A hand-full of Democrats could be key to the future of health care in the Senate. Moderates have raised numerous concerns about aspects of the bill, including the public insurance option. Although the bill includes opt out provision for states that don't want to participate, many moderate Democrats prefer a trigger mechanism. The mechanism was proposed by Senator Olympia Snowe, R-Maine. Her approach would allow government-backed coverage only in states where private insurers fail to offer broadly affordable plans.
Other complaints include: Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., wants to do more to protect small businesses; Senator Evan Bayh, D-Ind., has sought to shield the medical-device manufacturers in his state from hefty fees; and Senator Ben Nelson, D-Neb., dislikes provisions that would lift federal antitrust protections for insurance companies and would create a new government insurance program for long-term care.
Resolving such disputes could mean President Obama would not meet his goal of signing a health-care bill by Christmas. That goal remains in place, however some Democrats believe the date of the State of the Union address is a more realistic target.