The Associated Press is reporting that Senate Democrats have reached a tentative deal that would drop the so-called public option.
Although they have not yet announced details, reports in recent days have centered on a pact that would have the entity that runs the federal employee health care system oversee the creation of privately administered non-profit plans that would be offered on the new government exchanges. In return for giving up the public option, liberals would be rewarded with a plan to expand Medicare to those age 55 and over, and to expand Medicaid eligibility to 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
The new proposal would have to be evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office.
UPDATE: Brian Beutler reports that the deal still leaves open the possibility of a “triggered” public option, and that the Medicare expansion would be begin in 2011. While there would be no subsidies for the first three years, after 2014, Medicare would be offered on the exchanges to those over 55, who would be able to use the subsidies already created by the bill to pay for it. And, according to Beutler, Medicaid would not be expanded to 150 percent of the federal poverty level.