Senate Democrats, in danger of losing the votes they need to pass health care reform, bowed to Joe Lieberman last night and acknowledged that they are ready to drop the plan to allow people over 55 to buy coverage under Medicare. That idea itself was a compromise intended to appeal to Lieberman and other senators who refused to back a bill with a public option. After a tense, 90-minute closed-door session, it looks as if both the Medicare buy-in and the diminished public option are off the table.
Lawmakers said the consensus at the meeting was that they've gone too far on health care reform to risk having the bill fail. “If you compared it to the alternative, it looks good,” Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse tells the New York Times of the ever-diminishing bill. “If you compare it to the possibilities, it looks pretty sad.” (Read more health care reform stories.)