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December 14th, 2009
09:17 PM ET

Senate Democrats moving towards dropping Medicare buy-in

Dana Bash and Ted Barrett
CNN Capitol Hill Team

Two senior Democratic sources tell CNN senate Democrats are headed towards dropping the compromise idea to allow 55 to 64 year-olds to buy into Medicare because of opposition from Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman.

"It’s what the White House wants and there aren’t many other options that allow us to finish by Christmas," said one source.

Senate Democrats had an emergency meeting Monday night to discuss this issue, which threatens to derail health care.

Although a final decision was not made at Monday night’s meeting, a second Democratic source said it’s likely a final decision could be made at meeting Tuesday of all Democrats with the President at the White House.

“I think there is a fundamental understanding of the direction we’re going in, “said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Before the meeting, liberal senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia indicated that the so-called Medicare buy-in would likely be dropped, and while they didn’t like that, they suggested they would support a health care bill anyway.

"If he (Lieberman) is absolutely opposed to it, it looks like we won't have it," said Harkin.

"There is still good stuff in this bill for changing the paradigm of health care in America," he said.

“Democracy isn’t written to say that you get exactly a perfect system, “ said Rockefeller. “I mean, we are where we are. That’s the ultimate bottom line.”

The Medicare buy-in concept was intended to appease liberals upset that Democratic leaders were dropping a public option.

But that ran into a wall Sunday when Lieberman said he would support a GOP filibuster to block health care if the Medicare provision was in the bill.


Filed under: Dana Bash • Raw Politics • Ted Barrett
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Cindy

    Like I've always said the dems will do anything to get this horrible bill passed.

    Cindy..Ga.

    December 14, 2009 at 9:24 pm |