POSTED: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 10:21am
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:25pm
Debate resumes after developments on the public option and abortion...
Democrats hailed it as a breakthrough.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "We have a broad agreement."
The deal announced last night would replace the public option in the senate measure.
Instead private insurers would administer a national health care plan overseen by the same agency that runs lawmakers' benefits.
The deal would also expand Medicare to Americans starting at age 55.
Is the end of the Senate debate in sight?
Senator Reid said, "The answer is yes."
Senators did reject a bid to limit insurance coverage of abortion.
Two Democrats helped sponsor it.
Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson said, "The reality is tax payers supported federal dollars would help buy insurance coverage that includes covering abortion."
The amendment sparked emotional debate.
Kansas Senator Sam Brownback said, "Forcing federally funding abortion is fiscally irresponsible and morally indefensible."
California Senator Dianne Feinstein said. "I believe this amendment would be a harsh and unnecessary step back in health coverage for American women."
Ultimately the amendment failed.
Both Maine Republicans, both women, helped to block it.
Democrat Ben Nelson did not rule out supporting the final bill.