Finance Democrats Approve Overhaul Measure With Boost From Snowe

The Senate Finance Committee approved its long-anticipated version of the health-care overhaul legislation in a 14-9 vote Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, joined the panels 13 Democrats to support the bill.

"The Senate Finance panel, led by Chairman Max Baucus, becomes the last of five congressional panels to act on a health-overhaul bill, and it marks the biggest step forward yet for President Barack Obama's top domestic priority. The Baucus-proposed 10-year, $829 billion plan would require all Americans to purchase insurance and aims to hold down spiraling medical costs over the long term" (Hitt and Adamy, 10/13).

The Associated Press/Forbes reports, "Snowe said she was laying aside misgivings for now and voting to advance the bill, a sweeping $829-billon, 10-year health care remake that would help most Americans get coverage without creating a new government insurance plan" (Werner, 10/13).

In the legislation's next step, "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will meld the finance panel bill with one approved by the Senate health committee in July, forcing him to resolve differences over a host of issues that divide both political parties and risk rupturing Democratic unity," Bloomberg reports (Litvan, 10/13).

"Snowe said she could withdraw her support if Senate leaders make significant changes in the coming days as they merge the Finance Committee package with a similar measure approved in July by the Senate health committee," the Washington Post reports. Her vote today, however, will provide leverage for Senate leaders hoping to rally support among moderate who have been hesitant about the bill (Montgomery and Murray, 10/13).

"The Finance Committee's deliberations offered a small preview of what is certain to be a rollicking, impassioned and highly politicized debate on the far grander stage of the Senate floor, where Democrats hold a 60-to-40 majority," the New York Times reports (Herszenhorn and Pear, 10/13).

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