According to Reuters, "Democratic Senate sources said the substitute proposal would create a non-profit plan operated by private insurers but administered by the Office of Personnel Management, which supervises health coverage for federal workers."
Except that we've been down this road before. Non-profit cooperatives are to a "robust" public option as a handshake is to a passionate kiss. As McJoan at Daily Kos points out, (citing Politico) private emails among insurance company lobbysists are declaring victory based on this outcome.
The bill without a public option is little more than a big ol' wet kiss to the insurance industry, a gift of some $600 billion and millions of new subscribers. Sure, they'll have a few more hoops to jump through to figure out how to dump people and deny their claims, but they'll still be able to do it. There are bits and pieces in the legislation that will help control costs, but without a program that expressly challenges the status quo of employer-based private insurance, it can't be called "reform."60+ percent public support is not enough to overcome corporate opposition. We may have won a few table scraps, but it looks like we've lost the most significant part of the battle. This is a failure of democratic deliberation brought about by the intervention of corporate resources --nothing more and nothing less.
If the insurance companies come out of this declaring victory, it's not reform.
This outcome was made possible because Obama himself, and even many "liberal" democrats, fundamentally believe that a world where the rich get better care than the poor is an acceptable world--one not worth the effort and risk of a foundational attack. Obama admitted such an outcome was inevitable long ago when he said the market culture of America rendered single payer inappropriate. "Obama’s case against single-payer," writes Alan Nasser, "frames health-care priorities in the language of atomic individualism. Hence, the range of possible outcomes is determined for the worse before discussion begins."