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Olympia Snowe Bargains With Olympia Snowe

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Word is that Olympia Snowe now wants the cost of health-care reform brought down to $800 billion or lower. That's strange, because Olympia Snowe also wants the subsidies increased from 300 percent of poverty to 400 percent of poverty. Which would increase, not decrease, the price tag of the bill.


Snowe's concern for the subsidy levels was perfectly understandable: Insufficient subsidies mean health care won't be affordable, and the plan won't work. In light of that insight, her desire to drop the price tag doesn't make much sense at all: It makes policies even less affordable, and the plan even less likely to work. Speculation is that Snowe is afraid to be the sole Republican on the bill and feels she needs a concrete concession on the price tag in order to justify her involvement. But you have to imagine her to be quite craven, and quite politically afraid, to believe she'd knowingly make the bill less affordable when she's spent the last few months pushing the "Gang of Six" to make it more affordable. And for what? A vote Republicans will hate her for anyway? Why does she even care?

Photo credit: By Melina Mara — The Washington Post

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 1:57 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Comments

You haven't been watching her then, this is her game. Didn't she knock a billion off the stimulus just because she could?

Posted by: obrier2 | September 11, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I've been wondering how she feels about SEn. Hatch telling her how she "will" vote. He said, "Olympia Snowe won't vote for health reform." She's pretty independent. Shouldn't that annoy her? Any chance she might become an Independent or even a Democrat?

Posted by: LindaB1 | September 11, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Princess Olympia really does feel that pea wedged underneath 47 mattresses.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | September 11, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

She doesn't beat a filibuster, she can't deliver Susan Collins, and no one will consider 58 or 59 +1 a bipartisan bill.

What do we get for the $100 billion?

Posted by: MisterSavannah | September 11, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Snowe is singnalling she can't vote for reform, but can be the 60 vote to waive the byrd rule using reconciliation so the bill can pass basically intact.

Posted by: JonWa | September 11, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

One could be optimistic and theorize that Snowe has detected an opportunity for savings which has not yet been considered. As the price tag of reform decreases and prudent restrictions increase, there might be an increase in the total number of legislators who favor the final reform package, albeit at the expense of the loss of a few fringe liberals.

Posted by: rmgregory | September 11, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

She already wants the Public Option thrown under the bus, which Rahm is more than willing to do. Now that the Dems have given away that they'll cave on that, she (and no doubt) the ConservaDems move onto their next line of work: cutting back coverage.

We knew this was coming. In fact, more than a few commentators mentioned it.

John

Posted by: toshiaki | September 11, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Somebody please tell Max Baucus to overstate the price tags going forward so that the "home town girls" of Maine can theatrically exact their arbitrary 10% bargaining fee.

Posted by: bcbulger | September 11, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Why do the people of a blue state like Maine even vote for her, because she has a nice smile and a nice personality? That's more important than health care for your family, than the security of knowing you can't be left without health insurance for hundreds of millions of people?

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | September 11, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

She probably wants more taxes on employer-based health insurance. That's what all Republicans want--a backdoor to the McCain plan.

Posted by: bmull | September 11, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

The only way to increase coverage at less cost is to water down the insurance product which the Finance Committee has all ready done.

The more crappy the insurance is, the larger the profits of the insurance companies.

Posted by: cautious | September 12, 2009 3:57 AM | Report abuse

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