Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday he expected Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to decline supporting the final health bill he crafted.
Reid announced that he had filed a merged Senate bill containing an opt-out provision for the public option, an element of healthcare reform Snowe has repeatedly said she could not support.
"I spoke to Olympia on Friday," Reid said during a press conference at the Capitol. "And so we'll have to move forward on this, and there come a time, I hope, where she sees the wisdom of supporting a health care bill after having had an opportunity, her and others, to offer amendments."
Snowe had joined with Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee to support a health reform bill that contained nonprofit cooperatives for consumers, but eschewed a public option in a bid to win support from centrist Republicans like Snowe.
She told Bloomberg News over the weekend that she would likely not support a bill including the government-run plan.
"You know, I haven’t thought of any other calculation, but a public option at the forefront really does put the government in a disproportionate position with respect to the industry," she said.
"I wouldn’t say - characterize it as, you know, in such strong terms as deal-breakers, but yes, I’m opposed to it," she added.
Reid said that he will continue to work to win GOP votes for the bill, but sounded a pessimistic votes about his prospects for success.
"I'm always looking for Republicans," he said. "It's just a little hard to find them. We've had to do a lot of this on our own."
"We hope that Olympia will come back," the majority leader added.