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. g

    if they want to keep health insurace private why do they get tax payer money isn,t that socialism

    September 8, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. Post always rejected by CNN

    HECK NO IT CAN'T AND IT BETTER NOT BE A GIVE AWAY TO THE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES...the GOP keep saying there is going to be a revolution...well let a bill pass without it and you will see what happens.....every single solitary republican and democrat especially the blue dog republicans will be tossed on their ear.

    September 8, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  3. Dave

    Let's put in a trigger that will go off in about a year and the public option will become a reality. This is BIG legislation. Maybe it will have to happen in steps.

    September 8, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  4. brian nj

    To all the people who say the reps are owned by the insurance companies... the dems % of the total campaign donations from the insurance companies rose to 45% in 2008, UP 11 points from 2000. And so far the % breakout for campaign donations for 2010 is in the Dems favor, 56% v 44% for reps... companies donate to the party in charge, or who they think will be in charge. Companies give where they think they will get the most bang for their buck... so until dems either give back the $21M they got from the insurance co's in 08 or quit the hypocrisy of "we are for the little guy, not those big, bad insurance companies"

    September 8, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  5. Mike in MN

    Another Democrat showing some good sense. Did not know he was one of the Blue Dogs but he clearly is not one of the brain dead liberals like Pleosi. The public option is not needed to get everyone covered and reform private insurance so that it becomes portable, covers pre-conditions and can't kick you off if you get sick.
    I just saw Lou Dobbs ask Senator Sanders who is demanding a public option if he would support all members of congress having to be covered by the public option. Sanders said not if it was not better than his Blue Cross plan. That's all I need to know that the public option is a waste of time, even the members of congress who want it don't have the guts to commit to being covered by it.

    September 8, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. John

    Without a public option there is not a snowball's chance in hell of the corrupt insurance industry lowering costs or providing insurance to the less fortunate.

    Screw the greedy, heartless Repugs and pass health care reform. And to Hell with the insurance and drug indusrties, and to Hell with those American traitor Republicans!

    September 8, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. Bob in Pa

    This is exactly what these morons did to the housing industry. Forcing banks to loan to people that couldn';t afford it.

    No they want to force insurance companies to cover people at lower rates that are not profitable. Guess what becomes of that when the Insurance companies start to fail ? Higher rates to good customers and a Gov't takeover.

    Just Say No !

    September 8, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  8. S M R

    These Clowns are just going thru the motions because "IN REALITY" they don't have a chance after what Bush/Cheney did to OUR GREAT COUNTRY.

    September 8, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  9. Obamabot

    Jimmy Carter, you are one man. Quit acting like you alone are going to change the results of the 2010 elections. You're one in a million literally......ha if it's people like you standing in line, I have full support for those "death-panels" 😉

    September 8, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  10. Smarter than you

    You have to feel kinda sorry for these morons writing in protecting the status quo. They are not smart enough to realize that they are protecting the same interests that are kniving them in the back – and laughing all the way to the bank.

    Higher health care costs for their employers are forcing reduced or low wage increases, massive layoffs, and in many cases, buslinesses going out of business.

    Keep up the good work – suckers!

    September 8, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  11. rSS (the real Slim Shady)

    Okay, I will support the Public Option on two conditions. 1). All current and future Presidents and their families, along the Senate, the Congress, the Supreme Court and all their families must be exclusively covered by the same public option that will be made "mandatorily available" to the general public. That this coverage shall be their only health insurance, no other coverage will be available. No special medical service will be made available to these person or their families, they will use the same public health clinics as the rest of us. 2) No individual that is illegally residing in the USA will be eligible to receive tax payer funded services of any klnd.

    September 8, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  12. Sam I Am

    If there is no public option, what's the point? We Americans elected you to get a job done. We elected you because you ran on the promise of a viable healthcare package being put through. If you do not or cannot get that done, pack your bags. We The People are completely and utterly fed up with the maneuvering and lack of courage being shown by our legislators. If you don't get the job done, we will, through our votes, show you the door.

    It's time for our beloved Washington representatives to stop screwing around and get the job done. People's lives are literally at stake here. If you want to alienate most of America, then go ahead and put a watered down bill through. But don't be surprised when your career in Washington comes to an abrupt end.

    Any questions?

    September 8, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  13. Fan of Common Sense

    Isn't it strange how "healthCARE reform" has morphed into "health INSURANCE reform?" Some of the democrats' biggest contributors– the trial lawyers and the abortion doctors–must have started getting nervous about their future incomes.

    September 8, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  14. Zeke

    Hopefully none of this mess that pelosi envisioned passes. Straighten out the system you have first, instead of screwing up the present system for basically 15% of the populus that are uninsured..

    September 8, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  15. New Yorker

    A public option would eventually be the ONLY option. Anyone who believes otherwise is easily hoodwinked.

    September 8, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  16. Keith in Austin

    If a Public Option is not included in NoBama's healthplan, just wait and see how the right wing will react. Freeloaders across the Country will blame it on the GOP and the bleeding heart libs will cry like babies. Barry biggest problem isn't Republicans. It's passing his idiotic spending plan through his own Democrat Party! Bigger Government is Bad for America! More socialism is even worse!

    September 8, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
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