THE TREATMENT JUNE 8, 2009
A group of Senate Republicans have sent President Obama a letter, indicating their staunch opposition to a public insurance option. The sentiment itself is not surprising, but the letter formalizes it. And it's apparently the subject--or, at least, a subject--of a meeting taking place today, bringing Republicans Mike Enzi, Charles Grassley, and Orrin Hatch together with Dems Max Baucus, Kent Conrad and Charles Schumer. No word yet on whether the meeting will produce resolution, but here's hoping Grassley tweets about it.*
Interestingly, the signatories to the letter include every Republican senator on Finance exept one: Olympia Snowe of Maine. She's said she wants to find some sort of compromise on a public plan. And while the merits of some compromises are open to debate, word has it that Snowe has been pushed in a progressive direciton on a few other fronts.
One example: Some conservatives have suggested that only "micro-businesses"--firms with less than ten employees--be allowed to buy insurance through the new exchanges, which would provide the same affordable rates and terms that large companies get. That would leave a large chunk small businesses hunting for insurance as they do now. Snowe, according to a source familiar with these discussions, has fought such restrictions.
*Update: Right on cue, here's Grassley's twitter at about 4:30 p.m.: "Rite now in bipartisan closed meeting on HealthCareReform." I love this guy.