Democratic moderates, uneasy with Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) choice of a public insurance option even though it includes an opt-out provision for states that do not want to participate, are looking for an alternative that can garner the 60 votes needed for passage. The public option offered by Reid is strongly opposed by all 40 Republicans.
Carper described Thursday's meeting as productive.
"Among the concerns that centrists have expressed are concerns about an alternative that might be government-run or government-funded, and we had an opportunity to drill down on both of those concerns," Carper said.
Among those who attended all or part of the meeting were Democratic Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska); Kay Hagan (N.C.); Mary Landrieu (La.); Blanche Lincoln (Ark.); Ben Nelson (Neb.); Mark Pryor (Ark.); Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.); Arlen Specter (Pa.); and Mark Warner (Va.).
You know what? That is a lot of Democratic Senators attending this "let's kill the Public Option" meeting. It is also a nice illustration of the way being a Senate moderate works: saying "I can't support this because others might not support it because of the fact that they might not support it."
At Reid's urging, various senators have begun exploring alternatives for a public plan that could pass muster with the centrists, and some lawmakers are starting to examine other ways to achieve the same goals of greater competition, better coverage and lower prices. But as the negotiations unfold, liberal Democrats say they are growing increasingly realistic in their expectations.
This means they have already conceded. If they can convince the vile "moderates" to grant them a more subsidies they will drop their insistence on a government insurance program that can actually cover or negotiate with anyone.