Snowe Still Opposing Pure Public Option — Despite Weekend Reports to Contrary

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Yesterday, I noted that reports had emerged out of Maine that, at a health care rally this past weekend, Sen. Olympia Snowe had changed course and come out in support of a trigger-free public option–a public option “available from day one,” as reformers like to say.

That turns out not to be the case. Here’s the quote that was first reported:

I believe that the reforms we are creating will result in more competitive, affordable and innovative options for Mainers, yet we can all agree that we must not leave universal access to chance. That is why I also support a public plan which must be available from day one.

And here’s the full quote, provided by Sen. Snowe’s staff:

I believe that the reforms we are creating will result in more competitive, affordable and innovative options for Mainers, yet we can all agree that we must not leave universal access to chance. That is why I support a public plan which is available from day one–in any state where private plans fail to ensure guaranteed affordable coverage.”

You can read her full statement here. This will frustrate reformers–who coined the language Snowe’s using here. It represents no change from Snowe’s previous position–that the public option should only be made available, on the state level, if private insurance companies don’t expand access and lower prices enough to get everybody covered.

“Throughout the entire health care debate, Senator Snowe has emphasized that we must first, reform health insurance, and if plans then fail to offer affordable coverage, a public plan should then be offered from day one,” says Snowe Press Secretary Julia Wanzco. “Senator Snowe’s position remains the same on this issue.”

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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