Medicare buy-in may be off the table

Here's yet more proof that politicians enjoy saying "no" more than "yes": Top Senate Democrats seem to have backed off of a proposal that would allow adults as young as 55 years old to buy into Medicare.

Apparently, Senate Dems are divided on the proposal, and the leadership doesn't think they can get the 60 votes they need if they push this one. This seems to be due in large part to the opposition of Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), who's opposed to the buy-in. Senate Democratic leaders decided to drop the notion before it bogged the bill down further.

The agreement to back off of a buy-in follows an earlier disappointment for liberal Dems, who were crestfallen when forced to drop a robust public option plan a week ago.

The final shoe probably will drop shortly, when the Congressional Budget Office issues a review of the Medicare concept and another allowing the federal government to negotiate with private health plans to offer national, non-profit coverage.

To get more background on the negotiations:
- read this Kaiser Health News piece

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