And then there was one.
Sen. Mary Landrieu just announced she would vote to allow Harry Reid’s health care bill to make it to the Senate floor for a vote.
Landrieu, who was one of just two remaining Democratic holdouts, secured $100 million in special Medicaid funding for Louisiana as part of the bill. She cautioned that, “The vote today to move forward in this important debate should in no way be construed by supporters of this current framework as an indication of how I might vote as this debate comes to an end.”
But her decision does make it much more likely that the legislation will ultimately pass, and leaves Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas as the only Democrat who has yet to declare her intentions. Reid needs Lincoln in order to reach the necessary 60-vote threshold.
UPDATE: Landrieu addressed the million payment to Louisiana in her remarks, blasting “very partisan Republican bloggers” for spreading the story. However, the news, as far as I can tell, was first reported by the Politico and ABC News. The argument she made was that post-Katrina federal aid to Louisiana made the state appear artificially richer, and thus deprived them of the federal Medicaid funding they deserve. And she boasted that the actual amount was $300 million.
In her remarks, Landrieu also suggested many improvements, and praised Sen. Ron Wyden proposal to open up the exchanges to those who may not be satisfied with their employer-based care.
She also continued to express reservations about the government plan, arguing that it would pose “significant risk to taxpayers over time.” Instead, she supports a proposal by Sen. Olympia Snowe to “trigger” the government plan if the private market doesn’t meet certain government benchmarks.