In a classic have-it-both-ways-moment, Senator Reid has been selling the media and the public the following story line: in a breakthrough deal we took out the public option, but its not dead.
Uh, huh. The deal that was supposed to buy off Senator Lieberman's opposition to any form of a public option, did not kill the public option. So, if you don't kill the public option, how do you get Senator Lieberman's vote?
Perhaps if we look a the details of the Senator Reid's "deal" we can understand it better. The New York Times, said this morning that "Mr. Reid refused to provide details" about this widely reported, alleged breakthrough.
Senator Reid has a deal -- trust him -- he just cannot tell you about it. Why can't Senator Reid provide details? Because according to Senator Lieberman, "there is no legislative language." Senator Lieberman said this morning:
"My opposition to a government-run insurance option, including any option with a trigger, has been clear for months and remains my position today.
“Regarding the ‘Medicare buy-in’ proposal that is being discussed, we must remain vigilant about protecting and extending the solvency of the program, which is now in a perilous financial condition.
“It is my understanding that at this point there is no legislative language so I look forward to analyzing the details of the plan and reviewing analysis from the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.”
This does not sound like a guy ready to sign on the dotted line.
The Reid "deal" has no legislative language and the one Senator who the deal is supposed to placate is instead using phrases like being "vigilant about protecting and extending the solvency" of Medicare and that he is going to read the fine print -- when it exists. In other words, Senator Lieberman is not supporting the Reid vapor deal.
If Senator Lieberman does not buy the vapor deal once he reads the fine print, then Senator Snowe is unlikely to save Senator Reid -- since her concerns center around expanding Medicare and expanding the government's involvement in health care.
And what are two of the other Dem Senators whose votes are in play saying? The Hill reports:
“Two centrist Democrats at the center of the Senate’s tense healthcare reform negotiations insisted that there has been no compromise deal on the legislation despite Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) pronouncements.
“There’s no specific compromise. There were discussions,” Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said at a press conference Wednesday.
“According to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), sending the bill to the CBO was about all the 10 senators agree to do. “We got to a point where we couldn’t go any further until we got scores,” she said. “There are a lot of things on the table still and until, you know, we hear back from CBO it’s going to be hard to see whatever I can support, for sure.”
Finally, the last point of execution of any “deal” Senator Reid puts on paper is to get the 60 votes needed to take out the public option to get Senator Lieberman's vote — and therein lies the rub, if you are a liberal, you will have to vote to kill the public option.
"Lieberman is already whining about the trigger that is included. Providers--including hospitals, doctors, and insurers- and rural state senators, including Conrad and Dorgan, are raising hell about the buy-in, arguing that "Medicare’s lower reimbursement rates would shift costs to private payers and disadvantage hospitals in rural districts."