In the few days since the supposed Gang of Ten compromise was reached the one with the Medicare buy-in for 55- to 64-year-olds, private national plans similar to the ones federal employees use, and the trigger for a public option it’s become increasingly clear that an agreement among 60 warm bodies in the Senate might be more difficult to attain than it initially seemed. Gettable Republican Olympia Snowe said she won’t vote for the bill because of the Medicare buy-in. Joe Lieberman, who threatened to filibuster any bill with a public option, says he still plans to do so for one with a public-option trigger.
Even some liberal Democrats are uneasy about Medicare’s low reimbursement rates to doctors and the solvency of the program. And it doesn’t help the plan’s prospects when the Times reports that actually buying into Medicare will be pretty expensive — $7,600 for individuals before subsidies become available in 2014. AARP leadership is also expressing doubts about the attractiveness of a Medicare buy-in. So what’s going to come of the “deal”? Everyone seems to be waiting on the Congressional Budget Office analysis, which should be completed by next week. If the numbers aren’t good, Harry Reid is going to need a big hug.