Senate Dems weigh dropping Medicare expansion

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2009 6:52 PM

Senate Democrats say they may jettison a proposed Medicare expansion from health care legislation they are eager to pass before Christmas.

Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, emerging from a closed door meeting, said Monday the move is probably necessary to pass the bill.

Under a tentative agreement worked out last week among Senate liberals and moderates, uninsured men and women beginning at age 55 would be permitted to purchase coverage from Medicare. They would be required to pay higher rates than is charged to beneficiaries age 65 and up.

But Connecticut's independent Sen. Joe Lieberman threatened over the weekend to oppose the legislation if the Medicare provision is included, and several Democrats have also expressed concern about it.