Snowe Says She Opposes Medicare Buy-In Idea

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Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) says a Medicare buy-in approach will be a hard sell with her. She told reporters this afternoon that she’s not inclined to support the idea, currently being discussed by liberal and conservative Democrats seeking a compromise on the public option.

“We looked at it…we evaluated that, because it’s an attractive approach. This has appeal…but we examined that issue this summer and a number of issues cropped up.”

She’s expressed her doubts to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “I told him I have concerns,” she said. “The Medicare buy in is problematic.”

A reporter asked if that meant she’s not inclined to support the idea. “Correct,” she said.Snowe’s vote isn’t strictly necessary to pass health care reform, if all 60 Democrats stick together. But Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) says he’s not going to play ball if his abortion amendment doesn’t pass, and Majority Whip Dick Durbin says that’s probably not going to happen.

Snowe said she’s also opposed to a separate idea–demanded by liberals in exchange for the public option–to include people up to 150 percent of the poverty line in Medicaid. It seems pretty clear that she’s broadly opposed to the compromise Democrats are forging.

Now the question is, What will Lieberman say? Stay tuned.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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