Swing Senators Chew Over CBO Report
By Sarah Lovenheim
Here's some of the latest buzz surrounding the swing-vote senators who will vote this week on the health-care bill out of the Senate Finance Committee, illustrating the pressure they're under as they approach a decision.
CBO Report Could Woo Lincoln
Newsweek's Gaggle speculates about the impact of the Congressional Budget Office's preliminary analysis of the Baucus bill. Since "the bill looks to be reducing the deficit, it will ameliorate some concerns held by those wavering moderate Dems." Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is one of the wavering Dems who could be wooed, according to Newsweek. If Democrats are lucky, Baucus "may even pick up the vote of Olympia Snowe, who so far has held her cards close to her chest," Newsweek said.
Snowe: Let Me 'Thoroughly Review' Report
The Wall Street Jounral's Janet Adamy and Jonathan Weisman write that since Snowe and others expressed concern "that the bill forced people who couldn't afford it to buy insurance," the committee has made many concessions -- slashing new penalties on the uninsured, limiting the number of people who must carry health insurance and raising the annual fee levied on insurers, for instance. Yet Snowe said she's still holding out to "thoroughly review and evaluate" the CBO's analysis before making a decision.
A Taste of Snowe's Diet, 'Public Option Lite'
Slate's Timothy Noah writes that despite continued controversy over proposals for public option plans, "it remains possible" that what Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) calls "'some kind of public option' will be incorporated into the bill." Chances are "it won't match even the watered-down versions approved by the four congressional committees that have advanced health reform thus far. It will be Public Option Lite," such as the plan proposed by Snowe. Although Snowe's proposal is not included in the Senate Finance Committee bill, "it could come up on the Senate floor."
But a "problem with Snowe's proposal is that the trigger wouldn't be national; it would be applied state-by-state, thereby weakening the public option's leverage in negotiating doctor and hospital fees and drug prices."
Wyden: If He Plays His Cards Right.
The Oregonian estimates in an editorial that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus's (D-Mont.) dismissal last week of Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-Ore.) free choice amendment is bound to help the Oregon senator. "There's a strong possibility that Senate leaders, in exchange for his vote on the Finance committee, will grant him cost-control concessions that could be made when the bill gets to the floor," it said. Yet if the committee isn't willing to compromise for Wyden, the Oregonian says, "he might as well stick to his principled stand and vote no."
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