Hoyer: Democrats need health reform game plan in place soon

“I think that by next week we need to come to focus on the way we want to move forward [on healthcare],” Hoyer said during a Tuesday briefing with reporters in his Capitol office.

Hoyer took a different track than Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said last week there was “no rush” to figure out how to pass healthcare after Democrats lost their 60th vote in the Senate. 

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Hoyer said that decisions on the game plan need to be completed by next week, which is the week following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Obama is expected to discuss healthcare but not in great legislative detail.
 
Earlier in day, Hoyer laid out what he and other Democratic leaders see as the four options available to them:  Pass a smaller series of health reform measures; pass the Senate bill along with a companion bill to “fix” certain aspects of the Senate bill and have the Senate use the reconciliation process to pass the “fix”; pass the Senate bill in its current form; or abandon healthcare reform efforts altogether.
 
Hoyer said he agreed with Pelosi’s assessment that the House lacks the votes to pass the Senate bill as is, and said that passing no legislation isn’t viewed as a realistic option by “most of us.”
 
“Frankly, we’re tying to figure out what’s possible,” he said. “[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid needs to determine what is possible on his side of the aisle, what kind of support he can get.  We’re tying to figure out as well what we can pass.”
 
And Hoyer hinted that Congressional Democrats will, for better or worse, be largely on their own in making those decisions.
 
“I think the president will speak to healthcare,” Hoyer said. “I don’t know what he’s going to specifically say but I would be surprised if he says specifically, exactly how he hopes to get healthcare done.”

-- This article was updated at 2:14 p.m.