Report: Senate Democrats drop the public option

In favor of what, you ask? Good question. They’re not saying until CBO scores the plan, but it’s safe to assume that the Medicare “compromise” will figure into it. The details aren’t important right now anyway. Just know that, in the span of about five hours, Reid and company have set up not one but two separate death struggles with their pals in the House.

A thumbnail sketch from Politico:

The broad outlines of the deal had been discussed for days and would include creating a new national health plan administered by the federal government that would offer insurance policies offered by private companies…

By Tuesday evening, the group was no longer considering opening Medicaid to people with incomes 150 percent above the poverty line. It faded as a realistic option amid concerns among moderates and many governors that it would put too much of a burden on state governments, which pick up a portion of the coverage costs.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who is still being wooed by Democrats, expressed strong skepticism toward another key element, the expansion of Medicare to people between 55 and 64. She said she was concerned the bill would rely too much on government to fill gaps in insurance coverage that the private sector should handle…

The Medicaid expansion was viewed as a trade-off for liberals who were disappointed that the public option was falling out of the bill. An expansion of Medicare is still under serious consideration because it’s easier to manage the costs by controlling who can “buy in” to the program.

House liberals Jerrold Nadler and Jan Schakowsky promised lefty Greg Sargent earlier today that they wouldn’t roll over for the Senate and were skeptical of the compromise plans coming out of there. Quoth Nadler: “The House is not going to be dictated to.” Exit question one: Which side caves? Exit question two: On a scale of one to 10, how fiery will nutroots outrage at the Senate’s betrayal be tomorrow?