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Snowe and enemies push health reform forward

The industry's moves gave opposition "a public face," as one analyst noted, allowing Democrats to do what Republicans are so good at, unity through opposition.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

Health reform caught an 11th hour break this week as health insurers, hoping for one last capitulation, flogged a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report with more holes than the Oakland Raiders' defense, and Olympia Snowe gave the Senate Finance Committee's work a bipartisan veneer.

The industry's moves gave opposition "a public face," as one analyst noted, allowing Democrats to do what Republicans are so good at, unity through outrage.

Senate leaders will now merge the Finance Committee bill with a more-liberal offering from the HELP Committee and offer it for debate.

At that point conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln will have to show their cards, but the leadership could then move to use budget reconciliation, the same process used for the Bush tax cuts, to get a bill through.

Democratic activists are supporting the new line with articles on the health care industry's latest phony charges and identification of just where the extra costs lie. That is important because the bill is not yet finished. Both Houses have to pass something, conference, and then pass the result.

Insurers, meanwhile, have doubled down on their opposition with a new ad saying seniors' benefits under private Medicare Plus plans are threatened by the bill. It's the first ad campaign from the group directly opposing the Administration's push for health reform.

That may be too little and too late.

With Finance having been the most conservative panel through which a reform bill had to move, the wind seems to be at the back of reformers.

But the story is not yet told, and the trolls (below) will have their day.

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