Though specifics were not shared, certain planks of a legislative package began. Lawmakers said that a proposal to replace the national public insurance option now in the Senate's bill with a measure that would allow the Office of Personnel Management to oversee private payers in a program modeled on the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program is part of it.
Another measure that would allow older Americans ages 55 to 64 to buy into Medicare also gained traction.
Reid said the package was sent to the Congressional Budget Office.
The pivotal CBO is charged by Congress to deliver a thorough financial assessment of any piece of legislation, offering an all-important price tag—or score—throughout the process.
But Landrieu and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), both part of the negotiating team, said that they were still unconvinced and would wait for the CBO numbers to come back before they would commit.
“We got the point where we couldn't go any further until we got CBO scores,” Lincoln said. “So all the different ideas and things that were on the table, in order to move to something that was more final, we couldn't get to without CBO scores.”
Both Landrieu and Lincoln have, at times, been on the legislative fence when it comes to the Senate's health reform package. Both senators held out to the very last possible minute before voting to simply advance the bill—and both remain coy about their future vote.
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), in a statement sent to reporters, also showed some measure of hesitation. “While I appreciate the willingness of all parties to engage in good-faith discussions, I do not support proposals that would replace the public option in the bill with a purely private approach,” he said.
Their comments were made during a Capitol Hill news conference touting a number of changes they hoped to make to the reform bill that would benefit small business owners.
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