Snowe lends a vote to reform—for now

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Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) serves on the Senate Finance Committee.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) serves on the Senate Finance Committee.
Breaking a partisan logjam, Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe joined Democrats in voting a major healthcare reform bill out of the Senate Finance Committee. The measure passed 14-9.

“When history calls, history calls,” said Snowe, who has long been known for her independent streak. But Maine's senior senator emphasized that this was merely one step in a long process, and that the committee vote should not be construed as her final decision.

The Senate Finance Committee bill is considered the most moderate of the healthcare reform bills passed. It contains a number of provisions affecting long-term care, including a pilot program to test payment bundling and the creation of a special office to deal with those dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. It also contains a provision that would tie the market basket update for nursing homes to “productivity adjustments.”