AP Special Correspondent – 20 mins ago
Abortion opponents failed to inject tougher restrictions into sweeping Senate health care legislation Tuesday, and Democratic leaders labored to make sure fallout from the controversy wouldn't hinder the drive to pass President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.
The public clash over abortion took place as Democrats, in daylong private talks in the Capitol, appeared ready to scuttle plans for a government-run insurance option that liberals have long sought.
A potential alternative was taking shape, several officials said, including a private insurance arrangement to be supervised by the federal agency that oversees the system through which lawmakers purchase coverage. Additionally, Medicare would be opened up to uninsured Americans beginning at age 55, a significant expansion of the large government health care program that currently serves the over-65 population.