Senate Group of 6 Moves Health Reform to the Center

Dems' priorities fall by the wayside
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 28, 2009 8:46 AM CDT
U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, talks about health care reform during an interview at the Associated Press bureau in Portland, Maine, on Monday, June 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)
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(Newser) – The bipartisan group of senators who've been hammering out their own health reform plan, led by Montana’s Max Baucus, are close to a compromise that leaves out key pillars of the Obama-backed plan, including the government insurance option to compete with private plans and the mandate that employers offer insurance, the New York Times reports. The three Democrats and three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee are calling for a network of “private, non-profit cooperatives” as an alternative to a government option.

The group has also dumped a House Democratic proposal to use an income surtax on high earners to defray some of the bill’s cost. Republicans want any new taxes to be tied to health care; Dems have suggested taxing insurance plans valued above $25,000. Also likely to be included in any deal is  a commission charged with slowing the growth of Medicare, the AP reports.