Theodore's World: Lieberman Resists Medicare Buy-in Plan

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December 15, 2009

Lieberman Resists Medicare Buy-in Plan

Lieberman resists Medicare buy-in plan


Risking the wrath of Democrats, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., threatened Sunday to join Republicans in opposing health care legislation if it permits uninsured individuals as young to 55 to purchase Medicare coverage.

Lieberman, whose vote is critical to the bill's prospects, expressed his opposition twice during the day: first in an interview with CBS, and more strongly later, according to Democratic officials, in a private meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Reid, who is hoping to pass the legislation by Christmas, needs 60 votes to overcome Republican objections, and has been counting on Lieberman to provide one.

But appearing on CBS, Lieberman said of the Medicare proposal, "Though I don't know exactly what's in it, from what I hear, I certainly would have a hard time voting for it because it has some of the same infirmities that the public option did.
"It will add taxpayer costs. It will add to the deficit. It's unnecessary," he added of a provision that Reid last week hailed as part of a breakthrough between liberals and moderates.

Democratic aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Lieberman later told Reid he would support a Republican-led filibuster against the bill if it contained the Medicare provision or permitted the government to sell insurance in competition with private companies.

The same aides added that Lieberman had responded differently last week when Reid asked him privately about the proposed Medicare provision. "He voiced support for the idea," said one official. Lieberman's public comments last week were also generally favorable. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they was not authorized to comment publicly.

In an interview that aired Sunday night—but was recorded last week—President Barack Obama voiced optimism about his call for sweeping legislation to expand coverage while cracking down on the insurance industry.

"I think it's going to pass out of the Senate before Christmas," he told CBS' "60 Minutes."

If Lieberman follows through on his plans, he leaves Democrats with few options as they try and pass legislation before Christmas. Most obviously, they could strip out the provisions he opposes, and hope liberals overcome their inevitable unhappiness and vote for the bill. For that approach to have any chance of success, Obama would have to lobby heavily in its favor.

The bill's supporters could turn to Republicans instead in search of support, but that is unlikely to produce a compromise in the next few days.

On CBS, Lieberman pleaded with Democrats to start subtracting expensive proposals from the overhaul, saying, "We don't need to keep adding onto the back of this horse or we're going to break the horse's back and get nothing done."

While Lieberman drew most of the attention for his comments, Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Ben Nelson of Nebraska also expressed concern about the legislation.

"I'm concerned that it's the forerunner of single-payer—the ultimate single-payer plan, maybe even more directly than the public option," Nelson said of the Medicare proposal. By single-payer, he meant national health insurance run by Washington. Unlike Lieberman, Nelson participated in negotiations last week between liberals and moderates that produced the general framework that included the Medicare provision.

Nelson also is seeking stricter abortion restrictions than are currently in the bill.

"The whole reason we're doing this bill is to bring down cost, first for the American people in health care, and secondly for the deficit," said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. "So until we get the numbers back from the Congressional Budget Office, we're all on hold."
Asked if she would vote against the bill if it raised health care costs overall, she said, "Absolutely."

In the meantime, only a few moderates have come out against the Medicare plan. But in a legislative struggle that is a game of inches, Democrats need all 60 votes in their caucus, and they don't yet have them.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell gave no indication of backing down. "With the American people as overwhelmingly opposed to this bill as they are, for the Democrats to basically, arrogantly take the position that we're going to ignore public opinion and jam this through before Christmas, I think that's really a stretch," said McConnell, R-Ky.

Wild Thing's comment.........

How the Democrats must loathe Lieberman!

Nobody wins until this disaster is killed and these scumbags are voted out of office.

MengeleCare is the RAT’s final solution for the USA and the American people. No doubts whatsoever!

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at December 15, 2009 02:49 AM


I even took the time to write to Lieberman last night asking him to VOTE NO. I've also written to a few other lefty jerkoff politicians stating my view but I doubt it will do any good. They either have to be voted out or REMOVED, period.

Posted by: cuchieddie(Enemy of the State) at December 15, 2009 07:01 AM

The bad thing is that they voted for cloture and now Heartless Harry only needs 51 votes, so even if Lieberman, Nelson and McCaskill vote NO, it still has enough steam to pass. They should have voted NO in the first place. Going to discussion was wrong. They played right into Harry's hand-didn't Mary Landrieu get like 300 million for her state for a yes vote? This burns me up!

Posted by: Lynn at December 15, 2009 08:12 AM

It's all smoke and mirrors. Even without this buy-in plan, they're going to pass it and it's still going to cost the taxpayers trillions of dollars.

Posted by: BobF at December 15, 2009 10:37 AM

Remember obama's emphatic promise during and after the election that every American would have exactly the same medical care that he and Congress have. Now they are voting to give us all a KMart quality, but Neiman Marcus priced nationalized(socialized) medical plan.

Maybe it will be delayed into 2010, an election year, and scare a few more Dems into not supporting it. Maybe a public outcry like there was when Bush wanted to support an immigration amnesty.

Posted by: TomR at December 15, 2009 10:44 AM

Don't worry Dems, you've got McCain or Snowe or both to vote in Lieberman's place.

Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2009 11:38 AM

Lieberman's such a f*cking sellout. He'll vote for this, and so will snowe and collins. So that's it I guess pack up your sh!t America we lost this fight, Right?

We, the last bastion of freedom, lost our liberty thanks to OUR OWN worthless people/politicians; and I refuse to live in a country like the one where we're headed, and considering that there is no other free country left. Well, I'll just stop there.

Posted by: JohnE PFC U.S. Army at December 15, 2009 12:43 PM

This morning he said he could support the bill if the buy out is taken out and no public option. If that is the case the house won't go for that so then there will be a battle over that.

This comes down to our elected officials are more afraid of obama than they are us. That has to change.

Posted by: Mark at December 15, 2009 02:51 PM

I'm not giving in JohnE, I'll fight the bastards until I'm dead. Since I have no immediate plans to die then those jerkoffs will hear from me constantly.And when the executions begin, I'll be there to enjoy seeing them swinging from that tall Texas oak tree. Maybe TomR knows of a good one eh Tom?

Posted by: Eddie (Enemy of the State) at December 15, 2009 05:27 PM

Eddie, I know of some oak tree groves where we can hang 'em all at onc. Group therapy.

Posted by: TomR at December 15, 2009 07:43 PM

Great comments thank you all.

Glad you wrote one of your letters Eddie.

Tom, heh heh good one.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 16, 2009 12:51 AM