September 8th, 2009
05:16 PM ET
11 years ago

Hoyer: A bill can pass the House without a public option

WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday a health care bill could pass the House without a public health insurance option. That assessment from the number two Democrat breaks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who just last week insisted that "a bill without a strong public option will not pass the House."

When asked about the Speaker's position, Hoyer didn't answer directly, but signaled there would be support for a bill as long as it included major reforms. "I think a bill can pass the House that the majority of the House believes enhances, moves forward substantially the providing of access for affordable, quality healthcare…I believe a bill that accomplishes very substantially the objectives the President has put forward and we put forward can pass the House."

The Majority Leader repeated that while he still supports a public option, he could vote for a bill without one. "I think it is vital - it's vital, important. Do I think it's a condition of passing the bill? My position has been I'm for the public option. I want to see us adopt a public option, but I think there is a lot in the bill that is very good in addition to the public option. Interpreted, that means if the public option weren't in there, I still could support a bill because I think there's a lot in there that's good."

Hoyer repeated an assessment he made last month about the level of support for the public option. "I think it's a good option. On the other hand, I have said I hope we move a bill forward that can garner a majority of support."

Hoyer noted that Democrats lost a "great warrior" when Senator Kennedy died and said he "was as strong a voice as there was" for a public option. But he also pointed out that one of the reasons Kennedy was so well regarded on both sides of the aisle was that he was "a consummate legislator in trying to reach a consensus that could garner enough votes to change policy. That's what we're trying to do, and I hope that's what we do do."

Hoyer told reporters he didn't have a timetable set in terms of whether the House would act before the Senate, but House members are interested to see what the Senate is working on.

Filed under: Health care • Nancy Pelosi • Steny Hoyer
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Oh my!

    I just watched Blitzer's interview with 2 federal employees. They said that Americans could get the same health insurance both of them had, however, at what cost. They are both federal employees. Doesn't the federal government subsidize insurance costs for all of their employees, i.e. for argument sake let's say the insurance costs $510.00 a month, the feds would pay $310.00 a month of this and they, the 2 employees would pay $200.00 a month. Is this what they are saying the rest of us can get? State employees get this type of insurance as well. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be employed by federal or state governments. Moreover, the federal government stops hiring at age 35! Come on, Blitzer ask the RIGHT QUESTIONS HERE.

    September 8, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  2. ComradeObummer

    I love these people who blame the insurance companies. What company doesn't try to make a profit. I guess the GOVT should take over the industry YOU work for and see what happens.

    So, you dumocrats who can't figure out how to control or help HC costs without a public option, here is your answer:

    (1) Allow more insurance companies (as many as possible) to compete across state lines; i.e., encourage market competition.

    (2) TORT Reform, but that woiuld would hurt the lawyers who make the MOST profits and contribute to OBAMA.

    You want reform, start here.

    September 8, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. Oregon calling

    The PUBLIC wants an OPTION, please don't give this up. What is wrong with you folks oh, that's right you already have health care. Silly me thinking that our REPRESENTATIVES for FOR THE PEOPLE....

    My bad 😦

    Peace ~~~~~

    September 8, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. Bill in California

    WE ALREADY HAVE A PUBLIC OPTION IN PLACE, its called VOTING and the DIMRATS in CONGRESS will feel it's full effect in 2010, followed by their great EMPEROR in 2012! True AMERICANS have seen his nakedness AND IT AIN'T A PRETTY SIGHT!

    September 8, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Ted Kennedy would have never jeopardize passing major reforms...he would have taken half a loaf!

    September 8, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. Chris - Denver

    If it doesn't have a public option, it is not reform.

    September 8, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  7. New Age Democrat

    YES to Healthcare reform, NO to Government run Public Option.

    Finally, someone who actually gets it! The majority of Americans are against the public option.

    Why on earth do the Democrats think they can run healthcare when the government has failed miserably on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Welfare, Amtrak, and the Post Office? More importantly why do people still believe they can?

    September 8, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. Frank

    No public option = NO BILL

    The corporate and conservative interests are entrenched in Congress. The MAJORITY of Americans want a public option, yet why is it so hard to convince Congress of this?

    September 8, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. Penn Voter

    Let's take it to an election. Let the people vote for what they want.

    September 8, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  10. joseph

    Government insurance has not put private insurance companies out of business. FDIC and its progeny has not put private insurance companies out of business. Instead they have taken on risks that other companies were too small to take. Furthermore, neither Medicare nor Medicaid has endangered private insurance companies. Indeed, Medicare has eased the burden of private insurance companies because for people 65 and older, Medicare becomes their primary insurer and is responsible for picking up the first 70% of costs, thus private insurance companies are only picking up 30% of the costs of senior citizens medical expenses. If the insurance companies don't want a public option, I say fine, let's hold them accountable for the full 100% of all medical costs for senior citizens instead of the 30% that they pay now.

    September 8, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. harold

    For the first time evey, Steny makes sense. Wow, wow,wow

    September 8, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  12. Panem et Circenses

    Hey "Pel"

    "not seeking nothing less" ... your teachers union would be so proud
    "Less not be spooked" ... English as a second language should be taught in all inner city schools
    "So times you have to stand and fight" ... a 3-fer!!!!

    September 8, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  13. lilalove

    The republicans would deny jesus health care. A public option will be a moral must. Having a public option as a hammer, in a "trigger ", might work, but public option has to be in the bill. Not only is public health care a moral social choice for a nation, it's Christain. And I believe it's the republicans who harp about how we are a Christain nation. Which reminds me of a quote. "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. – Gandhi." It's time for our Christians to be more like our Christ.

    September 8, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  14. Albo58

    Government-run health care is a no go! Our country is passing the $13 Trillion debt level so the last thing the government should attempt to do is bankroll health care! Sure, there are a lot of things that could be done to improve our health care system like cross-state competition, tort reform, laws to ensure insurance companies sustain health care coverage during unemployment and/or long-term illnesses, enforcement of illegal immigrant laws that are already on the books (read: deportation!), etc. However, the idea of public option is something we can't remotely afford nor can the government adequately run!

    September 8, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Len Smith

    US Congress: What we need is UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE, much like what is used in Canada.

    September 8, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. unctee

    I want a public option instead of the same old Insurance bs... the key word people are missing is OPTION.. u don't have to get it

    September 8, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. Simmy

    Mr. House Majoritiy Leader, you need to start leading in the right direction....Any bill without a viable public plan option is a watered down compromise....Big insurance companies will love but the average Americans will dispise you....

    Republicans have done NOTHING to deserve a seat at the table.....They have totally disrespected President Obama, and should be forced to sit in a corner while the bill is voted on and passed......President Obama's next term is riding on a public plan option......Republicans haven't a thing to lose....They're already NOwhere......Blue Dogs are the ones that will feel the wrath of the people.....Get a grip HML Hoyer.......

    September 8, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  18. FreeNLovIt - Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed (1SPMI) of the gospel, for it is (3SPAI) the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (PAPMSD), to the Jew first & also to the Greek

    We need to change. Should we keep on letting Scrooge run the healthcare system and scare the hell out of common sense?

    Competition is the way to reform our healthcare system. The private sector needs competition! Go common sense!

    I'll definitely know tough and rough Obie is with this agenda.

    September 8, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  19. Rick

    The big money found it's way to his office SHAME ON YOU and let God have mercy on your soul.

    September 8, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  20. aliousalam

    over my dead body.

    September 8, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  21. Vancouver, BC

    How ashamed Americans should be that a father has to sign up for another tour of duty and subsequently DIE in order to provide health care for his son.

    Shame on anyone who claims to have socalled family and religious values to ignore this horrendous reality as well as the lines of working Americans who have to line up to receive basic health care formerly reserved for third world countries.

    You have the nerve to criticize other countries' universal coverage with your lies and ignorance of their components; we see how you treat your own in your self centered, hateful attitudes and are saddened by a country that once was great and respected by the world!!

    September 8, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. LacrosseMom

    **** Warning to Blue Dogs********

    Support the president or be voted out of office in 2010!

    September 8, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  23. T-MAN

    Mr.Hoyer , We would like the same Health insurance you and the rest of Congress enjoys. We pay for your Health care. Maybe you and the other wimps can get a backbone and support the American people . We rank 37th in the world for health care . We the people won't forget you and your wimpy pals at election time.

    September 8, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  24. aliousalam

    The majority checked out the healthcare and supported the candidate with public option. That is the agenda of the person I voted for, Prez Obama.

    Republicans lost. They should wait to elect palinty or palin to get what they want.

    September 8, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. rob

    I applaude the House Majority even though he's a Dem and saying he would support a bill without a public option.

    My best friend is self-employed. He owns a brand new Mercedez Benz and has no health insurance. Why should I pay from my taxes his health insurance???

    September 8, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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