gained from the passage of the Clean Air Act? The number of children with asthma and related illnesses has dropped dramatically over time. Can't the same thing be possible with the Health Care Bill? It's called the Law of Slow Growth.

    September 11, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. Aaron

    I am very relieved that President Obama has reaffirmed his support of the Public Option and his basic principles of healthcare reform. I support the Public Option as a mechanism for keeping healthcare costs affordable and private insurance companies honest. Competition brings out the best in business for consumers. No longer will private insurance companies take people's money and then dump them under the guise of preexisting conditions when they need their insurance to pay medical bills. The Public Option will act as a check on the private insurance industry.

    September 11, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. U.S. Common Sense

    I predict that the people will vote out enough Democrats in the next election cycle to strip 'some form' of public option out of the system before it is ever enacted.

    September 11, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Enough is Enough

    It had better have a public option! NOT COOPERATIVES. I don't know how anyone thinks starting up another Non-Profit will change anything, when we already have a bunch of non-profit insurance cooperation. Sorry, but a public option that only has 5% of the population covered, and provides basic health insurance, and is funded through the premiums it takes in is HARDLY a government takeover. ENOUGH CONCESSIONS! PUBLIC OPTION NOW!

    September 11, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. Kim in mpls

    Jon in CA – You had your say in the last election, this election was all about changing from the last administration who had their chance to curtail healthcare spending and didn't, instead it doubleed. Now it's this congress and this president chance to try and get it done. I support their efforts I just hope the have the balls to get it done with the public option. GO CONGRESS

    September 11, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. S Callahan

    Remember Niebuhr 'evolved'.....
    Co ops are the only way you are going to achieve respecting and acting on the 'rights' of the people, and the goal intended.

    September 11, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. Deuce

    Time is running out, and all you can do is watch Obama destroy your country, any way he can... The Middle East will be the next Power, and he's helping them..

    September 11, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. GO!

    Since the right have proved repeatedly in this process that they are a bunch of loony yahoos, let's just have the Dems craft a bill, and if Snowe and the one or two sane republicons left in congress want to play they can come too. It will pass without republicons supporting it. BFD. When the republicons had a one vote majority in the senate and a tiny majority in the house they used every manner of bullying and shennenigans to ram through their destructive insane agenda. We have almost 2/3 majority in both houses – so we have a clear and overwhelming mandate. Do not forget it. The margin in the senate is misleading. the republicon 8 or so senators representing most of the midwest have fewer consituents than the two senators from CA. Just the states of PA, NY, NJ, and CA have more people than almost the entire constiuency represented by the senate gop. The Democratic party represents by far the majority of Americans. So if the gop wants to be a tiny fringe minority appealing to a few crazies in the mountains and some troglodytes lviing in the 19th century old south then so be it. The future is here. It does not wait for us to play these petty childhoodgames we see constatnly from the right. Enough. Just do it.

    September 11, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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