Another Republican senator from Maine has expressed support for healthcare reform legislation, although Susan Collins believes that the Senate Finance committee bill needs some work. As expected, the moderate Collins has joined her colleague, Senator Olympia Snowe, in backing healthcare reform. Before voting in favor of the legislation, Collins wants changes to the bill to make coverage more affordable, control costs and protect Medicare.
“My hope is that we can fix the flaws in the bill and come together with a truly bipartisan bill that could garner widespread support,” Collins said. “I think this bill is far superior to the ones passed by the Senate (health) committee and the three House committees, but it needs substantial additional work.”
The Senate Finance Committee’s centrist $829 billion, 10-year bill was approved on a 14 – 9 vote after Snowe broke with Republicans to support the legislation written under Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) leadership. The legislation, which does not include the public option that President Barack Obama wants, does include a trigger mechanism that would kick in if private insurers failed to keep premiums affordable for all Americans.
The next step is for the Senate to merge the Finance and Health committees’ bills, which will be led by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Reid’s goal is to bring the healthcare reform legislation onto the Senate floor as quickly as possible. Although the two bills have the common goal of providing all Americans with access to healthcare, they differ on how to accomplish that objective.