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Pelosi backs Medicare buy-in plan in Senate healthcare deal

Washington Post, December 11, 2009

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed a proposal Thursday that would allow people in late middle age to buy insurance through Medicare, helping to sustain an idea that sprang unexpectedly from the Senate this week. But the California Democrat reiterated that she would prefer to create government-sponsored coverage for Americans of all ages, and questions linger in the Senate about the politics and policy of expanding Medicare by allowing people ages 55 to 64 to buy into the federal insurance program for the elderly. The speaker stopped short of embracing the broader contours of a fragile compromise worked out by liberal and moderate Senate negotiators in an effort to nudge forward broad changes to the healthcare system. Still, she said: "There's certainly a great deal of appeal" to expanding Medicare.