In a front-page article in today’s Washington Post, Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery report that Senate Democrats are satisfied with the recent health-care consensus announced by Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.):
Senate Democrats on Wednesday largely embraced a compromise that dropped a “public option” from health-care legislation, setting aside their concerns about aspects of the consensus plan in the hopes that the deal hatched by negotiators would serve as a rallying point in their push for the passage of reforms.
A senior Senate aide tells us that this report was fueled by a lot of “disinformation” from Reid.
“There is no deal yet and we’re nowhere near one,” says the aide. “Reid is leading a psych-ops campaign out of his leadership office to make people believe there is a deal. Here’s the real story: When Reid came out of conference, only options emerged, not a consensus. Instead of acknowledging this, he’s trying to create a sense of inevitability.”
“There are still two major problems for Reid,” says the aide. “One is the potential trigger in the Office of Personnel Management expansion. That would be a non-starter with at least one member. Two, Reid has problems with his Medicare buy-in idea, since it has not been fully defined to all members. We don’t know whether it will be a temporary program or a permanent Medicare buy-in program. And if premiums can’t sustain the program, will taxpayers be liable? No one knows. It’s being described as something that would be walled-off from Medicare, but there are many lingering liability questions that have yet to be answered.”