Senate Democrats have worked out a tentative compromise that would nix the public option in favor of a national nonprofit plan and an expansion of Medicare. Sens. Russ Feingold and Bernie Sanders, strong public option supporters, could spoil the deal, but they’re likelier to support overall reform than their conservative colleagues. These include Joe Lieberman, who flatly refused to vote for any bill containing a public option.

It’s important to remember that the anemic version of the public option in the Senate bill was already weakened in an effort to appeal to moderate and conservative Democrats, too many of whose campaigns are coincidentally recipients of health industry largesse.

The government plan would cover less than 1.5 percent of the population, and states would be able to opt out of the program. — PZS

Los Angeles Times:

Under the compromise developed by a group of conservative and liberal Democrats, the Senate legislation would no longer include a new government-run insurance program, or “public option,” for Americans who do not get coverage through their employers.

Instead, the government would essentially contract with a nonprofit insurer to provide a nationwide plan that would serve as the public option, according to officials briefed on the discussions. Combined with a vote earlier in the day that rejected efforts to tighten restrictions on public money for abortion, the compromise kept the Senate moving toward Reid’s goal of voting on the healthcare bill before Christmas.

Read more

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig