Senate Democrats trying to hammer out a compromise on health care reform are considering ditching the bill's public option in favor of expanding the public options that already exist. People over 55 will be able to buy into the Medicare program and Medicaid will be expanded under the proposals being discussed, Politico reports. A government-administered national insurance plan similar to the one for federal workers would replace the public option under the proposals.
Harry Reid has told the senators they need to reach a compromise by tonight, according to an insider briefed on the ongoing debate between liberals and moderate Democrats. Howard Dean is said to have injected the Medicare buy-in concept back into the negotiations two weeks ago, as progressive Democrats became increasingly concerned that the public option had become too watered-down to be effective.
(Read more Max Baucus stories.)