Sen. Tom Harkin has conceded that the proposed expansion of Medicare and “triggered” public option would have to be dropped to get a health care bill passed in the Senate, TPM reports, as he tried to sell liberals on the value of the provisions in the rest of the bill:
“There’s enough good in this bill that even without those two, we gotta move,” he said. “All the insurance reforms, all the stuff we wrote so hard for prevention and wellness in there, the workforce development issues that we have in there, the reimbursement based on quality not on quantity — there’s good stuff in this bill. It’s a giant step forward, changing the paradigm of health care in America.”
The Democrats are currently in a caucus meeting discussing ways to get to 60 votes. The big question is whether liberals such as Sens. Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Roland Burris and Russ Feingold will go along with the changes. To many ideological liberals, absent a government plan, legislation would merely be pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into a for-profit health care system that they see as fundamentally broken.
And that doesn’t even take into account the House progressives, whose leader already came out against the Senate compromise that included the Medicare expansion and “triggered” public option.