From the Wall Street Journal:
Senior Senate Democrats reached tentative agreement Tuesday night to abandon the government-run insurance plan in their health-overhaul bill and to expand Medicare coverage to some people ages 55 to 64, clearing the most significant hurdle so far in getting a bill that can pass Congress.
Liberals dropped the public insurance plan that was a central plank of the Democrats’ health bill in favor of a more limited alternative, following intense pressure from a small group of Democrats who had insisted for months that it was a deal-breaker. While disputes over abortion coverage and other issues remain, Democrats appeared a whisker away from having enough votes to overcome Republican opposition and pass a sweeping health overhaul in the Senate.
The Senate bill — including the lack of a public plan — is likely to form the core of any final legislation, though it will have to be reconciled with a health bill passed by the House last month.
This compromise is the result of several days of negotiations by a group of 10 Democratic senators — five moderates and five liberals, it replaces the public option with a more limited plan administered by the government’s Office of Personnel Management.
According to the Journal, the new national plan would be run by nonprofit entities set up by the private sector, and would be available to the public on the new insurance exchanges that would be created under the bill. If no private insurers sign up with the Office of Personnel Management to offer a national plan, the office would be authorized to implement a direct government-run plan.
The Office of Personnel Management currently administers plans offered to federal employees and members of Congress.
Bottom line, I still expect the Senate to pass a Health Care a reform bill this year, and I don’t buy the tough talk coming from Jerrold Nadler and Jan Schakowsky in the House… If liberals in the House have to roll over to get a reform bill done they will… It’s as simple that, Democrats have invested to much time and political capital in Health Care Reform. They’re going to get a bill through Congress, we the people and the consequences be damned.