Suzy Khimm

What Will Unions Get out of the Baucus Bill?
September 23, 2009

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Baucus released his modified mark to the reform bill yesterday afternoon, indicating concessions that he is trying to make toward Olympia Snowe as well as recalcitrant Democrats like Jay Rockefeller. Among the amendments is a higher threshold for the proposed excise tax on so-called "Cadillac plans," which will be raised from $8,000 to $8,750 for individuals and from $21,000 to $22,000 for families.

What Howard Dean Would Do If He Were Harry Reid
September 17, 2009

Speaking Tuesday night at Busboys and Poets--homebase for lefties in Obama’s Washington--Howard Dean laid out his health reform game plan for liberal activists. “What we’re going to pass is a bill that includes a public option--the Democrats just don’t know it yet!” he boomed out to rousing cheers and applause.

EXCLUSIVE: Finance Bill Won't Increase the Cap on Subsidies
September 14, 2009

  Since the Baucus framework was released last week, there's been an ongoing debate about whether the Finance Committee's final bill will include any significant changes. One area of dispute has been the subsidy cap for uninsured families: Chairman Max Baucus set it at 300 percent above the federal poverty level in his framework (about $66,000 a year for a family of four). But others in the committee--including Olympia Snowe and Jeff Bingaman--have wanted to raise the subsidy cut-off to 400 percent (about $88,000 a year for a family of four).

For Rockefeller, At Least One Victory
September 14, 2009

Though he’s the second-ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, Jay Rockefeller has had a hard time being heard in the health care debate. The West Virginia Senator has positioned himself to the left of the Gang of Six, the bipartisan group with which Chairman Max Baucus has been negotiating legislative language. In particular, Rockefeller has openly attacked Kent Conrad’s co-op plan and unabashedly defended partisanship as the route to real reform.

If the Trigger’s Out, Is Collins In?
September 14, 2009

Susan Collins quickly stepped into the media spotlight yesterday after saying on CNN that she wouldn’t support the trigger because “it just delays the public option.” Such remarks seemed to have prompted some liberal bloggers to write off Collins entirely, given her unwillingness to compromise on the issue. “We've gotten several emails in recent days from readers asking why all the focus is on Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) when it comes to a compromise on public option,” Talking Points Memo writes today.

Wishful Thinking From Schumer?
September 10, 2009

Now that Obama’s Big Speech is over, the focus of the health care debate has moved swiftly back to the Senate Finance Committee, as it prepares to release its own bill next week. At a press conference on Capitol Hill today, the Senate Democratic leadership stood before a bold blue sign with their newly minted slogan: “The Season for Action Is Now.” It's a variation on a line from Obama’s speech, “Now is the season for action.” The question now is where that action should take place--and what kind of action should be.

The Centrists’ Take on the Speech: Pretty Darn Good
September 10, 2009

The moderates and centrists critical to ongoing health care negotiations seemed to have found a good deal to their liking in the president’s speech tonight. Senator Olympia Snowe—a central focal point for the TV cameras scanning the chamber—issued a statement tonight that praised the President’s stated desire to bend the cost curve and, just as significantly, to ensure that the bill does not add to the deficit.

The Centrists’ Take on the Speech: Pretty Darn Good
September 10, 2009

The moderates and centrists critical to ongoing health care negotiations seemed to have found a good deal to their liking in the president’s speech tonight. Senator Olympia Snowe—a central focal point for the TV cameras scanning the chamber—issued a statement tonight that praised the President’s stated desire to bend the cost curve and, just as significantly, to ensure that the bill does not add to the deficit.

Dodd Turns Down HELP
September 09, 2009

Contrary to the expectations of many, Chris Dodd has decided to turn down the chairmanship of the Senate HELP Committee, choosing instead to stay at the helm of Banking. Dodd and his office have yet to comment on his decision (which will also result in Tom Harkin taking over HELP and Blanche Lincoln over Agriculture). But many observers (including myself) judged that Dodd might fare better politically by taking the HELP torch from Kennedy to push through the health care reform bill.

What Would Snowe's Trigger Look Like?
September 08, 2009

It looks like the White House's endgame may very well include a public option trigger, as a means of  bringing Olympia Snowe and other key centrists on board. In fact, Obama met with Snowe today to talk about the bill, so there's no question that her ideas and concerns are being taken quite seriously. But what would a Snowe-endorsed trigger actually look like?

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