The stars finally aligned for Sen. Max Baucus' health-care plan, said Joe Wiesenthal in The Business Insider. First the Congressional Budget Office gave the reform bill a good score, saying it would actually decrease the deficit, and as Baucus' Senate Finance Committee prepared to vote on the proposal, "wavering" Republican moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine gave it "the thumbs up" (the committee passed the bill Tuesday by a 14-9 vote).
"This does give Democrats momentum on the floor," said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air, especially since Republicans seemed to think that even Snowe, always considered one of the likeliest defectors, would stick with her party on this one. But Snowe said, "When history calls, history calls." Too bad history apparently "trumps fiscal responsibility and common sense."
The Democrats aren't out of the woods yet, said Jacob Goldstein in The Wall Street Journal. Olympia Snowe pointed out that one Republican vote didn't mean Max Baucus' health-care reform plan had bipartisan support. And although she praised the bill for preventing insurers from denying people coverage, she said she remained concerned that the bill wouldn't do enough to make health insurance affordable. So Snowe might still vote the other way when health reform goes to the full Senate.
The Democrats certainly wanted Olympia Snowe's vote, said Noam Scheiber in The New Republic, "but you can make an argument that Dems didn't want Snowe's vote today. Why? Because it gives her way too much leverage" as they try to hammer out a final version of a bill. Saying no to her now could lead to her defection, and that would be "disastrous."