A group of 5 moderate and 5 liberal Democrats tasked by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to reach a compromise on health care legislation has struck an agreement removing the public option from the bill. Instead, the bill will empower the government’s Office of Personnel Management to put in place a privately run low cost national health plan. The OPM already administers the plans offered to members of Congress and other federal employees. This plan would be available on the “insurance exchange” created by the bill.
The group of ten also agreed to extend Medicare to cover people from the ages of 55 to 64 who do not receive health benefits from their employers.
Republicans in the Senate, who uniformly oppose a public option, are now criticizing Democrats for removing it.