03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Reid: Senate Health Care Deal 'Better Than The Public Option'

The public option may be dead, but Democrats have a stronger proposal on the table, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said at a press conference Thursday.

Though Senate leadership remains relatively tight-lipped on the tentative health care deal working its way through the Congressional Budget Office, the public option is all but officially gone. Limited premium-based expansions of Medicare and Medicaid have taken its place.

So why did Democrats spend nearly a year chipping away at the public option to make it more palatable, if they weren't going to fight for it in the end? Isn't Reid frustrated to have wasted so much time?

"That would be the case, if we didn't have something better than the public option," Reid said Thursday. "So I feel very comfortable with where we are."

Though Reid praised the compromise, he didn't provide any further details about the current state of the plan. Earlier, he lambasted Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), the Democrats' long-desired dash of bipartisanship, for swinging against a Medicare buy-in proposal. Snowe's fellow health care roadblock Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) also said Thursday that he is "increasingly troubled" by the prospect of expanded Medicare rolls, even if the new patients pay premiums for coverage.

"It's hard to believe they don't like something when they don't know what's in it," Reid said.