The end game at hand, Senate Democrats appeared ready to jettison a proposed Medicare expansion from historic health care legislation Monday in hopes of assuring Christmas-week passage of the bill to extend coverage to tens of millions. . . .
Liberals sought the Medicare expansion as a last-minute substitute for a full-blown, government-run insurance program that moderates earlier insisted be jettisoned. But it drew strong opposition from Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and quieter concerns from a dozen Democrats — all of whose votes are essential for Democrats to overcome implacable Republican opposition. . . .
Reid did not say flatly that Democrats had decided to drop the proposal for uninsured Americans as young as 55 to purchase coverage under Medicare. But several senators said it appeared inevitable, and liberals sounded resigned to it. "I want to see health care reform," Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said. . .
Disputes over abortion and the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries also flared as the Senate entered a third week of debate on the legislation.
Be worried when they try to sneak through a last minute draft of an unread, unreviewed, untested secret plan on Christmas Eve.
And, for the record, another week of behind-closed-doors secret negotiations among a subset of one party and its favored lobbyists is not the "third week of debate on the legislation". In fact, there has not been hearings and debate on the issue in the traditional sense.