Landrieu, Lincoln: No Final Public Option Deal Until CBO Weighs In

U. S. Senate Photographic Studio-John Klemmer

Health care negotiators have not yet sealed the deal to remove the opt out public option from the Senate bill. Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA)–two health care swing votes who helped negotiate a bourgeoning compromise on the public option–said much still depends on what the CBO concludes about the menu of alternatives sent their way.

Lincoln was reluctant to describe last night’s news as a deal.

“There was no compromise,” Lincoln corrected, refusing to weigh in on the broad outline on the table. “There were a lot of ideas, where there was consensus that we needed more information to move forward.”Landrieu was more forthcoming. Regarding the proposal to allow people between the ages of 55 and 64 to be insured by Medicare, she said, “it’s just one of the ideas that we as a group–again, we don’t speak for the entire senate, we represent different viewpoints–but that might be, again, something that should be considered. But because we don’t have a score, we can’t tell.”

“There are a lot of small business people who are between the ages of 55 and 64,” Landrieu said.

“We, all 10 of us, think that’s a very good idea, given our negotiations,” Landrieu noted. “But until we get a score, nothing will be settled.”

“We actually think some of the things we did might save money, and we can use that money to expand, she went on.”

Sen. Russ Feingold is also saying he’s waiting for the CBO to weigh in.