PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Sen. Olympia Snowe says a standby public option that would come into play if the private insurance market fails to provide affordable coverage could bridge the partisan gap that threatens to derail President Barack Obama’s health care reform.

The Maine Republican, who serves on the Senate Finance Committee, said Monday she’s working with Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York to include a standby option that would serve as a safety net.

In an Associated Press interview in Portland, Snowe said she believes the committee can produce a bipartisan bill, but that “everybody has to give a little.”

She acknowledged that the majority Democrats can push through a health care bill on their own, but that a measure of such magnitude should have the broadest possible support.

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