Reid’s Gang of Ten Strikes Deal to ‘Satisfy Everybody’ But Where is Public Option?

December 9, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Shortly after 8:00 PM Tuesday night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) emerged from the closed door, and often divisive health care reform negotiations with the so called, gang of ten Senators, and he declared a victory of sorts. But for who? That’s the question all of the pundits and the many Americans without health insurance will be asking today, as further details emerge. What about the public option? That seems to have been thrown out and replaced with a number of reforms, including an expansion of Medicare for younger Americans.

As the visibly tired Sen. Reid walked to his SUV to go home for a night of rest, he briefly spoke to reporters. “Well, we were there today talking about the 10 and it’s an agreement with the 10, that’s all we can do,” said Reid. “Other people haven’t seen it.”

Sen. Reid provided few details about the compromise health care plan, but thought that it would please everybody in the ongoing debate.

“I am not getting into details. It has something that we think should satisfy everybody. I mean look who we had there. We had Harkin. We had Feingold. We had Rockefeller.” Reid seemed to be inferring from his mention of the progressive lawmakers in the group, that they were happy with the compromise to replace the public option with something else.

Reid further characterized the breakthrough deal, as “a broad agreement” that “moves this bill way down the road.” And he noted the contentious nature of the recent discussions.

“It goes without saying it’s been kind of a long journey,” Reid said. “Tonight we’ve overcome a real problem that we had. I think it’s fair to say the debate at this stage has been portrayed as a very divisive one.”

Aides have confirmed that the new compromise bill sent to the CBO, has no public option, but it does have a trigger provision if insurers fail to rein in costs.

The plan also lowers the age for Medicare eligibility to 55, allowing younger Americans to buy into the federal program.

There also seems to be a not-for-profit private insurance option that would be administered by the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, which is similar to the current plan available to federal workers.

And there is a further expansion of Medicaid, the state run health insurance program for the poor.

But there may not be the unified agreement to the new terms, as Reid suggested. Last evening Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, said he would not “support proposals that would replace the public option in the bill with a purely private approach.”

“We need to have some competition for the insurance industry to keep rates down and save taxpayer dollars,” Feingold said. “I will base my vote on the bill on the entirety of what is in the bill, and whether I think the bill is good for Wisconsin.”

Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, whose vote Reid was courting all along, seemed amendable to the new compromise plan and the not-for-profit proposal. “It can be an innovative approach,” said Snowe.

And what about Sen. Joe Lieberman( ID-CT)? He said it was “an idea worth considering, so long as it remains private insurance companies that would be essentially regulated by OPM.” But who knows what Lieberman will say tomorrow.

The gang of ten, includes the liberal Senators; Schumer, Feingold, Rockefeller, Harkin, Brown and the moderates; Carper, Nelson, Pryor, Landrieu and Lincoln.

See CNN and The NY Times for more.

Photo Source: AFP


4 Responses to “Reid’s Gang of Ten Strikes Deal to ‘Satisfy Everybody’ But Where is Public Option?”

  1. Tom Degan on December 9th, 2009 10:53 am

    Isn’t Harry Reid wonderful? It’s people like he and Joe Liebermann that made me leave the Democratic party over a decade ago.

    The public option is obviously as dead as a doornail. My advice to the progressives is to take what they can get now.

    I don’t know what kind of health care reform will come out of this session, but I strongly suspect it won’t be much. There is, however a silver lining behind this very dark cloud. I am reminded of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Don’t be embarrassed if you’ve never heard of it, there really isn’t a hell of a lot to remember about it; a mere pittance, really – a scrap of leftovers tossed out to “American Negros” (in the parlance of the age) in order to appease them. But it made the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – the one we remember – all-the-more easier seven years later.

    We’ll live to fight another day.

    Tom Degan

  2. Old Man Dotes on December 9th, 2009 12:52 pm

    Wealthy old White men don’t need a “public option.” That’s for those poor people who don’t donate $millions to election campaigns, so what good are they to the Senate?

    I am reminded of Mel Brooks’ “History of the World, Part 1” in which the Roman Senate chorused, “SCREW the people!”

  3. 5 reasons why, if it’s as advertised, the Senate healthcare compromise might be a good thing : The Reid Report on December 9th, 2009 2:26 pm

    […] the “public option” is a plan to give the uninsured access to non-profit health plans administered by the Office of Personnel management, the same federal agency that oversees the health plans of federal employees and members of […]

  4. Teabaggers to ‘Storm Senate’ and Drop Dead for Liberty | ChattahBox News Blog on December 10th, 2009 10:24 pm

    […] deluded teabaggers must be protesting government run Medicare. Perhaps they haven’t heard: the public option is […]

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