WASHINGTON (CN) - After meeting behind closed doors with Democratic senators Tuesday, President Barack Obama said he was "cautiously optimistic" about progress of the health care bill, but did not repeat predictions that it would pass the Senate before Christmas.
"It's clear that we are on the precipice of an achievement that's eluded Congresses and Presidents for generations, Obama said, "an achievement that will touch the lives of nearly every American."
He added, however, "There are still disagreements that have to be ironed out,"
The meeting follows criticism of the health bill from key senators like Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, and from Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson.
Independents, who are components of the Democratic caucus, were also invited to the meeting.
Lieberman threatened Sunday to join Republicans in defeating the health bill, citing a contentious Medicare buy-in for people between the ages of 55 and 64. Democrats have since announced they may drop the measure and Lieberman has announced that he is more open to voting for the bill.
Nelson criticized the Medicare buy-in as a forerunner to a single-payer health care system like that in France.
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