Dems Reach Health Care Compromise?
That’s the word tonight, but the details are thin right now.
Senate Democrats have reached a “broad agreement” on a health reform bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday night — a plan that would replace the public option in the current Senate bill with a new national insurance plan offered by private insurers, and a chance for older Americans to “buy in” to Medicare.
Democrats on Tuesday night took a major step forward on a plan by agreeing to ask congressional scorekeepers to give them cost estimates on a possible compromise that would break the impasse over health reform in the Senate.
In doing so, Senate negotiators moved decisively away from including a government-run health insurance plan that would start on Day One in any final compromise, a major disappointment for the Democratic base but one that is likely to prove necessary to win over fiscally moderate senators.
Instead, Democrats are considering including a “trigger” that would allow a public plan to kick in – but only in the event that private insurers didn’t step up and offer policies for the new national health insurance plan, which seemed unlikely.
Still, it’s unlikely that this will get any Republican support….
“My deep concern is about the breadth and scale of this legislation, taking it in a more expansionistic approach for government’s role rather than the reverse,” Snowe told reporters. “You can design incentives in this legislation to maximize the power of the marketplace in making sure the industry performs.”
But Dems could get Lieberman…
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), another undecided moderate who opposes any version of the public plan, hasn’t been participating in the meetings. But his staff is present, and he speaks with Schumer every day, Lieberman told reporters Tuesday.
He said he is encouraged by a proposal to remove the public option and replace it with a national nonprofit insurance program administered by a federal agency. Regarding Medicare and Medicaid, Lieberman said he needed to examine the additional costs.
More as it develops…