Sunday, June 14, 2009

Senator Lieberman Sides With the Health Insurers

The Hill reports:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said this weekend that he opposes a public option plan for consumers in a healthcare reform plan to emerge from the Senate.

"I don't favor a public option," Lieberman told Bloomberg News in an interview broadcast this weekend. And I don't favor a public option because I think there's plenty of competition in the private insurance market."

Lieberman's decision joins several other centrist Democrats' decision to have publicly refused to back the plan, derided as a "government-run" plan by Republicans.

Centrist Democrats like Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) have also been skittish to back the public option, which is favored by liberal Democrats and the Obama administration. If Republicans are able to pick off enough Democrats, they may be able to muster enough votes to filibuster any legislation that includes the public option.

"We have a unique opportunity, a real opportunity to do this year what we've been trying to do for years, which is to reform American healthcare," Lieberman said. "I think the one thing that will stop that is pressure on the so-called public option."

"Let's get something done instead of having a debate," the Connecticut Independent added.

The line I've always heard about Lieberman is that even though he's become a complete neoconservative-apologist on foreign policy issues, that he's a steady progressive on domestic issues. If he's willing to thumb his nose at the majority of the American people who want a shot at real universal healthcare like this, he certainly doesn't merit the progressive or even moderate label to me.