Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s “compromise” public option–government-managed private health plans plus a vast expansion of Medicare–comes with a steep price tag, the New York Times reports:

According to the Congressional Budget Office, a family of four earning $54,000 in 2016, when the health legislation is fully in effect, would be eligible for a subsidy of $10,100 to help defray the cost of insurance under the health legislation being debated by the Senate. By then, one of the most popular federal plans, a nationwide Blue Cross and Blue Shield policy, is projected to cost more than $20,000.

That could leave the family earning $54,000, slightly more than the current median household income, with monthly premium costs of more than $825.

The Democrats’ proposal would also allow some people ages 55 to 64 to “buy in” to Medicare, starting in 2011. That could cost about $7,600 a year per person or $15,200 for a couple, according to a budget office analysis of an earlier version of the concept. No subsidies would be available until 2014.

 Finder’s fee to National Review Online’s Daniel Foster, who notes this additional fun fact: The Medicare buy-in would be available only to individuals 55 and over, and not, say, their under-55 spouses or teen-age children.