The New York Times is reporting this evening that Senate leaders are in talks to radically alter the public option.
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said on Tuesday night that he had reached “a broad agreement” among a group of 10 Democrats who have been working to resolve the dispute over a proposed government-run insurance plan that has posed perhaps the biggest obstacle to major health care legislation.
Mr. Reid refused to provide details, saying only that the group of 10 senators – five liberals and five centrists – would be sending proposals to the Congressional Budget Office for analysis. The broader Senate Democratic caucus appeared to be in a state of confusion with even some senior party leaders saying they were unaware of any agreement.
But Democratic aides said that the group had tentatively agreed on a proposal that would replace a government-run health care plan with a menu of new national, privately-run insurance plans modeled after the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, which covers more than eight million federal workers, including members of Congress, and their dependents.
This is bad news for America. There is broad support for the public option among the public. Senator Harry Reid and the other leaders are caving to the for-profit health insurance industry.