Frustrated Democratic senator may vote against budget deal

A frustrated Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said he is inclined to vote against a budget deal to keep the government operating because it cuts a healthcare reform provision he authored last year.

The deal between President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would ax a Wyden-sponsored provision allowing people to opt out of employer-provided healthcare plans to buy coverage from public-private insurance exchanges. 

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“I am not going to support this raw special interest power,” he told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “The president has known personally how strongly I feel about this.
 
“Without this provision more than 300,000 people would be in healthcare no-man’s land,” he said.
 
Wyden said he would wait to hear what White House officials and Democratic leaders have to say about the concession before making a final decision on how to vote.
 
Wyden’s provision would give taxpayer subsidies to employees who must pay between 8 percent and 9.9 percent of their income on health-insurance premiums. They could use the subsidy to buy more affordable plans on exchanges set up by the 2010 healthcare law.
 
Employees who pay 9.9 percent or more of their income are covered even without Wyden’s provision.