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What does Senator Snowe want for her Vote for Health Care?

WASHINGTON - MARCH 31:  Senate Finance Committ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

August 30, 2009

WASHINGTON – As Congress and the Democratic Majority run up against the clock. The public is demanding action and the Democrats are risking being laughed out of office if the majority folds to the Republicans on the most important legislation in decades.

Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine may be the deciding vote on Health Care. With Ted Kennedy gone her vote from the ignored upper right hand corner of the nation becomes pivotal.

As a member of the gang of six her swing vote could put her in an unwanted spotlight.

When asked if she could be the only Republican voting with Senate Democrats “I certainly hope not,” was Senator Snowe’s quick answer.

Ms. Snowe and two Republicans, Senators Charles Grassley of Iowa and Michael Enzi of Wyoming, have been the Republican half of the Gang of Six, a nearly secret committee trying to reach a compromise on health care.

Senator Enzi today made his no compromises stance more clear as he said Democratic proposals would restrict medical choices and make the country’s “finances sicker without saving you money.

As time goes on the Republicans have made it clear they will accept no legislation that change their positions aganist any approach to health care that cuts into insurance agency profits or attempts to provide true consumer protections.

The amount of behind the scenes talk and open speculation about the amount of leverage held by Senator Snowe is causing Democrats and her constituents, some of the poorest in New England, What does Olympia Snowe want?

Unlike some Senators Olympia Snowe is respected by both sides for her principled stand, and careful deal making on issues. Don’t expect to see two new airbases open or a bridge built from Portland to Bangor.

Senator Snowe has broken with her party on other issues but expressed the need for the Democrats to to scale back their health care plans.

While Senator Snowe won’t take bribes she will do what she thinks is best for the people of Maine. How much are the Democrats willing to offer and how much will she turn down for her State just to hew to the Republican line?

Sounding almost like a Democrat Senator Snowe about health care that even those who are satisfied with their current coverage will not stay satisfied, with the rapidly rising costs and steadily shrinking benefits.

Senator Snowe, ignoring Republican cries to toe the line, been willing to show some interest in a public option on a national scale, option, but prefers a “trigger” that would not put the public option in place unless the private insurers fail to lower costs on existing or new plans.

She also favors a reinsurance program that would have the federal government protect insurance company profits by having taxpayers cover the costs of catastrophic health care costs, in the name of lowering private premiums.

Some have said this is only a way to raise private insurers profits, not lower costs to the public.
This plan would most likely only allow insurance companies to further pad their profits by continuing to insure only the health while dropping the sick when they most need coverage.

Senator Snowe, with her history of compromise,her seat on Finance Committee, and her position representing a poor State, along with the death of Senator Edward Kennedy makes Senator Snowe the primary Democratic target.

Democrats a now one vote short of the 60 needed
to overcome a Republican filibuster and the Democratic need, for the moment, for at least one Republican ally has become critical.

Senator Snowe must also consider that Democrats are facing pressure at home to drop bipartisanship as a failed attempt. There is nearly no hope on the left that the Republicans would fund a band aid, never mind a health care plan.

Expecting help from Senator Snow is not simply a dream, she is one of three Republicans that voted with Democrats to pass the stimulus spending.

In the past Senator Snowe has not reflexively supported all tax cuts and has tried to rein in a rising federal deficit while demonstrating the ability to split from Republicans and vote with Democrats when she agrees with the principles.

Republicans see Senator Snowe as turncoat, and they are painting her as a dupe, claiming the Democrats are using her participation as an excuse to claim any bill passed as a bipartisan effort.

Rush Limbaugh and even some sane Republicans have called Olympia Snowe a RINO, meaning a Republican I Name Only.

Senators Snowe and Collins have become the some of the last survivors of a vanishing breed, Republican in New England, by sharp politics, not by blowing in the wind.

Senator Snowe still hopes for a successful plan to be developed by the Gang of six, but her leverage may be coming to an end. The Republican inability to compromise as the party of NO may be forcing the Democrats to turn to a plan that only requires 51 votes to pass.

Senator Snowe has to very careful of her timing and her demands or her influence will wane and Maine will have trouble getting Congress to fund snow shovels in January. So,,,,What does Olympia Snowe want, and will she wait too long and lose the leverage she has to gain an advantage for Maine? What does Senator Snowe want for her vote for Health Care with a Public Option?

First, I know she doesn’t want health care for herself, she has the best health care tax money can buy. In a continuing series on this site Senator Snowe’s office continues to ignore requests for copies of her health plan and the costs to the taxpayer.

As Congress and the Democratic Majority are running up against the clock. The timer is running out for them to do something instead of running from the Republicans.

The public that elected them and can elect them again is demanding action and the Democrats are risking being laughed out of office if the majority folds to the Republicans on the most important legislation in decades. Democratic office holders should remember that apathy for Republican candidates by Republican voters played a large part in the GOP defeat in 2008.

Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine may be the deciding vote on Health Care. With Ted Kennedy gone her vote from the ignored upper right hand corner of the nation becomes pivotal.

As a member of the gang of six her swing vote could put her in an unwanted spotlight.

When asked if she could be the only Republican voting with Senate Democrats “I certainly hope not,” was Senator Snowe’s quick answer.

Ms. Snowe and two Republicans, Senators Charles Grassley of Iowa and Michael Enzi of Wyoming, have been the Republican half of the Gang of Six, a nearly secret committee trying to reach a compromise on health care.

SenatorEnzi today made his no compromises stance more clear as he said Democratic proposals would restrict medical choices and make the country’s “finances sicker without saving you money.

As time goes on the Republicans have made it clear they will accept no legislation that change their positions aganist any approach to health care that cuts into insurance agency profits or attempts to provide true consumer protections.

The amount of behind the scenes talk and open speculation about the amount of leverage held by Senator Snowe is causing Democrats and her constituents, some of the poorest in New England, What does Olympia Snowe want?

Unlike some Senators Olympia Snowe is respected by both sides for her principled stand, and careful deal making on issues. Don’t expect to see two new airbases open or a bridge built from Portland to Bangor.

Senator Snowe has broken with her party on other issues but expressed the need for the Democrats to to scale back their health care plans.

While Senator Snowe won’t take bribes she will do what she thinks is best for the people of Maine. How much are the Democrats willing to offer and how much will she turn down for her State just to hew to the Republican line?

Sounding almost like a Democrat Senator Snowe about health care that even those who are satisfied with their current coverage will not stay satisfied, with the rapidly rising costs and steadily shrinking benefits.

Senator Snowe, ignoring Republican cries to toe the line, been willing to show some interest in a public option on a national scale, option, but prefers a “trigger” that would not put the public option in place unless the private insurers fail to lower costs on existing or new plans.

She also favors a reinsurance program that would have the federal government protect insurance company profits by having taxpayers cover the costs of catastrophic health care costs, in the name of lowering private premiums.

Some have said this is only a way to raise private insurers profits, not lower costs to the public.
This plan would most likely only allow insurance companies to further pad their profits by continuing to insure only the health while dropping the sick when they most need coverage.

Senator Snowe, with her history of compromise,her seat on Finance Committee, and her position representing a poor State, along with the death of Senator Edward Kennedy makes Senator Snowe the primary Democratic target.

Democrats a now one vote short of the 60 needed
to overcome a Republican filibuster and the Democratic need, for the moment, for at least one Republican ally has become critical.

Senator Snowe must also consider that Democrats are facing pressure at home to drop bipartisanship as a failed attempt. There is nearly no hope on the left that the Republicans would fund a bandaid, never mind a health care plan.

Expecting help from Senator Snow is not simply a dream, she is one of three Republicans that voted with Democrats to pass the stimulus spending.

In the past Senator Snowe has not reflexively supported all tax cuts and has tried to rein in a rising federal deficit while demonstrating the ability to split from Republicans and vote with Democrats when she agrees with the principles.

Republicans see Senator Snowe as turncoat, and they are painting her as a dupe, claiming the Democrats are using her participation as an excuse to claim any bill passed as a bipartisan effort.

Rush Limbaugh and even some sane Republicans have called Olympia Snowe a RINO, meaning a Republican I Name Only.

Senators Snowe and Collins have become the some of the last survivors of a vanishing breed, Republican in New England, by sharp politics, not by blowing in the wind.

Senator Snowe still hopes for a successful plan to be developed by the Gang of six, but her leverage may be coming to an end. The Republican inability to compromise as the party of NO may be forcing the Democrats to turn to a plan that only requires 51 votes to pass.

Senator Snowe has to very careful of her timing and her demands or her influence will wane and Maine will have trouble getting Congress to fund snow shovels in January. So,,,,What does Olympia Snowe want, and will she wait too long and lose the leverage she has to gain an advantage for Maine?

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August 30th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Health care, Insurance, Mike Enzi, Olympia Snowe, rush limbaugh | no comments

Chellie Pingree Pulls Ahead, First Congress person to Respond

SMP 2008 chellie pingreeImage by samm4mrox via Flickr

This is the third part of a series testing how our elected officials in Maine respond to a question from a Citizen about their federal health care plans.

Recap: Senators Snowe and Collins, Representatives Michaud, and Pingree were asked for copies of their health care policies and what the costs are to the public and to them.
They were also asked how much of those health care benefits will carry into retirement if they become vested.

Remember, this is public information, hard to find but public. You and me and your neighbors pay their salaries. We pay for their benefits, or at least some part of those benefits.

Snowe’s office refused Collins office very politely said, don’t call us, we’ll call you.

Michaud’s office, also politely gave me the brush off.

Congress Woman Pingree’s office sent a response, and then a follow up response when I pointed out that they may have misunderstood my question.

The response is coming later in this post. One out of three elected officials, two answers and one of them advice to “go find it yourself”. The other answer a polite follow up along with an a second follow up, without the information, but seriously leaving the door open to belief that we have at least one Congressional representative that cares about the people of Maine.

In all fairness I will copy the three posts on this topic, forward them to the Congressional offices involved in case I just hit one day of bad customer service in three cases.

Thank you, Congress woman Pingree and thank you Mr. Ritch for the emails.


Dear Tom,

Let me see if I can dig up that information for you.

Willy

On 8/25/09 8:47 PM, “NarsBars” <NarsBars@UnionMaine.Org> wrote:

Mr. Ritch,
Thank you but my question was more specific. I would like a copy of the explanation of benefits for the plan Congresswoman Pingree elected and a break down of the costs for that plan allocated to the Congresswoman and the taxpayer. I realize this is public information but my intent is more than health care, it is to measure and demonstrate the help or lack of help each federal office holder in Maine is willing to provide to the public as opposed to a lobbyist.
I am afraid my contributions to Congresswoman Pingree will not get me an invitation to chat on the phone.

I look forward to that information, as Senator Snowe’s office has told me to “go look it up” . I am publishing all of the answers I receive or the lack of them in a continuing series on my blog Http://www.unionmaine.blogspot.com <http://www.unionmaine.blogspot.com/>

Thank you,
Thomas Maher


From: Willy Ritch [mailto:willy.ritch@mail.house.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:45 AM
To: narsbars@unionmaine.org
Subject:


Hi Tom,

I understand you had a question about health care benefits that Members of Congress are eligible for. They actually have a choice of a bunch of plans, and I think this LA Times article describes it pretty well:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-congress-benefits2-2009aug02,0,7524121.story

Let me know if you have any more questions.

All the best,

Willy

Willy Ritch
Communications Director
Policy Advisor
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-1)
willy.ritch@mail.house.gov


P.S. Check out Congresswoman Pingree’s web site.

Here is a summary of Congresswoman Pingree’s stance on health care during 2002.


Allow states to negotiate lower drug prices

Pingree will push to increase the bargaining power of states. Maine has led the way in attempting to lower drug costs for all residents by negotiating with drug companies for lower prices. However, states need more flexibility from the federal government to negotiate lower prices through the federally funded, state-administered Medicaid program. The creative work done in the states should not be tied up at every turn by this powerful industry. States should be allowed more flexibility under the law to seek creative solutions. Any state should be able to negotiate for lower prices from drug companies that provide drugs to the state’s Medicaid program — and pass those discounts on to anyone who lacks prescription drug coverage, not just those on Medicaid.

Source: Campaign website, www.PingreeForSenate.com, “Health Care” Sep 26, 2002

Fight drug companies to make generic drugs available

Pingree will push to make lower priced, quality generic drugs available to consumers. Many people could save enormous amounts of money by buying high-quality, lower priced generic drugs, which often cost 25-60% less than expensive name-brand drugs. However, pharmaceutical companies use their influence to keep quality generic drugs off the market,. National drug policies should lower the barriers erected by the big drug companies and make quality generic drugs available to consumers.

Source: Campaign website, www.PingreeForSenate.com, “Health Care” Sep 26, 2002

Patient’s Rights to protect privacy

Pingree called for passage of a National Patients Bill of Rights that includes additional privacy protections for patients. “Keeping your medical records protected from the marketing departments of the pharmaceutical companies is a basic right that patients deserve,” said Pingree. “A National Patients Bill of Rights that includes privacy protections will ensure that doctors and heath care professionals — not big drug or insurance companies — make important heath care decisions.”

Source: Campaign website, PingreeForSenate.com, “Patients Rights” Aug 28, 2002

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August 29th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Chellie Pingree, Dear Tom, Health care, Maine, Olympia Snowe, United States Congress, United States House of Representatives | no comments

Obama wants to Kill your Family

vintage family: great grandparents and childrenImage by freeparking via Flickr


The Majority in Congress and the President have promised to change the “status quo” by pushing a government-run-health care plan (HR 3200). The plan will kill the elderly and put a 100% death tax on their estates to fund the program.

Those who qualify will be subject to rationing through government committees, filled with Union members and Gay Marriage supporters. If you don’t vote Democrat or have AIDS you won’t qualify for care.

All Americans will be FORCED to buy over-priced, politically created health insurance, pay taxes to create a government-run insurance plan that will have the right to kill the old and deny medicine to the sick. Some say that is what we have now, don’t fall for it.

The President plans on imposing a 99% income tax on each person who refuses to buy government insurance. After 2013 people will be limited to only government approved plans since another goal of this plan is to destroy the American economy by painting insurance company endless profits a bad thing.

Obama claims he will add people to the ranks of those who get health care and the dirty secret is he is telling the truth. The old model of insurance regulated by insurance companies will be dead. Medical care demands will increase and high profit margins will flat line.


In other words, there will be more people into the system with the added costs being taken from the profits that make America great. Obama will kill your grandparents and teach the gay agenda to your kids.

Obama, Pelosi and Reid insist that “if you like your health insurance coverage, you’ll get to keep it,” it’s now very clear: once again, THEY’RE LYING and they will either kill your whole family or encourage them to commit suicide to save money that would be spent on a broken ankle.

If the public plan is implemented in this bill, people with private insurance will be moved to public plans or face decades in federal prison if they disagree. Their employers will work to make that happen or face being sent to Gitmo.

That’s not all: Yearly premiums for the few remaining Americans with private coverage will jump as much as $20,000.00 per person as a result of a public option.

Even doctors will be unable to afford medical care under the legislation. It is estimated that a General Practitioner will have to wait nearly a year in order to see himself and specialists will wait up to two years to see themselves if a government bureaucrat allows the visit.

Throughout the last presidential campaign, Barack Obama repeatedly promised to keep taxes down. The truth is that if you’re a family that’s making $250,000 a year or less you will see a 99% rise in your taxes. Not just your income tax, not just your payroll taxes, not only your personal gains taxes, not but all of your taxes.”

TELL CONGRESS TO REJECT SOCIALIZED HEALTH CARE Now! Congress Has Healthcare! They don’t need a new plan!


FoxNews reported, I’m sorry; never mind, I can’t use Fox and news in the same sentence with a straight face.


There is a planned increase in fees for doctors serving Medicare patients over the next decade. Paying doctors to heal the poor, nice but who is supposed to pay for it?

There’s absolutely ZERO evidence that a health plan actually improves corporate health. Under the Obama plan NO ONE will have any plan in five years. Obama wants to kill your grandma.


Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, was overheard jokingly telling House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, “let me tell you, praying might be helpful here.”, after all look at the campaign donations I got from the big drug companies and insurance corporations.

Remember, TELL CONGRESS TO let the Republicans run healthcare the same way they ran the country for eight yeas!

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August 5th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | "Obama wants to kill your grandmother", Death, Health care, health insurance | no comments

Sen. Olympia Snowe has the vote that could swing the debate on Health Care. How will she vote?

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 10:  U.S Sen. Olympia Sno...Image by Getty Images via Daylife


She has raked in over $1 million in contributions from the health care industry.

Senator Snowe may end up the deciding vote on one of the issues that brought Democrats into power. The overhaul of the health care system so the system provides health care instead of profits to a few is a priority among many liberal voters. A public plan for insurance coverage is the only viable choice against the smoke screen of compromises floated by the right.

Olympia has been around a long time and knows how to be a power broker; hers was the only GOP signature missing among members of the Senate Finance Committee missing from a letter sent to the White House week opposing a public option. The downside is that she is pushing her own “trigger” compromise that would still effectively kill any meaningful bill.

All I need to know is that insurance companies support the bill.

How will Senator Snow vote?

She has a strong record of support for women and the disadvantaged.

Received over $400,000 from the insurance industry.

$400,000 from “health professionals”.

$135,000 from hospitals and nursing homes.

$100,000 from pharmaceutical and health products companies.

Over $60,000 from health services and HMOs.

See: records from the open-government group.

Donors include the PACS for the American Medical Association , Aetna Inc , and the American Hospital Association.

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June 16th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Aetna, American Hospital Association, Health, Health care, Insurance, Olympia Snowe, Republican, White House, public h | no comments