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Hoyer Sees Middle Ground in Public Health Plan

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Friday expressed hope that Democratic factions with vastly different visions for health care reform would reach a compromise.

“On health care, as on every other piece of legislation, you have to get consensus until you can pass something,— Hoyer said. “It won’t get necessarily what they want, or what they want, but they can get some variation of what they want that is good enough for them to support.—

Hoyer’s comments come on a day when two groups of moderate-to-conservative Democrats — the Blue Dogs and the New Democrats — joined forces in their opposition to including a robust public option in any health care reform bill. Combined, the two groups include more than 100 Members.

Leaders of the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, meanwhile, responded by stepping up their support for a public option and signaling they are a force to be reckoned with, too.

Billing themselves as “the largest caucus within the Democratic Party,— CPC leaders said in statement that they agree with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “that any bill that does not include a public option will not have the votes to pass on the House floor.—

Hoyer said he did not rule out linking a “trigger— to a public health care option. Under that scenario, if costs were not kept in line under a private plan, a Medicare-like public system would kick in.

“It’s on the table. Blue Dogs have put it on the table,— Hoyer said.