This report on Olympia Snowe’s position suggests he might (if he doesn’t get too many Democratic defectors). Snowe’s importance to Obama’s agenda was made clear in her support of the stimulus package — she was one of 3 GOP senators whose support allowed the bill to go through. It appears she supports substantive action on health-care reform as well.
Via Ezra Klein:
“We have a totally dysfunctional system now,” she said. While like most Republicans she would prefer to see the private sector collaborate on an effective change, a government-run health care system may be the only way to get the job done, she said.
Snowe’s position is a bit of an odd one: She holds that we may require a single-payer system but probably should have a public insurance option. The next step, she says, is to fix the market. And Snowe argues that it’s not clear that you can do that with a public insurance option. She’s raised the possibility that the public plan is actually too easy on private insurers. It’s a government plan, she says, and every lobby and advocacy group will exert pressure for it to cover every ill, ailment, and treatment. As such, the plan will quickly prove a better deal for the sick than the well, and it will end up being the equivalent of a “bad bank” for health risks. The private insurance market will simply skim off the healthy. In other words, the public plan wouldn’t compete with the private market so much as subtly subsidize it.
Read more at Klein’s post