Why hasn't Olympia Snowe pulled the trigger?
“Historically, ‘trigger’ mechanisms have not been successful, and they are not a substitute for a strong public health insurance option,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller in a statement released today. “A ‘trigger’ simply delays price competition, which in turn will delay affordability for consumers and moves us farther away from the goals of health care reform." It's perhaps no surprise that Rockefeller has apparently told the leadership that he won't vote for a trigger option if it comes to the floor.
One of the reasons I assumed Olympia Snowe's trigger proposal was dead was, well, it looked dead. It was just lying there, unmoving. There were no meetings between Snowe and Schumer, or Snowe and Rockefeller, to try and craft a stronger trigger that would be acceptable to more liberal members. There were no modified proposals coming out of Snowe's office, or statements from her spokespeople indicating a willingness to entertain changes. The White House kicked around some ideas internally, but none of them, so far as I or my sources know (or at least will confirm), ever saw the light of day, or even a dark room on the Hill.
If the trigger is to have any chance, it's going to have to go through a process in which liberals get their hands on it and decide if there is any incarnation they could possibly like. You could have imagined that a month or two ago, but it's getting a bit late in the game. Now the trigger is vying with other mid-range proposals that liberals like better, ideas that largely emerged because the trigger never moved from being Snowe's personal compromise to an actual compromise, in which various factions had agreed to make certain concessions to one another.
Photo credit: Susan Walsh/AP.
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