Feb. 14, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Reid Courting Snowe Again on Health Care Reform

The public option in the current bill allows states that do not want to participate the right to opt out. The compromise, as it is developing, calls for the implementation of a national marketplace — or exchange — similar to what is available to federal employees that would offer consumers access to several different private insurance plans.

Snowe on Tuesday praised that aspect of the possible compromise plan. Democratic moderates have also indicated it has promise. But Snowe opposes two additional components of the potential deal that are needed to satisfy Democratic liberals, including the proposed expansions of Medicare and Medicaid.

“My deep concern is about the breadth and scale of this legislation — taking it in a more expansionistic approach for the government’s role, rather than the reverse,” Snowe said after meeting with Reid. “At a time in which people are questioning expanding the scale of government’s involvement in health care, you can design incentives in this legislation to maximize the power of the marketplace and make sure the industry performs.”

Republicans generally shot down the Democrats’ budding public option compromise. They argued that while they support the idea of offering the public similar insurance policies to what they receive, they take issue with proposals to expand existing federal health care programs Medicare and Medicaid.

“Frankly, it seems like the mask has been pulled off. Rather than the public option, they’re going with expansion of government-run health care without fixing the basic flaws in those programs,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas).

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