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Lieberman Refuses to Cave on Public Option

John on December 7, 2009 at 11:16 am

From the sound of this Politico story, the public option as we know it is dead:

Senate Democrats in search of a health reform compromise Sunday zeroed in on a new alternative to a government-run insurance plan â€” signaling that the chances a final bill will include a pure public option are diminishing.

The new idea — for the government to create a national health insurance plan similar to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan — seemed to gather momentum as the weekend went on, and the differences between liberals and moderates on the public option became even clearer.

The reason for this is simple. Democrats don’t have 60 votes for a public option. It sounds as if even President Obama has given up on it:

Lieberman, who is open to supporting the bill so long as it does not include a public option, noted that Obama didn’t bring up the idea: “He didn’t. I don’t think he once talked about the public option. He didn’t. That’s what I’m saying. I thought it was interesting.”

Reid, asked about the comment, responded, “The president didn’t say a lot of things. Sen. Lieberman said that to me after the meeting also, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an issue because the president didn’t talk about it.”

But Lieberman said even the benefits of health reform legislation wouldn’t outweigh his concerns about a public option enough to vote for the bill if that provision stays in.

“No!” Lieberman told reporters. “That’s exactly what I’ve been saying to my colleagues who are pushing for the public option. This bill has so much good in it, and it does so much good — it’s deficit neutral and all the rest. Why are you insisting on getting a foot in the door for single payer?

Thank you Senator Lieberman. Here’s hoping Olympia Snowe can hold out as well. Perhaps the best sign of all is that Jacob Hacker is unhappy about the compromise:

In short, the new compromise proposals are anything but. They represent calls for advocates of the public plan to eat their crumbs and be happy.

Hacker once again bashes the President for failing to get behind the public plan. I doubt this is winning him any friends in the White House.

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Category: Health & Education |

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