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More Health Care Negotiating

June 23, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

This is up for interpretation (from subscription-only CongressDaily):

Snowe, Schumer Working On Public Option

As the Senate Finance Committee continues to search for bipartisan compromises to complete its healthcare overhaul legislation, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said today she is working on a tweaked fallback option for the public insurance plan with Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

“Sen. Schumer and I have been working on sort of a guaranteed affordable care mechanism in the event that the private plans don’t work in achieving an affordable plan available to people in certain areas,” Snowe said.

Snowe and Schumer met for an hour on the proposal this morning. “We’re still finalizing our language, making decisions on how it would work mechanically before we would put that forward,” Snowe said.

Schumer would not talk specifics, but he wants a public option in any healthcare bill. “I don’t care what exact form it takes as long as it has all the traits that are needed to keep the insurance companies honest and it’s available everywhere in the country,” Schumer said.

Snowe said she imagines the safety net would be capable of operating in conjunction with Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad’s proposal for a co-op system of health insurance that would compete with private insurers.

Just yesterday, Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY], a member of the Senate Finance Committee, came out with a big statement against the co-op model as a substitute for a public plan. But, to me, this sounds like Schumer is working on a compromise to let the co-op plan go forward including a trigger for a public option to be created at some point down the road if the private insurance industry doesn’t meet certain criteria (and if the political will is there at that point in the future).

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