AP is reporting that Senate Democrats have reached a deal to drop the public option:
Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to provide any details at a mid-evening news conference where he told reporters a “broad agreement” had been reached between liberals and moderates on the controversial issue.
With it, he said, the end is in sight for passage of the legislation that Congress has labored over for months.
In place of a government-run plan, originally designed as a way of forcing competition on private industry, officials said the Democrats had tentatively settled on a private insurance arrangement to be supervised by the federal agency that oversees the system through which lawmakers purchase coverage. Additionally, the tentative deal calls for Medicare to be opened to uninsured Americans beginning at age 55, a significant expansion of the large government health care program that currently serves the 65-and-over population.