Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 24, 2009

LIEBERMAN COWERS IN THE FACE OF CRISIS.... The conventional wisdom is that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) of Connecticut is willing to stand with the Democratic caucus on everything except national security issues. He continues to prove, however, that this isn't true at all.

Yesterday, appearing on CNN, Lieberman said comprehensive health care reform would be nice, but when it comes to coverage to the tens of millions of Americans with no insurance, he'd like to push the issue off -- until some undetermined point in the future.

"[W]e're in a recession. People are very worried about their jobs, about the economic future. They've watched us add to the debt of this country.... Let's talk about how to change the way health care is delivered. Let's talk about protecting people from not getting insurance because of preexisting illness. Let's take off the caps on the amount of insurance coverage you can get over the years. Let's pay for preventive services for health from the first dollar. Here's the tough one. We morally, every one of us, would like to cover every American with health insurance. But that's where you spend most of the $1 trillion plus, a little less that is estimated, the estimate said this health care plan will cost.

"And I'm afraid we've got to think about putting a lot of that off until the economy's out of recession. There's no reason we have to do it all now, but we do have to get started. And I think the place to start is cost health delivery reform and insurance market reforms."

In other words, lawmakers can pass popular consumer protections for those who already have insurance. But if you have no coverage, and your family is one serious illness away from financial ruin, Lieberman wants you to be patient. The politicians will get to you eventually. Maybe after premiums continue to soar and the ranks of the uninsured swell even more, the economy will improve and Lieberman will discover his spine.

I kept waiting for Lieberman to explain why the recession necessarily means the tens of millions of Americans with no coverage should have to wait. He didn't. Apparently it has something to do with the deficit, which he misstated by $200 billion, and which doesn't make sense since reform must be deficit neutral anyway.

Lieberman did add, however, that if Senate Democrats tried to pass reform through reconciliation, it would be a "real mistake," for "the system" and "the Obama presidency."

And why would it be a "real mistake" for legislation to pass, simply because a majority of the Senate voted for it? Lieberman didn't say.

Over the weekend, President Obama said, "[I]f we pass health insurance reform, we will look back many years from now and say, this was the moment we summoned what's best in each of us to make life better for all of us.... This was the moment we earned our place alongside the greatest generations. And that is what our generation of Americans is called to do right now."

For some, that call is louder than for others.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (29)

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In other words, lawmakers can pass popular consumer protections for those who already have insurance. But if you have no coverage, and your family is one serious illness away from financial ruin, Lieberman wants you to be patient.

Sounds like rationing to me. Oh, and Lieberman is a fart.

Posted by: beep52 on August 24, 2009 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

The average cost of employer-sponsored family health care plans - 2000: $6,770

The average cost of employer-sponsored family health care plans - 2003: $9,200

The average cost of employer-sponsored family health care plans - 2008: $12,298

The average cost of employer-sponsored family health care plans - 2020 (est.): $23,842

(Source: Commonwealth Fund 8/23/09)

and joe l. wants to wait..

LOL....

Posted by: mr. irony on August 24, 2009 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

I think everyone should take a look at this presentation of a book written by Robert L. Ohsfeldt (Texas A&M) and John E. Schneider (University of Iowa) .

http://www.aei.org/docLib/20061017_OhsfeldtSchneiderPresentation.pdf


Is the US health system substandard compared to other industrialized nations? Adjusted for premature deaths resulting from non-health-related fatal injuries, the US actually ranks #1 in mean life expectancy at birth. Data used was from the OCED, WHO, and the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

The presentation is actually really good, mostly data and graphs to support their recommendations.

Posted by: BJFeng on August 24, 2009 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Obama said"-"this was the moment we summoned what's best in each of us to make life better for all of us..."

I'm reminded of the line from Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities-"It is a far, far better thing we do. . ."

Taking the moral high ground is a futile exercise. Obama needs to take to the streets with simple sentences and concrete ideas.

Howard Dean's "Medicare For Everyone" is a start. . .

Posted by: DAY on August 24, 2009 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman should be the easiest Senator to keep in line. Harry Reid just has to say to him, "Vote for cloture every time or you can get your committee assignments from the Republicans."

But, of course, that assumes the Democratic leadership is not a bunch of invertebrates.


Posted by: SteveT on August 24, 2009 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly how appalling does Lieberman have to be before voters finally throw him out of office? Please God make him go away ASAP.

Posted by: klass on August 24, 2009 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

We financial bailout price tag could top $27 trillion.

Yet, politicians quibble about $1 trillion (an amount that is largely paid for, BTW) so that every American can have health insurance. The mind reels.

Posted by: terraformer on August 24, 2009 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Joe LIEberman: I've got mine (paid for by you), fukc you!

Posted by: SadOldVet on August 24, 2009 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

Adjusted for premature deaths resulting from non-health-related fatal injuries, the US actually ranks #1 in mean life expectancy at birth. Data used was from the OCED, WHO, and the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

I have a hard time believing that we're such an "accident" prone nation as to rank first in life expectancy after taking them out of the equation. Although we do seem to have a disproportionate number of dumbasses. Even if true, it changes the substandard quality of health care in this country not at all.

Posted by: about time on August 24, 2009 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

I guess Joe felt the tax cut legislation and the other bills passed by the Republicans using reconciliation were also not a good idea.

What is clear to me is that Senator Joe Lieberman, the Senator from the right-wing Israelis, is really not a good idea.

Posted by: Rick B on August 24, 2009 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

It would be really nice if anyone in the MSM could ever point out that Hadassah Lieberman has been employed in significant positions by big pharma and other healthcare corporations for years and that Joe gets huge donations from these folks. Hell, it would be nice if a blogger or two ever pointed it out. For some reason, everyone who's aware of the Bayh family conflict of interest seems to ignore the Lieberman family problem.

Posted by: shortstop on August 24, 2009 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK
non-health-related fatal injuries
Aren't all fatal injuries -- indeed, all injuries -- related to your health? Is this like, "If you exclude the non-wet parts of water, it's just like paper."?

:) OK, I suspect the poster means "injuries caused by not-health-related things". From what I've seen, the two big dogs there are car accidents and -- wait for it -- gun-related deaths. So are the conservatives now suggesting we should switch to mass transit and give up our guns? Why do they hate America?

Posted by: Bernard HP Gilroy on August 24, 2009 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman is from Connecticut, which has a lot of insurance companies. On this issue he's just being craven, not cowardly.

Posted by: Mike from Detroit on August 24, 2009 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK
[President Obama said,] "And that is what our generation of Americans is called to do right now."

For some, that call is louder than for others.

But isn't that the crux of the problem? Leiberman (and most of the other nay-sayers) aren't part of this generation. They're the old guard of the previous generation. Indeed, it's the retiring baby boomers "I got my Medicare -- you go hang" mentality that is undermining expansion of coverage.

Posted by: Bernard HP Gilroy on August 24, 2009 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

"The voicemailbox belonging to Senator Lieberman is full."

Gosh, why is that, do you suppose? It couldn't be thousands of angry Connecticut residents phoning him up to rip him a new one, could it?

Why Democratic leadership thought it a good idea to allow McCain's BFF to retain his committee chair, much less remain in the party, is well beyond me.

But then, I doubt I could have mismanaged healthcare reform to the degree that the White House and Dem congressional leadership have.

Posted by: karen marie on August 24, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously, if health care reform fails because of people like Lieberman I hope the netroots will push for a bill to strip Congress of their insurance plan. I'd love to see those guys try to buy health care on the open market. Of course, Lieberman will qualify for government-run healthcare Medicare.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope on August 24, 2009 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Guess what other voicemail box is full! Harry Reid's!

Call him later, ask him to punch himself in the face for being such an incompetent.

202-224-3542

Posted by: karen marie on August 24, 2009 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Lierberman: a slimy bucket of scum without the bucket.

But the Money Party supports the hell out of him. He stays.

Posted by: anonymous on August 24, 2009 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Y'know, as a Jewish American and an ardent supporter of the state of Israel, you would reasonably assume that Joe Lieberman is especially sensitive to and informed about Hitler and Nazi policies. Isn't it odd that Holy Joe hasn't issued one word of protest about the health care teabaggers labeling Obama as a 21st-century Hitler?

Given his silence, it's clear that Joe Lieberman believes that Barack Obama is comparable to Hitler when it comes to health care reform.

Posted by: bluestatedon on August 24, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Only thing you need to know about Joe and health care reform:

He is from Connecticut....home of the insurance industry.

Nuf' said.

Posted by: dweb on August 24, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Health care reform is the easiest way out of the recession, Mr Joe.

Posted by: Bob M on August 24, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, extension of healthcare to tens of millions will undoubtedly create masses of new jobs in time, one of the few areas of job creation.

Posted by: bob h on August 24, 2009 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Fine. Every Congress person who says we can wait on this issue should have his or her lifetime health insurance revoked. Now. Permanently. No special deals from insurances, nothing. Then, they can take their preconditions and walk into a health insurance company and see how far they get--especially McCain with his patched-together body. I have a hunch that Lieberman wouldn't fare much better, either. I am just sick and tired of this empty rhetoric from people who will never have to worry about health insurance for the rest of their miserable lives.

Posted by: asiangrrlMN on August 24, 2009 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Remember that Lieberman represents Connecticut, and that insurance is a major economic power in that state.

Insurance is to Connecticut as corruption is to New Jersey and hipocrisy is to South Carolina

Posted by: xtalguy on August 24, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, I thought that the reason for keeping Lieberman in the caucus - despite his antithetical and harmful views in foreign affairs and national security - was because he was a reliable vote for progressive domestic issues.

What does he bring to the caucus now?

Posted by: TG Chicago on August 24, 2009 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

This shows that Lieberman either doesn't know what he is talking about or is lying to protect corporate interests. A simple chain of event he is missing: 1) healthcare in the U.S. is employment based, 2) people lose their jobs during recessions, 3) therefore, people lose their insurance benefits (and, since they are unemployed, probably can't afford individual plans). These three items make the recession the ideal time to deal with the uninsured because so many people are losing their insurance simply because they had the bad luck to lose their jobs.

Posted by: meander on August 24, 2009 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

How's that Joe loving working for you Obama?

Posted by: MNPundit on August 24, 2009 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

I saw that article, and mother of God, check out the photo accompanying it! Is that REALLY what Joe Lieberman looks like now? He's a dead ringer for Norman Bates' crazy mother in "Psycho". That haircut is SO not working for you, Joe.

Posted by: Mark on August 24, 2009 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

I don't have much to add to this conversation except that is there a more loathsome person in the character in the senate than Joe Lieberdick? Seriously, is there? I was going to bring up Hadassah whoring for BigPharma but somebody already brought it up. I would like to just walk up to Lieberdick and pie him with an big out of date stinky creamy pie. Nothing that would do him any real harm, just affect his scummy little ego.

Posted by: warren terrah on August 24, 2009 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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