Snowe Wants Key Health Care Measure Strengthened Before She Supports Baucus Bill

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September 18, 2009 5:33 a.m.

It’s long been known (reported at TPMDC and elsewhere) that, among the now defunct Gang of Six, two senators were advocates for giving poor and middle class taxpayers greater government assistance to buy health insurance: Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and, unexpectedly Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

But now Snowe says that, if she’s to support the final package out of the finance committee, the subsidies in the bill will have to be strengthened. “[T]here would have to be more subsidies,” she told the New York Times.

That’s something liberals support to, though it would require more revenue, which likely means new taxes. And Snowe’s been less forthcoming about how to pay for the subsidies than about her general support for them.

Still, reformers on the left probably won’t be too excited by this. Despite advocating for greater government assistance, Snowe also opposes a public option unless it’s affixed to a trigger mechanism, and supports the “free-rider” provision, which would make it profitable for employers to discriminate against poor people.

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