KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Reid Continues To Court Moderates For Health Bill Support

Some news organizations are watching how certain key swing senators are reacting to the negotiations on a public option in the health care legislation.

The Hill reports that Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, of Maine, remains one of the only Republican votes Democrats are trying to secure for reform but that she herself remains skeptical of some plans in the proposal. "Snowe emerged from a meeting in Reid's office Tuesday, telling reporters that she is intrigued by the proposal to have the (Office of Personnel Management), which administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, offer plans on the health insurance exchange that the bill would create. Snowe opposes a public option except a version she introduced, which would 'trigger' the program in states underserved by private insurance." Snowe "shot down" proposals to expand Medicare and Medicaid, however (Young, 12/8).

That hasn't stopped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from continuing his pursuit of Snowe, Roll Call reports. "'My deep concern is about the breadth and scale of this legislation - taking it in a more expansionistic approach for the government's role, rather than the reverse,' Snowe said after meeting with Reid. 'At a time in which people are questioning expanding the scale of government's involvement in health care, you can design incentives in this legislation to maximize the power of the marketplace and make sure the industry performs'" (Drucker, 12/9). 

MSNBC reports, in the meantime, that Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., says he's "open-minded" about a compromise on the public option in the bill. "Lieberman said the idea of a national insurance plan that mirrors the one offered to members of Congress is 'an idea worth considering' as long as private companies run the program" (Strickland, 12/8).

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