POSTED: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - 8:09am
UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:59pm
The Senate Finance Committee has approved it's version of the health reform bill. Olympia Snowe of Maine was in the hot seat, the only Republican who might vote "yes".
"Skyrocketing health care costs have driven up premiums, having the potential to send the entirety of our health care system into a death spiral," Snowe said as she made her intentions clear. Her vote was the sole Republican "Yes".
The committee vote was 14 to 9. President Obama thanked Snowe soon after. "Senator Snowe has been extraordinarily diligent," he said. "I never count chickens before they hatch, but this is an obvious, a step forward."
The bill mandates that every American must buy insurance and does not require employers to provide coverage. "There is no coverage for those who are here illegally. There are none of the rumored death panels," noted Democrat Kent Conrad. There is also no public option, no guarantee of universal coverage.
That's left liberals upset. "Leaving 16 million men and women and children uninsured is wrong," complained West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller. Conservatives are also upset, warning of higher costs.
"These fees and taxes will cause premium increases as early as 2010," warned Iowa Republican Charles Grassley. Next comes more compromise: Five Senate bills will be boiled down to one. Democrats hope Olympia Snowe voting "yes" will have a ripple effect, pulling in a few more Republicans and more importantly, conservative Democrats.