Health Care Deal?

Democrats in the Senate announced last night that they had struck a deal on a health care bill which could allow for approval of a bill before Christmas.  But they offered almost no details of the agreement.

Yep, you read that right.

"We can't disclose the details of what we've done, but believe me, it's something good," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the hallway just outside the Senate chamber.

Reid though tried to shoot down reports that the tentative deal does away with the controversial public insurance option.

"It's not true, okay?  Everyone understand that," Reid said flatly.

But that wasn't stopping my colleagues from filing stories that contradicted the Nevada Democrat, as news reports indicated the public option was dead, to be replaced by other items, like opening up Medicare ten years early at age 55 for the uninsured.

What else is in the deal?

"You're not going to get answers to those questions," Reid said sternly.

So there you have it.  A deal hatched behind closed doors by ten Democratic Senators that seems to have some major differences to the bill unveiled before Thanksgiving.

But no one was talking last night.

The details get shipped over to the Congressional Budget Office today, so budget analysts can figure out how much it would cost, how it would affect the uninsured and more.

How long will we wait for that?  No one was quite sure.

Will this be the basis for final action in the Senate on health care?  'Maybe' is about the answer I can come up with.

This could certainly pave the way for final action.  Then again, it could fall apart as Democrats in the House and Senate learn more about it, one reason it's all under wraps.

Something tells me these changes aren't going to be just five or ten pages of legislative legalese, so stay tuned.