Yeah, sure. Of course he would!
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told reporters today that he would in fact filibuster any health care bill he doesn’t agree with–and right now, he doesn’t agree with the public option proposal making its way through the Senate.
“I told Senator Reid that I’m strongly inclined–i haven’t totally decided, but I’m strongly inclined–to vote to proceed to the health care debate, even though I don’t support the bill that he’s bringing together because it’s important that we start the debate on health care reform because I want to vote for health care reform this year. But I also told him that if the bill remains what it is now, I will not be able to support a cloture motion before final passage. Therefore I will try to stop the passage of the bill.”
You want to know how much Lieberman has been off my radar for the last few months? I was actually shocked by this. Hell, I’m shocked by how shocked I am about this! Being shocked by Lieberman’s dickishness is like saying “Keith Richards did drugs?”
“I think a lot of people may think that the public option is free. It’s not. It’s going to cost the taxpayers and people who have health insurance now, and if it doesn’t it’s going to add terribly to the national debt…there’s so much in this health reform legislation that is so good, that I think they’re just putting an unnecessary burden on top of it by creating another Washington-based entitlement program.”
This is at great odds with the findings of most experts, who say that, by bringing efficiencies into the greater insurance market, and therefore lowering the government’s subsidy burden, a public option will actually save money.
I asked him to square his rationale with the experts consensus, but he was undeterred. “Well all the history we have of health entitlement programs, including the two big ones that I dearly support, Medicare and Medicaid, is that they end up costing more than we’re prepared to pay, and they add to the debt, and then they add to the burden on taxpayers.”
As written, congressional health care legislation would require the public option–whether administered by a government, or by an outside body–would be financed by premiums, and unable to draw on federal funds.
So, he’s objecting to the public option for running up the deficit in spite of the fact that it doesn’t? That’s like me saying that I’m breaking up with Paris Hilton for not putting out.
Needless to say, I put in a call to both Sen. Wyden and Merkley this afternoon requesting that they put pressure on Harry Reid by threatening to strip him of his Committee Chairmanships if he joins a filibuster. Considering that Reid may have used up his yearly allotment of spine to put a public option in the senate bill in the first place, I’m going to have to call the White House and ask Obama to step in directly. I know what you’re going to say, he’s playing some super secret 3D chess-soft power-from the bottom up strategy and we shouldn’t mess with that.
My response? Sometimes, you have to grab a 2 by 4 and make like Joe Don Baker in “Walking Tall”.
And if Obama is not willing to take that step…we’ll have to re-evaluate how much he really wants a public option.