The Senate Finance Committee has passed the America's Healthy Future Act by a margin of 14-9.
Though Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D.-Mont.) maintained the bill was crafted to have bipartisan appeal, the only Republican to vote in favor of it was Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
The bill still needs to reconciled with a more expansive bill that passed Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The HELP bill contains a public option, while the Baucus Bill does not. Several backers of the Baucus bill, such as Snowe and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D. –Ark.) indicated that their future support of the legislation was conditional upon it remaining close to the version that left the committee.
"My vote today is my vote today,” Snow said. “It doesn't forecast what my vote will be tomorrow."
If a completed Senate bill passes the Senate, it would also have to be melded with a version of the bill emerging from the House. Asked about the vote, President Obama was laudatory but acknowledged the bill has long way to go before becoming law.
“I think they've done excellent work,” Obama said. “And I think not only Chairman Baucus and others, but in particular Senator Snowe has been extraordinarily diligent in working together so that we can reduce cost of health care, make sure that people who don't have it are covered, make sure that people who do have insurance have more security and stability, and that over the long run we're saving families, businesses, and our government money.”
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