In announcing her intention yesterday to vote for the Baucus legislative concepts on health care reform, the senior Senator from Maine, Republican Olympia Snowe, said that while the bill was “far from” all that she wanted, she would be voting for it anyway:
When history calls, history calls. . . . I happen to think the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of Congress to take every opportunity … to solve the monumental issues of our time.
But, just because this is the major bill on the table doesn’t mean it’s the action that is necessary to address the flaws in our health care system. Indeed, some of the provisions in the Baucus bill could actually make things worse, increasing costs and cuting Medicare payments. Still, Snowe indicated that her vote in the Finance Committee yesterday does not guarantee that she will vote for the final bill on the Senate floor. Eric Zimmerman of the Hill reports:
In a number of interviews this morning, Snowe, whose vote is seen as crucial for passing legislation, said she would not vote for a final bill that contains a government-run insurance plan.
“The public option would be problematic,” Snowe told MSNBC’s Morning Joe when asked what changes to the bill could cost Democrats her vote. “As I’ve said I’m against a public option because I think the government would be another vast new bureaucracy, and also create a disproportionate advantage in the marketplace. And inevitably government’s not going to do it better.”
At least she recognizes the perils of a “vast new” federal bureaucracy. Given the numerous caveats she has offered, I’m wondering if Mrs. Snowe voted “yes” yesterday just so she could become the darling of the media today. But, should she vote, “No,” down the road, they’d be quick to turn on her and even harsher in their recriminations than had she voted with her party.
Even yesterday, she said she cast her vote with reservations “because I share my Republican colleagues’ reservations about what will transpire on the Senate floor and about what will emerge from House-Senate conference“. Despite those reservations, that vote did give Democrats a short-term victory (about which Jessica Yellin exulted on CNN), but it’s long-term implications remain unclear.