Lieberman Throws Senate Democrats For A Loop
You know, sometimes I think Joe Lieberman does this sort of stuff just to remind his Democratic Senate colleagues about the fact that they deserted him during his last run for office in favor of Ned Lamont.
In a surprise setback for Democratic leaders, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, said on Sunday that he would vote against the health care legislation in its current form.
Of course it would be nice to know what that “current form” is, but Harry Reid and the Democrats are keeping that a secret. However, details have leaked out, and, additionally, Lieberman pretty well laid out his objections:
“You’ve got to take out the Medicare buy-in,” Mr. Lieberman said. “You’ve got to forget about the public option. You probably have to take out the Class Act, which was a whole new entitlement program that will, in future years, put us further into deficit.”
Class Act refers to a federal insurance program for long-term care, known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act.
Mr. Lieberman said he would have “a hard time” voting for a bill with the Medicare buy-in.
Of course, the removal of those three items guts the Reid compromise and it also would move the Senate version of reform further and further away from the House bill, making the ability to reconcile the two, assuming the Senate passes something, much harder.
Lieberman isn’t the only Democrat not happy with the plan. Sen Ben Nelson, an abortion foe, has reservations about the abortion provisions and is not at all a fan of the Medicare buy-in either:
Mr. Nelson said he wanted to know the cost of the Medicare buy-in. “I am concerned that it’s the forerunner of single payer, the ultimate single-payer plan, maybe even more directly than the public option,” he said.
Of course he’s absolutely correct – such a buy-in would indeed be the forerunner of a single payer system. And a single-payer system is the worst thing that could happen to this country when it comes to health care. It certainly won’t “improve it” or drive down cost (as Medicare’s unfunded trillions in future liabilities shows).
This leaves Reid with few choices, thankfully. Of course Lieberman offers his own bit of advice:
“We’ve got to stop adding to the bill. We’ve got to start subtracting some controversial things. I think the only way to get this done before Christmas is to bring in some Republicans who are open-minded on this, like Olympia Snowe.”
Senator Snowe, of Maine, has tried to find common ground with Democrats, but has rejected Mr. Reid’s proposal to let uninsured people 55 to 64 years old purchase coverage under Medicare.
Assuming Senate Democrats could put something together that would satisfy Snowe (whatever that would take would most likely also satisfy Lieberman), she would be the 60th vote (unless they were also able to satisfy Nelson, in which case she’d be 61) and make it “bi-partisan”.
Funny how Snowe is touted as “open-minded” by Lieberman when it comes to supporting and enabling a huge government takeover of a large chunk of the private sector economy. That’s a reminder to those on the right to look at Lieberman as some sort of hero that at heart he really is a liberal with a love for big government. He just wants to use this opportunity to get his version of “big government” in place, not someone else’s.
That said, I really hope he can stall this (or, hope of hopes, kill it completely) until well into the new year. The closer it gets to the 2010 election with some polls showing upwards of 60% of Americans against this legislation, the less likely we are to see it passed.