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Many More Hurdles Until It is a Viable Bill

http://www.politico.com/livepulse/1209/Snowe_Medicare_buyin_loses_her_vote.html

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said Thursday that she does not support the Medicare buy-in because it would “aggravate an already-serious problem” with the program – the low reimbursement rates for hospitals and doctors.
 
“I have serious concerns,” Snowe told reporters. “I just think that is the wrong direction to take.”
 
Snowe said she could not see a way for Senate Democratic leaders to even tweak the proposal to win her vote.
 
“I can’t see it,” said Snowe, who met Wednesday with President Barack Obama. “I am talking to a lot of my providers this afternoon and I know they are mighty unhappy.”
 
Asked if it meant she would oppose the health care bill, Snowe said: “Among other issues. There would be other issues. That is part of it.”
 
Another key undecided moderate, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Vt.), said Thursday that his level of unease with the Medicare buy in is also rising.
 
“I am increasingly troubled about the proposal,” Lieberman said. “I am worried about what impact it will have on the Medicare program’s fiscal viability and also what effect it will have on the premiums paid by people benefiting from Medicare now and whether the whole thing is viable. If you separate it from Medicare, it will be an extremely expensive program.”
 
The concerns from Lieberman and Snowe suggest that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) may not be able to use the public option compromise struck Tuesday to stitch together 60 votes for the bill
 
Senators say they are still waiting on details from Reid and the Congressional Budget Office about the proposal, which would allow people 55 to 64 years old to purchase coverage in the insurance program for the elderly.
 
It is unlikely Reid will be able to lock in those votes until the CBO returns its cost estimate, which isn’t expected until the weekend at the earliest. The timetable leaves little wiggle room for Reid to complete the bill before Christmas.
 
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) said he considered it an “interesting proposal,” but was reserving judgment.
 
“I would kind of like to see how it works,” Bayh said.

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December 11, 2009 - Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , , , ,

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