Medicare plan collapses as Senate struggles for compromise on reform

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Medicare plan collapses as Senate struggles for compromise on reform
Medicare plan collapses as Senate struggles for compromise on reform

A proposal to expand Medicare enrollment to adults aged 55 and older fell apart barely a week after it was first introduced in the Senate healthcare reform debate. That has been one compromise as Democrats work to pass the bill before the Christmas deadline.

The Medicare Buy-In plan, as it came to be known, would have allowed those aged 55 to 64 without health insurance to purchase Medicare plans. The proposal emerged late last Tuesday as a compromise with liberals for the Senate having dropped a public option from its bill. In a contentious meeting Monday night, Senate moderates effectively killed the proposal.

Many on Capital Hill are assigning blame for this latest compromise defeat to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CN). Lieberman, as recently as a week-and-a-half ago, had signaled his support for the Medicare Buy-In plan, only to withdraw his approval at the last minute, according to Roll Call. Lieberman was also instrumental in defeating the public option in the Senate. So far, the long-term care insurance proposal, which has encountered resistance, is still in the healthcare reform package.