Losing Olympia Snowe
For the past month, Senate Democrats have bent over backward to get Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) behind their health reforms — a move that seemed to pay dividends when she voted earlier this month with Democrats in favor of the Senate Finance Committee’s reform proposal.
But yesterday, in the lone decision to include an “opt-out” public insurance option in the bill, Democrats may have just lost the Maine moderate, who has said all along that she won’t vote for a public option unless it’s in the form of a trigger. Here’s Snowe’s statement on the announcement:
I am deeply disappointed with the Majority Leader’s decision to include a public option as the focus of the legislation. I still believe that a fallback, safety net plan, to be triggered and available immediately in states where insurance companies fail to offer plans that meet the standards of affordability, could have been the road toward achieving a broader bipartisan consensus in the Senate.
TPMDC’s Brian Beutler has pointed out that the statement falls short of explicitly pronouncing opposition to the overall bill because it includes the opt-out plan. But it was just a few days ago that she was making such pronouncements, as Beutler also reported.