The deal Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) cut with Senate leaders to secure his vote on healthcare reform will probably be stripped from the final bill, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) said today.

Nelson managed to insert a provision guaranteeing that the federal goverment would permanently pay the cost of Medicaid expansion for Nebraska. Other states get that funding for only three years.

Feingold told constituents in Rhinelander, Wis., today that Nelson's provision will probably be stripped.

"“Well, whether that provision was legal or illegal, it shouldn’t have been done,” Feingold said, referring to the lawsuit being brought by a number of state attorneys general. "I understand that Sen. Ben Nelson has already indicated he knows he’s probably not going to get it in the end. I think it’s going to get stripped from the bill."

But in a bit of good news for Nelson, Feingold said he expects the Nebraskan's abortion language to remain in the legislation. Nelson held out for a provision restricting the use of federal funds for abortion coverage.

"“I suspect (the language sponsored by Nelson) will be in the (final version of the) bill, and I will support it again that way,” Feingold said.

Public option? Not so much:

“I would much prefer that there would be a ‘public option,’ but there wasn’t one in the Senate bill,” said Feingold. “I’d be pleased if somehow that got in, but I understand that’s not real likely.”