WASHINGTON — The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, said Tuesday night that he and a group of 10 Democratic senators had reached “a broad agreement” to resolve a dispute over a proposed government-run health insurance plan, which has posed the biggest obstacle to passage of sweeping health care legislation.
Under the agreement, people ages 55 to 64 could “buy in” to Medicare. And a federal agency, the Office of Personnel Management, would negotiate with insurance companies to offer national health benefit plans, similar to those offered to federal employees, including members of Congress.
If these private plans did not meet certain goals for making affordable coverage available to all Americans, Senate Democratic aides said, then the government itself would offer a new insurance plan, somewhat like the “public option” in the bill Mr. Reid unveiled three weeks ago.
In announcing the agreement, Mr. Reid was apparently trying to create a sense of momentum for the health care legislation, which has been on the Senate floor for nine days, with no immediate end in sight.
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