Health Bill Is Unlikely to Get Republican Support

After the Senate Finance Committee votes Tuesday on its health care legislation reform, the focus will shift to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Behind them is where the Nevada Democrat must merge the conservative-leaning Finance Committee legislation with a more liberally drawn bill approved by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

The Finance Committee debate is expected to go all day Tuesday before a vote. The committee -- with 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans -- is expected to pass the legislation. It's unclear if the bill will get any Republican support, though Sen. Olympia Snowe, a moderate from Maine, has signaled she is willing to work with Democrats.

Over the past two weeks, the Finance Committee has considered several hundred amendments to the sweeping bill, CNN reports.

In the meantime, the Max Baucus's bill has been the sun around which the health care debate has orbited in recent weeks. But that universe is about to be altered.

As the finance committee bill heads to the Senate floor, Democrats will try to re-insert a provision for a publicly-funded insurance option. Others may have other provisions they want to add, as well.

Republicans -- who say the "public option" will lead to government-run health care -- will argue that even the Baucus bill will cost more and regulate more than claimed.

They will likely be supported by the insurance industry, USA Today reports.

It was also reported, if Ms. Snowe votes against the measure, some Democrats will certainly question whether Mr. Baucus wasted precious time, shaping a bill that is less liberal than many of his colleagues wanted, in pursuit of Republican votes that never materialized.

Mr. Baucus will probably counter that his efforts were needed not only to secure the backing of Ms. Snowe but also to address the concerns of centrist Democrats, especially fiscal conservatives concerned about the overall price-tag of the legislation.

For Mr. Baucus, the committee vote today is more than a year in the making, and he will certainly remind colleagues that he believes this is their moment — and his — to make history. Comprehensive health care legislation has eluded Congress and American presidents for decades, and Mr. Baucus, a descendant of Montana ranchers, believes that he has devised a “uniquely American” plan to cover millions of the uninsured, The New York Times reports.

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