Lieberman Threatens To Filibuster Medicare Buy-In, As New Video Surfaces Showing Him Endorsing It

by on Monday, December 14, 2009 at 6:51 pm in Healthcare, Politics

I discovered this video (courtesy of the Connecticut Post) via Digby, originating back to Greg Sargent.  Hopefully, it will continue to make its way throughout the net roots.  Pass it on! In the video — shot just three months ago on September 8, 2009 — Joe Lieberman explains his support for a Medicare buy-in.

The interviewer asks him, “Why do you now, in 2009, oppose a public option after for so long supporting it?”   Here’s a transcript of Joe Lieberman’s response:

“I didn’t really support a public option in the way that it’s being recommended now.  In other words, what’s being recommended now is a separate new government run health-insurance plan.  What I supported then, and um … thanks for mentioning this, because it points out for some period of years I’ve been concerned about health care reform and devoted to doing something about health care reform, and trying to figure out how to best cover with insurance, people who are uncovered.

So what I did — and here’s the difference — my proposals um … were to ah … basically expand the existing successful public health insurance programs, Medicare and Medicaid.  In the case of Medicaid, to allow people who were above the eligibility level to buy into the Medicaid system on the theory that it would be — up to a certain income level — a theory they’d be able to buy into it at less than the market rate of health insurance.

When it came to Medicare I was very focused on a group — post 50, maybe more like post 55 — people who have retired early or have unfortunately been laid off early, who lose their health insurance and they’re too young to qualify for Medicare, and what I was proposing was that they have an option to buy into Medicare early and again on the premise that that would be less expensive than the enormous cost — if you’re 55 or 60 and you’re without health insurance and you go into to try to buy it, because you’re older — although to me still young and vital — you’re rated as being; you’re rated as a risk, so you pay a lot of money.”

Here’s the actual video:

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Joe Lieberman just articulated the merits of the EXACT bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just put together — now being scored at the Congressional Budget Office — which includes a Medicare buy-in for those over 55.

And guess what?  Just yesterday, the Huffington Post reported that Joe Lieberman told Harry Reid to his face that he would filibuster any bill that includes a public option OR a Medicare buy-in:

Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) informed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a face-to-face meeting on Sunday that he will vote against a health care bill that includes a public option or a provision that would expand Medicare, a Democratic Senate aide tells the Huffington Post. […]

Lieberman punctuated the discussion by telling the majority leader directly that he will vote against the bill if the Medicare buy-in and public option provisions remain in it. Roll Call reports that Lieberman said he would also support a Republican filibuster of legislation that included these provisions.

And today, Huffington Post reports, that Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel demanded that Reid bend over for Joe Lieberman and pull the public-option and the Medicare buy-in out of the bill:

Rahm Emanuel visited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his Capitol office on Sunday evening and personally urged him to cut a deal with recalcitrant Sen. Joe Lieberman, two Democratic sources familiar with the situation said.

Emanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff, has long been identified as leading a faction of White House advisers who have been pushing the Senate simply to pass any health care bill, no matter how weak.

His direct message to Reid (D-Nev.), according to a source close to the negotiations: “Get it done. Just get it done.”

As if we required any evidence that Joe Lieberman was nothing, but an unprincipled, dishonest, insurance industry ‘fuck-boy’ — we now have the actual proof to be aired over and over again in his home state of Connecticut.

Senator Reid,

It’s time to give Rahm Emanuel the finger, pursue reconciliation with a Medicare Buy-In For All, AND it’s time to strip Joe Lieberman of all his committee chairs.  After this video goes viral, anything short of that will make you look weak and spineless.

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