A First Look At The “Compromise”

The 10 Democratic senators working to find an acceptable middle ground to resolve the controversy over the government plan option have said publicly they haven’t reached an agreement yet.  They’ve simply developed some concepts they’ve sent to the Congressional Budget Office for scoring.

That hasn’t stopped the media, though, from declaring that Senate Democrats have decided to drop the government option and replace it with a compromise approach that includes an expansion of Medicare, allowing 55 to 64 year olds to buy into the program.

It doesn’t appear clear, though, that everyone has gotten the memo that this is supposed to be a compromise that is more appealing to centrists.

From syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne“If the program worked, over time, the age at which people could buy into Medicare might be dropped to 50, then to 45, and so on.  Before long, the Medicare buy-in could become the public option.”

From a New York congressman“Extending this successful program to those between 55 and 64…would be the largest expansion of Medicare in 44 years and would perhaps get us on the path to a single payer model.”

And from today’s Washington Post editorial page“Once 55-year-olds are in, they are not likely to be kicked out, and the pressure will be on to expand the program to make more people eligible.”

For those members of Congress who see the government plan option as an unacceptable expansion of government into the healthcare marketplace, it’s difficult to see how this “compromise” represents a significant improvement.