Report: Obama and Snowe working on a “trigger” for the public option?

posted at 7:43 pm on September 2, 2009 by Allahpundit

I knew that Politico story was too good to be true. The face of bipartisanship:

Senior White House officials, in conversations with reporters today, are floating the idea that President Obama is secretly negotiating with Sen. Olympia Snowe over a health care compromise that would phase in a government-funded health care alternative if private insurance companies fail to meet quality and cost benchmarks over a certain period of the time. The public discussion of the Snowe “compromise” is meant to test the reaction of House Democrats, who will pass a bill that includes an immediate public option added to a new health insurance exchange. The White House hopes that, having voted for a public option, House Dems would accept a “trigger” as part of a conference committee compromise rather than putting the kibosh on the entire health care reform project. In some ways, this strategy is old, and in some ways it’s new. For months, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has been pushing the idea of a “trigger” internally, and he and Snowe regularly trade legislative and political intelligence.

This is the flip side of Clyburn’s plan in the House to run a government program on a trial basis in a few states, to be followed by national implementation in 2013 if it’s successful. There, the burden’s on the feds to perform; in Snowe’s version, the burden’s on insurance companies to meet some arbitrary federal benchmark. You can see why that would appeal to Democrats looking for a way to get a foothold for the public option but why it would appeal to a self-professed fiscal conservative like Snowe, knowing how grievously a public option could end up distorting the market, is beyond me. Maybe the idea is to marry her plan and Clyburn’s and have both the private and public sides of the program prove that they’re viable?

As for The One’s sudden turnaround on whether a public option will be in the bill, it’s really not so sudden. I explained on Monday night why I thought pushing for it was his best available move politically, but if he failed to see that before, House progressives are making sure he sees it today:

Jacob Hacker, a health policy expert who can be called the godfather of the public option, says, “The White House…has to be told in no uncertain terms that dropping the public plan is stupid and premature.”

The Politico piece did not quote by name President Barack Obama or his senior advisers saying they were dumping the public option from their must-include list. So it’s possible this was a trial balloon that could burst. But even though Obama had already declined to vow he would go to the mat for a public option, the story did rile up progressives on and off Capitol Hill.

“Without a public option, this bill will do a lot of nice things but only by throwing a couple hundred billion dollars at insurance companies,” says Nadler, adding that a public option is necessary to hold down the cost of health insurance. “What is the point of passing a bill that mandates people to buy insurance that is going to be unaffordable?” he says…

Though a public option can likely make it through the House without much assistance from Obama, Nadler notes points out that no such bill could succeed in the Senate absent pressure from Obama. If Obama doesn’t make an effort, Nadler says, “I believe it will cause a very big split” in the Democratic Party.

I guess the deal with Snowe is his “effort.” Exit question: Is the trigger enough to win over the conservative Democrats holding out in the Senate too or is this geared directly at earning Snowe’s vote to provide the tiniest possible fig leaf of bipartisanship?


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Or – the Obamanable Snowe-Man? Sorry, but I just can’t get over my thought that surely he/she is a poster boy/girl for/against the whole sex change thing.

pcpower1 on September 2, 2009 at 8:32 PM

If Snowe does this she should be banned from the party forever.

WisCon on September 2, 2009 at 8:37 PM

Just keep firing emails to Steele. Morons like this is why you better not count your chickens before they hatch.

JeffinOrlando on September 2, 2009 at 8:38 PM

Gotta get rid of these people

deedtrader on September 2, 2009 at 8:39 PM

is this geared directly at earning Snowe’s vote to provide the tiniest possible fig leaf of bipartisanship?

they would have had her vote no matter what….the RINO has to go

cmsinaz on September 2, 2009 at 8:40 PM

I don’t think now is a good time for Donks to be using the term “Trigger”. Nomsayin’?

ronsfi on September 2, 2009 at 8:44 PM

Obama Tries A Snowe Job On American Public

Why not just provide a grant payment/ tax deduction for private coverage for the 5-10 million legal citizens who are uninsured and who actually cannot afford their own plans instead of this monstrous power grab and grotesque new bureaucracy?

profitsbeard on September 2, 2009 at 8:44 PM

That is it, it is time for yall who live in her state to boot that B*&&* OUT!

kara26 on September 2, 2009 at 8:44 PM

color me skeptical

rob verdi on September 2, 2009 at 8:47 PM

VICHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The spirit of Vidkund Quisling lives on in the hapless G.O.P.

victor82 on September 2, 2009 at 8:51 PM

Wish she would pull a jumping jim or do like the amazing arlene. I am sick of this b*tch.

bluegrass on September 2, 2009 at 8:54 PM

Well no one can touch her in Maine. She is the Maine Republican Party.

Apologetic California on September 2, 2009 at 8:55 PM

My GOD!

Send this so-called “senator” a copy of the Constitution and ask her to locate the passage, provision, or encrypted message therein that gives the federal government the authority to create a public option or otherwise be involved in health care. God friggin’ dam* it these people will just do whatever the Hel1 they want to do the Constitution be damned!

DerKrieger on September 2, 2009 at 8:56 PM

Good luck voting her ass out in Maine.

JohnD9207 on September 2, 2009 at 9:03 PM

I just sent Snowe a letter,

Dear Senator Snowe,

I read today that you may support a “trigger” for a public option for health coverage.

I challenge you to cite just where in the Constitution of the United States that the federal government is granted the authority to create a public option or otherwise be involved in health care. In this effort you will fail because the Constitution grants no such power. If we can’t follow the Constitution on this matter can we ever?

James Madison, one of the authors of our Constitution, wrote, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence (OBAMACARE – mine), the money of their constituents.”

I would ask that you please respect the letter and intent of the Constitution and the Founders and reject in its totality the Democrats approach to health reform.

The only reform you as a Republican should pursue is reform that increases the freedom of the market and reduces the influence of the government.

Respectfully,
[Me]

DerKrieger on September 2, 2009 at 9:03 PM

Olympia snowejob

Call her office and say you are from Maine and represent a group of seniors against obamacare. It doesn’t matter if you don’t live in Maine. Find a zip code and town name off the net and call her now. Or say you are a moderate dem who voted for her, and you are against obamacare or any public option. We need to burn her local Maine offices as well as Washington. Call her now before she caves to the libs. Call her now!!!!

texaninfidel on September 2, 2009 at 9:03 PM

“Trigger” for a public option ?

I’ve got a bunch of triggers….. Mostly 10-pound pull on double action, but set to rock-n-roll, we’re talkin’ maybe 3.5-pounds at best.

Cheers !

Kenny Solomon
Locked, loaded, safeties off.

E T Cartman on September 2, 2009 at 9:03 PM

In other words our government is scr*wing us from all directions. Throw them all out, with no exceptions.

Schadenfreude on September 2, 2009 at 9:05 PM

Cant wait to vote her out. Collins too. but im sure she has a nice cushy Obuma job waiting. The Mind control Czar.

tengger on September 2, 2009 at 9:10 PM

These people are freaking impossible!!
What do they freaking do with their time??!!
They just spend every freaking minute of their day planning and plotting newer and more clever ways to suck our lives dry!

JellyToast on September 2, 2009 at 9:15 PM

Snowe is really a piece of work. wondering if the Maine voters will finally see through her. Probably not.

jeanie on September 2, 2009 at 9:17 PM

Oh–forgot this. what has the Obma administration promised her this time? There’s got to be something as she is perennially for sale.

jeanie on September 2, 2009 at 9:18 PM

DerKrieger on September 2, 2009 at 9:03 PM

Your letter is too polite and well-reasoned. I’m all for polite, the whore’s staff doesn’t deserve the anger just because of who their daddy got them a job working for. The reason part doesn’t work because this is beyond debate. To provide a case to sway the whore’s vote doesn’t matter because she doesn’t care about you even if you live in Maine. You need to spell out consequences about what will happen if the whore becomes a traitor.

We really are to that stage if we want to save America from the socialist regime.

highhopes on September 2, 2009 at 9:18 PM

Genocidal birds of a feather.

Hening on September 2, 2009 at 9:19 PM

With apologies to Tallulah Bankhead: Pure as the driven slush. (Slushe?)

Barnestormer on September 2, 2009 at 9:24 PM

I call BS on this story. I think Obama’s trying to box Snowe in and use her to save his ass, and I hope she has the guts to call him on his sleaze. We’ll see tomorrow what she has to say…

Rational Thought on September 2, 2009 at 9:32 PM

Snowe is a horror and opportunist.

And “trigger” fits exactly within a good socialist’s lexicon of dealing with anything they don’t like.

“Up against that wall….!”

Harry Schell on September 2, 2009 at 9:34 PM

Does this mean my grandparents get to live a while longer?

TN Mom on September 2, 2009 at 9:41 PM

I call BS on this story. I think Obama’s trying to box Snowe in and use her to save his ass, and I hope she has the guts to call him on his sleaze. We’ll see tomorrow what she has to say…

Rational Thought on September 2, 2009 at 9:32 PM

It’s hard to tell at this point. He’s done it before…but then she has a long history of screwing us over, making this story at least plausible.

I guess time will tell.

powerpro on September 2, 2009 at 9:41 PM

I only hope that Snowe can convince Grassley of the merits of such a grand compromise.

On a serious note, this turd sandwich of a potential compromise would only ensure that a public option gets put in place in the future while making it look that it’s not being rammed down our throats. Does Snowe not understand that if the government places a bunch of additional mandates on health insurers, the insurers won’t be able to meet the cost requirements imposed by the legislation?

Bru on September 2, 2009 at 9:42 PM

I hate Snowe.

Alana on September 2, 2009 at 9:46 PM

But of course they are.

spmat on September 2, 2009 at 9:50 PM

after 2010, and a new group of faces in capitol hill, maybe we can start looking at TORT reform to reduce our insurance costs. Ambulance chasers should be drawn and quartered, tarred and feathered, hell, maybe we should even bring back the Spanish inquisition!!!
/end sarc
but seriously, without the torture comments, we need to end the days of suing to advance personal greed. I’ve been a victim of food poisoning, and never sued. I’ve been hit by a car, and never sued. I’ve lost a business due to an embezzling partner, and never sued. Get a grip D-bags!!!! Money hungry, drama following leech-azz trial lawyers are the biggest problem in healthcare costs!!!

viviliberoomuori on September 2, 2009 at 9:52 PM

Let them keep playing these obscene games with semantics in this revolting piece of s#@t bill – it will only continue to fuel the fire of the teabagging public who are becoming more outraged and gaining more numbers in their ranks by the day.
3-2-1 til they shut down the internet because of the pig flu!
Time to brush up on the articles of impeachment!!!!!

huskerdiva on September 2, 2009 at 9:54 PM

Olympia snowejob
Call her office and say you are from Maine and represent a group of seniors against obamacare. It doesn’t matter if you don’t live in Maine. Find a zip code and town name off the net and call her now. Or say you are a moderate dem who voted for her, and you are against obamacare or any public option. We need to burn her local Maine offices as well as Washington. Call her now before she caves to the libs. Call her now!!!!call her now your freedom is on the line!!

texaninfidel on September 2, 2009 at 9:55 PM

Michael Steele had BETTER be on the phone with her right now.

I will be on the phone with her office tomorrow.

SouthernGent on September 2, 2009 at 9:57 PM

Snowe is aiming to get forty pieces of silver but is rumored to be willing to settle for thirty.

She’s obviously in feverish competition with Orrin Hatch to see who can be the biggest career-politician sellout for the GOP this week.

viking01 on September 2, 2009 at 10:08 PM

Weak and stupid people. We seem to be saddled with our share of them.

rrpjr on September 2, 2009 at 10:13 PM

If true, not one cent to the GOP Senate reelection fund until this whore is drummed out of the GOP.

highhopes on September 2, 2009 at 7:46 PM

I have continuously sent back the fundraisers in their postage paid envelope telling the Republican Senate Election Committee that I am NEVER contributing to them again because they helped Snow and what’s her name get re-elected back in 06 and 08. We are stuck with these gals for 4 more years.

I am now only contributing directly to real conservatives. I am no longer sending $$ to the national committees.

karenhasfreedom on September 2, 2009 at 10:26 PM

Would someone please, please shove Snowe under the political bus? Maybe she should just go ahead & follow Specter to the dark side.

As much as I don’t think much of Clyburn, I have to admit that his sugesstion, of the burden of evidence of a government plan working before full implementation, is the better of the evils. Of course, MA is already an example of 1/50 of our country on such a plan.

Bless her heart. She’s about to sell her weak soul to The Devil.

Snowe, do yourself & America a favour: go home & keep quiet!

PalmettoPatriot on September 2, 2009 at 10:34 PM

The advancing White Army is what led to the Romanovs being herded into a dead end room with their backs to the wall. Then the traiterous, Marxists bastards entered & pulled the triggers.

Does Olympia Snowe = a traiterous… ?

PalmettoPatriot on September 2, 2009 at 10:39 PM

This is really spinning out of control. I challenge all you folks who are so negative on secession – what in the hell do we do when government breaks down and all branches refuse to enforce the Constitution and spin steadfastly down the road to spending every dime our progeny will ever hope to make even before they are born?

What then, is the solution to that?

Honestly – if Louisiana held a referendum on secession today – I would vote YES. Just absolutely sickened by the lies and the cult of personality and the corruption that is the Democrats in the majority.

HondaV65 on September 2, 2009 at 10:48 PM

There is not a republican in Maine that does not think/know that Snowe will sell out the party and country on this issue. Remember, she schemed to insert triggers in the Bush tax cuts as well.

She is what happens when republicans do not hold their elected officials accountable.

JIMV on September 2, 2009 at 11:08 PM

You can see why that would appeal to Democrats looking for a way to get a foothold for the public option but why it would appeal to a self-professed fiscal conservative like Snowe, knowing how grievously a public option could end up distorting the market, is beyond me.

A Republican who never yields to liberals on an issue is an “extremist” and “divisive”, that’s why.

Chris_Balsz on September 2, 2009 at 11:21 PM

I grew up in Maine and left in 1986.

If any of you current Mainiacs are reading this…what the hell happened to the independent spirit that I learned growing up there? Nothing but a socialist cesspool now. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Saltysam on September 2, 2009 at 11:50 PM

When she comes up for the next election can you guys find a better candidate up there? It’s hard enough to fight the war with the enemy in front of you, if you have to worry about getting stuck in the butt with a bayonet wielded by your trench mate.

archer52 on September 3, 2009 at 12:18 AM

Get ready for a snow-job ppl… Tanks-a-lots…

BLKandPRD on September 3, 2009 at 12:43 AM

I thought Bela Legosi was dead, I guess he had a sex change and got elected to Congress.

echosyst on September 3, 2009 at 1:20 AM

forgive the off topoic post but
Olympia snowejob needs to be stopped !
Call her office and say you are from Maine and represent a group of seniors against obamacare. It doesn’t matter if you don’t live in Maine. Find a zip code and town name off the net and call her now. Or say you are a moderate dem who voted for her, and you are against obamacare or any public option. We need to burn her local Maine offices as well as Washington. Call her now before she caves to the libs. Call her now!!!!

texaninfidel on September 3, 2009 at 1:45 AM

Obama Tries A Snowe Job On American Public

Why not just provide a grant payment/ tax deduction for private coverage for the 5-10 million legal citizens who are uninsured and who actually cannot afford their own plans instead of this monstrous power grab and grotesque new bureaucracy?

profitsbeard on September 2, 2009 at 8:44 PM

The Left (includes Snowe and her cozy-daily-visits with the equally disgusting Emanuel – by the way, can ANYone explain that, that these two are conducting “shared intelligence” daily exchanges) won’t pursue actual problem solving such as you describe because solving the “health care” issue isn’t their goalthey’re just USING the issue of “health care” to accomplish other things.

Which is also why they can’t and won’t actually explain anything to citizens when asked, even at townhalls.

Ever HEAR any reasonable, sensible explanation from the Left (includes Snowe) about WHY they’re attmepting what they are? No, because to do so would show their hand.

Providing some sort of FEMA-type medical care to the uninsured or uninsurable would be the solution to the complaints at present. There’s no reason to waste Medicare just to create such a solution. No RELATED reason, which blares the fact that under the surface, what the Left is attempting is another thing altogether while using “healthcare” as an issue to accomplish it.

Lourdes on September 3, 2009 at 1:53 AM

To repeat this, I am concerned as to WHY and HOW it is that Rahm Emanuel and Senator Snowe are “conducting” their “daily intelligence exchanges” or visits daily.

This truly concerns me. Emanuel isn’t an elected official, Snowe IS an elected official, to the Senate. Emanuel’s a well identified radical (if not fringing on criminal in some cases as yet unresolved — Blagojovich, specifically, pay-to-play Illinois corruption, coercion via implied death threats to opponents and more) and Snowe’s commiserating wiht him daily? Or even at all?

Am I the only person bothered by this?

Lourdes on September 3, 2009 at 1:56 AM

This entire healthcare bill is dead. Even if this bunch manages to pass something/anything like what they have been looking at, hr 3200, that bill will either fail to pass constitutional tests or it will be removed in 2011 BEFORE it can do much of anything.

Remember, once the opposition gets control in the house, they control the purse strings. Which is why the Dems still need bi-partisan support.

As I see it, Obama has one nice way out of this mess. What he needs to do is to drop all of this health care plan and tell both houses of congress to put together a package consisting of:

1) Education incentives for new medical personel. Every plan has had the same problem, where do you get the doctors?

2) Regulatory changes to allow healthcare insurers to cross some state lines. Regional companies should allow for much new competition without allowing any of them to become ‘too big to fail’.

3) Some basic changes to w2 reporting for health care insurance. Let the people see all of the ‘benefits’ they are getting from their employers potentially allowing individuals to determine which provider they like and not necessairily having that decision tied to their employer. Notice I say ‘reporting’. No new taxes.

Toss in a few adjustments like ‘negotiating tax credits in some situations’ and he can have a bill that costs very little yet could still impact overall healthcare costs for all.

I could see Obama declaring the bill I just described as meeting his campaign promise to improve health care costs and insure more people.

And no, I do not think what the Dems will do next will look anything like this.

Freddy on September 3, 2009 at 2:48 AM

With the EXTREME conflict of interest implicit in the concept of a trigger with the people who stand to gain the most (the government) setting the trigger criteria this should be treated as a non-starter by any sane non-Communist in the nation.

I am insulted at the implication I am dumb enough to fall for such a piece of crap in the face of the 1400 pages of crap they have already tried to bulldoze through.

{+_+}

herself on September 3, 2009 at 3:58 AM

It might be worth a phone call to her office to say cut that out.

Terrye on September 3, 2009 at 7:21 AM

Let me go out on a limb here…

The Trigger: insurance companies have to provide universal coverage for free or the government takes over.

Possible secondary Trigger: insurance companies have to find the One Ring and toss it into the fires of Mount Doom, or the government takes them over.

Lehosh on September 3, 2009 at 7:52 AM

Without question, some group of pathetic Whig idiots–who have gotten themselves elected and reelected on your dime–is going to emerge to snatch an Obama victory from the jaws of defeat. Snowe, Collins, McCain, Graham, and on and on and on. We’ve seen it so many time before. The Whigs have to be routed in 2010.

Even if this bunch manages to pass something/anything like what they have been looking at, hr 3200, that bill will either fail to pass constitutional tests or it will be removed in 2011 BEFORE it can do much of anything.

Remember, once the opposition gets control in the house, they control the purse strings. Which is why the Dems still need bi-partisan support.

Freddy on September 3, 2009 at 2:48 AM

You’ll need 60 votes in the Senate to override Obama’s veto of any attempted repeal. Whatever gets passed now is here to stay for some time.

james23 on September 3, 2009 at 8:47 AM

That’s how Obama will get bipartisanship into the discussion. He’ll work with a liberal Republican. He may as well add in Susan Collins since Specter has already officially designated himself a liberal.

orlandocajun on September 3, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Ambulance chasers should be drawn and quartered, tarred and feathered, hell, maybe we should even bring back the Spanish inquisition!!!
/end sarc
viviliberoomuori on September 2, 2009

I would prefer a righty version of the French Revolution/sarc ( sorta…kinda)

Gang-of-One on September 3, 2009 at 9:11 AM

Snowe = Specter

Neither have a clue.

FireBlogger on September 3, 2009 at 9:20 AM

Once again, I fail to see how any member of congress can in good conscience vote for a bill they know will become what they say they won’t vote for. Abdicating responsibility by saying the bill changed after the initial vote won’t fly anymore.

Vashta.Nerada on September 3, 2009 at 9:48 AM

It always amazes me that anyone can pretend that the “cover” of one or two known liberal Republicans constitutes bipartianship

katiejane on September 3, 2009 at 9:56 AM

you’re wasting your time on this lunitic

the b*tch gets voted in every time

what needs to be done here is elect folks that will clsoed all those bases in Maine and isolate them like Oramadan does now to parts of the country.

I would respect her if she just switched parties

She is sickening

bluegrass on September 3, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Instead of a check start returning those prepaid postage envelopes to the RNC with a note only that states no more money until you grow a set and get rid of these RINO whores.

bluegrass on September 3, 2009 at 10:12 AM

God I hate this woman.

angryed on September 3, 2009 at 1:24 PM

This is why i will NOT obey anything that obama or the democrats pass

I dont care now..

For they are all TRAITORS
They all are scumbags
and even after all of the people said HELL NO
the DEMOCRAPS..
still are trying to force us all onto obama care..

it is time to revolt now..
because if you dont..
you wont have any rights left to do so..
I guarantee you obama and the democats will
BETRAY all of the USA…

They cannot help it for they are stalinists in their hearts..

http://www.veteranoutrage.com

veteranoutrage on September 3, 2009 at 4:27 PM

You’ll need 60 votes in the Senate to override Obama’s veto of any attempted repeal. Whatever gets passed now is here to stay for some time.

james23 on September 3, 2009 at 8:47 AM

67 (a veto requires a 2/3 majority to override).

malclave on September 3, 2009 at 4:40 PM

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