Joe Lieberman says his objections to health reform are a "matter of conscience." One thing has become clear over the last 24 hours: When it comes to his conscience, he does a lot of flip-flopping. His changing positions on the Medicare buy-in is but the latest example.
When he was running for Vice-President and as recently as three months ago, he supported the Medicare buy-in idea he’s now rejecting:
Meet Joe Lieberman, Medicare buy-in advocate. It’s the winter of 2000, and Lieberman is pressing flesh and kissing babies in Bangor, Maine as the presidential election approaches. After holding a town hall meeting with voters at Bangor’s opera house on Main Street, Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, sits down with the local paper to discuss the upcoming election and his ticket’s plan to improve the nation’s health care system by allowing some younger Americans to "buy in" to the government run program.
It’s not clear exactly when the Lieberman of 2000 turned into the Lieberman of Dec. 14, 2009, but it looks like it wasn’t too long ago. In a Sept. 8, 2009 interview with the Connecticut Post, Lieberman outlined his opposition to a public option but suggested a way coverage could be expanded without one:
…By allowing citizens who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid to buy in for a rate below the private market, the government can extend coverage to more of those who are currently uninsured, he said.
To arrive at his position, Lieberman said he reached out to "every conceivable group" in the state, including residents, providers, doctors and hospitals.
Here’s the video (h/t Greg Sargent):
And here’s a video of Joe Lieberman supporting the public option concept in 2006:
And just last week, he said, "I don’t know how anybody can decide until you see the actual language," before deciding without seeing the language yesterday:
CAVUTO: Which way you going to go on this?
LIEBERMAN: Good to be here. Well, the direct answer is, that Joe doesn’t know, because Joe doesn’t know what — nor do most other members of the Democratic Caucus — know what’s in the compromise proposals that came out of the group of 10 senators that Senator Reid sent to the Congressional Budget Office. […]
The announcement, really, is that I don’t know how anybody can decide until you see the actual language of these compromise proposals. And, on the Medicare buy-in, I have increasing concerns, as I think a lot of other colleagues in the Democratic Caucus, including some of those who were not concerned about the public option.
There is no "matter of conscience" there. So why the flip-flop? Here’s a few other things we know:
Joe Lieberman has taken $448,066 from the health insurance industry in the last 10 years, and he seems intent on giving his corporate paymasters everything they want.
We also know that Lieberman is holding up health care reform. That means that Lieberman will go to any length to make a political point against the left, even if it means killing his fellow Americans. As Ezra Klein wrote:
At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals. That is to say, he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.
As has become clear, that is the depth that Lieberman will sink to. And there’s no reason to believe he won’t go lower.
(also posted at the NOW! blog)
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