Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Olympia Snowe and ObamaCare

In case you missed my essay, from Pajamas Media last Sunday, "Will Olympia Snowe Bolt the GOP?"

Senator Snowe is increasingly out of step with today's GOP; and on healthcare reform, Democrats have targeted her as the crucial Republican moderate needed to get ObamaCare out of committee (and Snowe would likely help produce 60 votes in the full Senate).

In any case, I mention my Pajamas essay considering all the attention Snowe's getting from the White House, the media, and the hardline leftists blogs. The Washington Post has a report on today's developments, "
Medicare Is Focus on Day 2 of Health-Care Negotiations." (Via Memeorandum.)

Although the day-long session was marked by a slow pace and partisan sniping, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) could take comfort in several signs about the bill's prospects.

Early indications suggested that two key swing senators -- Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) -- were inclined to back the bill. Additionally, Baucus, who has not always enjoyed broad support in his caucus, held the Democratic bloc together in the face of an energetic assault from GOP senators.
There's no discussion here of the public option, but according Mike Lux, at the Huffington Post, the White House is focusing on Snowe's proposal for a "trigger" provision that's being seen as a "public option killer" on the hard left:

Media reports and insider buzz make it increasingly clear that key people at the White House have become obsessed with Olympia Snowe on health care, and are willing to do pretty much whatever she demands in order to get her on board. The price is looking more and more like this incredibly bad trigger proposal she has been pushing, a trigger that quite literally is written to automatically never trigger a public option. You see, Senator Snowe is writing language into an amendment that is literally a Catch-22. The legislative language says that a public option will be set up in a state in which health care is not affordable to 95% of the state's residents, but it defines affordability as after the new tax credits that are written into the bill to make health care affordable. Not only would this be an incredibly weak public option (doing it in one state will mean it can't get the market power to compete with the big insurers), but it would be a public option that is written by its definition to never be triggered. This is a trigger specifically, intentionally designed to kill the public option.
More details at the radical HCAN, "The Snowe Trigger - A Catch-22 to Kill the Public Health Insurance Option."

But check this out: The discussion by Lux and HCAN reveals that for Democratic-leftists it's not about increasing market competition, access or affordability, but striking the first blow for socialized medicine. From HCAN:

Max Baucus's bill caps out-of-pocket costs for people buying insurance in the exchange at 12% of their income (if they purchase the silver plan in Baucus's four plan levels - bronze, silver, gold, and platinum). Therefore, after you add in government subsidies, you will always have access to a plan (or two, the bronze plan would presumably be cheaper than the silver plan) where costs will legally always have to be below 12%. The insurance industry can raise their rates as much as they want and government will make up the difference. The trigger, if passed, will never trigger. Not ever.
In other words, the Baucus plan would provide subsidies to those unable to afford insurance. But the leftists oppose it! The must have the public option! And all along these folks were talking about increased competition, blah, blah. By the looks at HCAN's passage, they could care less about competition - they just want to kill the insurance companies altoghether. That's really what it's all about! See, Mike Eden, "Obama Health Care Plan Is Backdoor To Nationalized Health Care."

As for Olympia Snowe, who knows? See Fox News, "
Did Democrats Just Lose Snowe? In Committee – That’s Likely." And TPM, "Snowe Supports Move to Delay Finance Committee Bill."

And at Daily Kos, "Snowe's True Colors":

This is going to be the Republican approach, which was clear if you watched this morning's proceedings and saw their filibustering, led by Hatch. Snowe is just playing along and she is not participating in good faith. Negotiating with her on her public option trigger amendment as a way to get her on board, is foolish and naive. She might not be at the top of the invite list to lunch with her Republican colleagues, but she's with them on their delay game.
And if that's true, it's probably because Senator Snowe's being threatened by the GOP leadership with a primary challenge next year.

From more on that, see my comments at Pajamas, ""
Will Olympia Snowe Bolt the GOP?"

Image Credit: Washington Post, "
Live Blogging the Senate Finance Markup."

Added: From the Huffington Post, "White House Denies Pushing Trigger Option, Dem Groups Concur."


Greywolfe said...

More proof that political prostitution is alive and well. ACORN would be so proud.

Dante described several places set aside for people like Sen. Snowe.

daveinboca said...

Lincoln knows she won't get re-elected in Ark next year if she votes for the Death Panel monstrosity coming out of Baucus's opaque Committee. Bunning wanted the CBO to look at the bill and crunch numbers, but that would be due diligence and smack too much of transparency like this little deceptive promise from the lyin' dude on youtube..

That would be keeping your promises and Manchurian Candidates don't have to do that.