Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a big announcement Tuesday that 10 liberal and centrist Democrats had reached a “broad agreement” in closed-door meetings on compromising between the liberals who insist on putting a government-run public option insurance program into the Senate health bill and the centrists who are adamantly opposed to a public option.
But maybe Reid’s announcement was just talk.
The Hill reports:
Two centrist Democrats at the center of the Senate’s tense healthcare reform negotiations insisted that there has been no compromise deal on the legislation despite Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) pronouncements.
“There’s no specific compromise. There were discussions,” Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said at a press conference Wednesday.
According to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), sending the bill to the [Congressional Budget Office for a cost scoring] was about all the 10 senators agree to do. “We got to a point where we couldn’t go any further until we got scores,” she said. “There are a lot of things on the table still and until, you know, we hear back from CBO it’s going to be hard to see whatever I can support, for sure.”
Indeed, Landrieu said, “Until the package that was sent [is] scored, we don’t know what’s in it.”
“My opposition to a government-run insurance option, including any option with a trigger, has been clear for months and remains my position today.
“Regarding the ‘Medicare buy-in’ proposal [for people age 55-64] that is being discussed, we must remain vigilant about protecting and extending the solvency of the program, which is now in a perilous financial condition.
“It is my understanding that at this point there is no legislative language so I look forward to analyzing the details of the plan and reviewing analysis from the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.”
The logic of the Reid proposal, as it has been emerging in the past few hours, seems to be pure political panic. The parts make very little policy sense, individually or together, and don’t really make political sense outside the Senate either (for instance, sending huge numbers of younger people into Medicare is likely to turn off the AMA, which hates the way Medicare treats doctors, and will send the hospitals screaming for the same reason). But the idea is to cobble together whatever it takes to get 60 votes in the short term and worry about it later.
Finder’s Fee: Ace of Spades HQ
Update: The progressive diehards over at the Huffington Post aren’t happy about Harry’s hot air, either.