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The public option died last summer

Take yourself back to the endless wrangling in Sen. Max Baucus’ Finance Committee – or, more particularly, among his select “gang of six,” including three Republicans, two of whom clearly never had any intention of voting for health-care reform. They negotiated and negotiated and negotiated and negotiated -- and got nowhere. Baucus failed to produce a draft bill before the August recess. The Democrats’ summer of discontent and the tea party madness followed.

This, it turns out, was a crucial moment. It set back the schedule for a health-care bill by at least a month, maybe two. There was no urgency in the Baucus process. Now there is urgency. And that gave Joe Lieberman his near dictatorial powers to kill a Medicare buy-in proposal that he had supported as recently as three months ago. If the bill had stayed on schedule -- if this were, say, Nov. 15th, not Dec. 15th -- there would still be time to wrangle. But time is running out.

The vast majority of Senate Democrats -- reluctantly, sadly, in some cases, angrily -- caved to Lieberman because, in the end, they share President Obama’s view that a health-care bill needs to get out of the Senate before the end of the year. The Democrats need a health-care bill signed into law by the president’s state of the union address 1. to show they can govern; 2. because the surest way to kill a big bill, as Ezra Klein points out, is not to vote it down but to let it languish; 3. because the legislative process, particularly in our dysfunctional Senate, makes everything it touches look uglier the longer the process goes on; and 4. because they need to move on to other issues, i.e., jobs, before next November’s elections.

This gave Lieberman the whip hand. I find Lieberman’s behavior in this affair unconscionable, and I share Klein’s anger with him, which produced his dust-up with Chuck Lane on this blog. Klein is right that there is not a shred of principle in Lieberman’s opposition to the proposal to allow people 55 and over to buy into Medicare. Again: Lieberman supported the idea just three months ago. The genius of the compromise negotiated by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was that it got rid of the old public option, objectionable to Lieberman and some other moderates, and replaced it with a more modest but potentially promising test of the public option idea that many of the moderates, including Lieberman, had supported in the past.

I think the evidence is overwhelming that Lieberman double-crossed Reid, Schumer and the rest of his colleagues.

The Medicare buy-in compromise was not announced until it had been cleared with Lieberman. I was in close touch with the negotiations at the time, and everyone involved thought Lieberman was on board. I don’t think they misunderstood what Lieberman was telling them, since his own public statement at the time, while cautious, was positive. “I am encouraged by the progress toward a consensus on proposals to send to the Congressional Budget Office to review,” he said on Dec. 9. "It is my understanding that at this point there is no legislative language so I look forward to analyzing the details of the plan and reviewing analysis from the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid." But of course Lieberman did not so “look forward” to the Congressional Budget Office analysis that he actually waited to see it. He dropped the hammer on the buy-in before the analysis appeared. This is not about substance. It’s about political positioning. It may also be, as some bloggers have suggested, about Lieberman’s determination to torture liberals. And you have to worry about whether Lieberman will not turn around and find some new objection to the health-care bill after he gets this concession.

Senate liberals, on the other hand, care primarily about expanding health-care coverage, which is why they are willing to give way on the Medicare buy-in to get a bill passed. They know the buy-in, though a good idea, is less important than moving toward a system of near-universal coverage.

The undemocratic Senate, which vastly over-represents conservative states and rural interests, has become even more undemocratic by the over-use of the filibuster, which gives tiny minorities -- sometimes a minority of one -- the power to kill proposals supported by the vast majority of its members. That’s why there was no time to lose during the Finance Committee’s leisurely negotiations. But that time was lost, and so was the public option and the Medicare buy-in, at least in the Senate.

By E.J. Dionne  | December 15, 2009; 11:02 AM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Comments

The Democrats have to start working under the assumption they can't trust Lieberman any farther than they could throw him.

Posted by: pk_1 | December 15, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

This would make Joe a hero!

Posted by: ce57 | December 15, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Lieberman has been bought and paid for by the insurance companies. There should be an ethics investigation, or better yet, the US attorney for the State of CT should investigate the link between his campaign contributions and his voting record. He is a total piece of cr.ap.

Posted by: snortz_the_cat | December 15, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Dems should never have trusted Lieberman but they were willing to kiss his butt to make save their own. A pox on both of them.

Posted by: manv | December 15, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"The Democrats have to start working under the assumption they can't trust Lieberman any farther than they could throw him.

Posted by: pk_1 | December 15, 2009 11:34 AM"

That was obvious two years ago. Why the Democrats have only now figured this out is beyond me.

Posted by: simpleton1 | December 15, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

So the Dems have to pass a healthcare bill, any bill, any thing just so it says healthcare, not whether it fixes anything, for political reasons but Libermans a s*** because he does something for his political reasons. Payback is a time honored political position.

Posted by: ronjaboy | December 15, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

E.J. has given us a great article on Lieberman's brilliance.

Posted by: hz9604 | December 15, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I don't think time is running out. At any later date, legislation to expand Medicare coverage to uninsured can be re-introduced.

Those of us who are Medicare customers may have lost an opportunity to keep our premiums down. Foresight can see that inflation or normal cost of living increases in the future can be offset by increasing membership thereby lowering or maintaining current premium.

In any event, it politics as usual but personal to us, Seniors and the Disabled who are dependent on Health Care coverage. We will not forget about Joe in the future.

Posted by: truthhurts | December 15, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

This would make Joe a hero!

Posted by: ce57 | December 15, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

And American Public "ZERO"!!! Let us see how long he and people like him survives in politics!!!

Posted by: kmishra | December 15, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Why the Democrats forgave and welcomed back Lieberman after his routine betrayal is beyond me. His behavior has not changed and he will continue to be a double-crossing, self-centered politician. Lieberman threw Democrats under the bus; he tried to throw Obama under the bus; and he succeeded in throwing Al Gore under the bus. Lieberman can not be trusted.

Posted by: LeeShawnNelson | December 15, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

This would make Joe a hero!

Posted by: ce57 | December 15, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

A hero? For working to deny the American people what every other industrial country ensures their citizens? Wow.

Posted by: aviscardo | December 15, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I usually despise Lieberman, but this time deserves credit for stopping spend-like-crazy democrats.

Posted by: tropicalfolk | December 15, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Lieberman is just another paid-off politico from a state where its other U.S. Senator repeatedly kow-tows to the insurance-conglomerates that control the economics of its residents. Joe's orthodox religion somehow obscures the anti-populist acts he first lies about, all the while carrying out deeds of egocentric money-grubbing from any/every entity within his long-fingered grasp. Unfortunately, it also seems that very few voters in Connecticutt are bright enough to strip both of them from their seats in the U.S. Senate--which would mean a better lot for the rest of us "regular Joes". Lieberman and the rest of the rich-folks of the U.S. Senate should be investigated, to see how most of them have become millionaires without working: you'd find quite a bit about Payoff-City--oops--I mean Washington, D.C.

Posted by: marc85 | December 15, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

"tea party madness?" Exactly what "madness" was that, EJ? The people having the nerve to stand up and demand their representatives actually represent them?

Lieberman has at least temporarily saved America from even worse madness than we are probably going to have stuffed down our throats. All of America owe him a debt of gratitude for standing up.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | December 15, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I've had it with the Democrats and their leaders from the White House on down. This health care bill won't affect me now or later. But to let Senator Lieberman and his maniacal egoism hold everybody else hostage is unconscionable. I'd prefer to let the whole thing die. Strip Lieberman of any vestige of rank. Place him in the dunce corner and pledge millions of dollars to get him unelected. Further, completely, ostracize him and let him languish and dry up on the vine and die. My Democratic party is a disgrace and I am resigning from it and from any further political involvement in any party or for any cause. I am 68 and the few years I have left to live won't be affected by the kind of governance that would now result. The grand political experiment of democracy is over and done with.
Dave Zaffina

Posted by: dz4law | December 15, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman may take some perverse joy in confounding liberals as payback for the 2006 primary, but the activists that opposed him are by-and-large insured and well off. Lieberman’s perverse power-grab will only result in fewer working class Americans being insured (thus causing inevitable death to thousands). It seems that Holy Joe never shirks from voting to kill his fellow countrymen.

Lieberman is a shameful, spiteful, little, toad of a man. But his actions serve to highlight the corruption that is all-too prevalent in the United States Senate as well as the undemocratic nature of that institution. Why should a constitutional republic vest such power in what is no more than a pale imitation of the British House of Lords? Why should one man, from a small eastern state be allowed to derail legislation for his own personal gain or to thwart the public good for the sake of his corporate pals? Ultimately, the Senate should either be abolished, or the filibuster done away with. As for Holy Joe, he should expelled from the Democratic caucus, stripped of his committee chair and whipped naked through the streets.

Posted by: codexjust1 | December 15, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you completely. Joe Lieberman is a disgrace. Everything he does is for him alone. Or, I should say, for him and for his wife.

Her links to insurance and pharmaceutical companies and lobbying firms clearly determines and taints everything he does. And her role as "goodwill ambassador" for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure is an insult to those who work tirelessly to fight the scourge of breast cancer. If her husband has his way many more women will lose their battle with breast cancer simply because they couldn't obtain or afford health insurance. Clearly integrity is absent in the Lieberman household.

Posted by: june54 | December 15, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

You want Leiberman's vote? Attach it to a pro-Isreali bill.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 15, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

What does Joe Lierberman and Judist have in common.

Both would sell their souls for a piece of silver or gold.

Joe the Jew Genius need a swift wake up call take away his Chairmanship
start fielding a candidte now to replace him.

Posted by: blkisin | December 15, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

No surprise. He supported McCain for President. He is still closer to him than to any Democrats. GOP must be thrilled to have such a fake Independent hiding in the Democratic caucus. He should change his affiliation now.

Posted by: ExpressReader | December 15, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman should get the congressional medal for stopping a another govt take over....they can't run the post office much less an insurance company.

Posted by: lucygirl1 | December 15, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Strip Lieberma of his committee posts. 100% of them.

Let him serve as a sold-out-to-insurance-lobbyest-republican which is what he has become.

NO COMPETITION FOR THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY = FAILURE

Posted by: onestring | December 15, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

If only one man derails this train wreck that they are calling health care reform which is anything but that then I say Bravo!

Posted by: FLvet | December 15, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

So democrats think this crappy bill will motivate people to vote for them? As a democrat, I could care less whether watered down HCR passes or not. Anyways, since the democratic base is likely to stay home next election, I wonder who these "conservative" Democrats like Nelson think are going to turn out to vote for them? Republicans? Ha. Most of the red state democrats are toast no matter what now, and they have no one to blame but themselves.

Posted by: rodneythecat | December 15, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

A message to the Democratic leadership in the Senate:

Joe "I will see seniors dead before I let anyone mess with the profits of Pharma and insurance companies" Lieberman is vulnerable. His ego is fed by his being chairman of Senate committees. The Dem caucus can take that away

Sic 'im!

Posted by: apspa1 | December 15, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman today, Ben Nelson tomorrow, Roland Burris the day after. Take your pick.

E.J. --- time for you and all your cosmo drinking Georgetown buddies to relax. San Fran Nan will put the public option back in the conference, and nine democrats can vote against it in the Senate. It will still pass!

That's been the plan all along. Everything else is Kabuki theater, for constituents, and to give columnists something to write and fret about.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | December 15, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

A health care bill without a public option AND without a Medicare buy-in is health care reform in name only. LIEberman and his henchmen on the right side of the aisle have done their insurance company masters proud, and they're already counting their lobbyist contributions. Leave it to Reid not to recognize a backstabbing weasel when it's staring him right in the face...

They need to kick LIEberman to the curb and get a new chairman for the Homeland Security committee; it's clear the current chairman only has the security of insurance companies and Israel, and not that of average American citizens or our country, at the top of his list of interests to be protected.

Posted by: gr8day4bsbll | December 15, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I love when both Dems and Republicans complain when something doesn't go their way. First, for all of the uneducated people who are bashing Lieberman. It was the Democratic party that stabbed Joe in the back during his re-election bid. I appreciate Lieberman way more now that he does not vote party line.

Second, as with all reform/change it should take place in a thoughtful way. A public option and Medicare buy-in might make sense if the government wasn't about to go bankrupt. We have no more money left for these government run programs. Please let me blame the banks one more time because Americans purchased homes they could not afford. What message are we sending future generations by running up such a deficit? Both parties make me absolutely sick but to bash Lieberman because he doesn't want a public option is just plain stupid.

Posted by: RockTheRed2009 | December 15, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the people who say Lieberman is a hero. He is, especially to Hartford Insurance Company and the other insurance thugs he's trying to support.

Maybe Joe will give us a nice holiday present. A stroke, leaving him a drooling idiot crapping in his pants would do.

Posted by: mickle1 | December 15, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I love when both Dems and Republicans complain when something doesn't go their way. First, for all of the uneducated people who are bashing Lieberman. It was the Democratic party that stabbed Joe in the back during his re-election bid. I appreciate Lieberman way more now that he does not vote party line.

Second, as with all reform/change it should take place in a thoughtful way. A public option and Medicare buy-in might make sense if the government wasn't about to go bankrupt. We have no more money left for these government run programs. Please let me blame the banks one more time because Americans purchased homes they could not afford. What message are we sending future generations by running up such a deficit? Both parties make me absolutely sick but to bash Lieberman because he doesn't want a public option is just plain stupid.

Posted by: RockTheRed2009 | December 15, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse


AMEN!!!!!!

Posted by: lucygirl1 | December 15, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Lie ber man. A man who lies. If his name were pronounced correctly there would be no illusions about who he is. Why do the senate dems pretend he is anything other than a repub shill?

Posted by: db11232 | December 15, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Be it noted Lieberman was "the conscience of the Senate" when Bill Clinton was lying under oath, to the American people and to his family, thereby depriving us of an effective executive for two years. Be it also noted that he did have time to read and absorb the medicare actuary report. Tagging him with being in bed with insurance companies overlooks how many people like Harry Reid and Chris Dodd of the famously ethically challenged Dodds, also of Connecticut, are enmeshed with special interests. And seriously, folks, how many out there will contribute to the Harry Reid Cancer Hospital in Reno? This bill might force us all to do that, and a great deal more. Thanks Joe. Why can't the Obama Administration write a good healthcare bill, one that serves the American people well. At the outset, the President caved in to all the profiteers. Next time, write a good bill.

Posted by: sailhardy | December 15, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I love how the liberals hate the senate now that it's their bills that are being stalled and watered down. I don't recall Mr. Dionne lamenting the "undemocratic Senate" before Obama took office.

Also, the democrat leadership has no one to blame but themselves. They stabbed Liberman in the back during his last election; do they think he forgot? Now is his opportunity for payback. Revenge is a b****, isn't it?

Posted by: octopi213 | December 15, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"The undemocratic Senate, which vastly over-represents conservative states and rural interests, has become even more undemocratic by the over-use of the filibuster, which gives tiny minorities -- sometimes a minority of one -- the power to kill proposals supported by the vast majority of its members."

Actually they don't use filibusters. They use the threat of filibusters. This is the equivalent of a mugger telling his victim, "Give me your wallet, or I'm going to get a gun." I say bring back the filibuster! I would like to see Lieberman read the entire Talmud on the floor of the Senate.

I ultimately blame Obama for this. Health care reform is supposed to be the centerpiece of his presidency. Now, he's sitting back and doing nothing while his enemies destroy it out of spite. How much stimulus money is going to Connecticut? It should be cut to nothing!

Posted by: sjpatejak | December 15, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Reply to gr8day4bsbll:

I'm strongly opposed to a public option or a Medicare buy-in. My view would change if the cost of health care was being addressed first. Adding more people to a broken system is the last thing to do. You need to fix the cost of health care before you add people to it.

Also, Americans need to get away from the traditional thinking of insurance. The idea and concept of insurance is not what it is today. Today we put all health care charges through the insurance system. What will change in 5-10 years is that individuals will only be covered for catastrophic events. It was never intended to cover routine doctor visits, etc.

Sorry gr8day4bsbll adding a public option or buy-in are not the only options for reform. I would suggest that you understand the insurance process a little further before you make statements like that.

Posted by: RockTheRed2009 | December 15, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Note to Senator Lieberman: What goes around comes around,sir. You are enjoying poking your finger in the Dems eye one more time even though you are on record as having been for most of the the things you now oppose. You may survive the wrath of the Dem leadership. Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu are probably giggling behind closed doors. And Bayh must be jumping up and down with joy. But sooner or latter, Senator, you will be just ole Joe from Connecticut. You will have no power. Then you legacy will kick in. The legacy of a man who was not for the little guy. The legacy of a man who took too much from big business. The legacy of a man who could not be trusted to keep his word. The legacy of a man who let personal vengeance trump doing the right thing. Some may feel sorry for you, but most of us will reserve our sympathy for all the people you hurt. And we will forever remember the pictures of your positively gleeful face as you shamelessly paraded around the talk shows flaunting you power. The millions you have turned your back on will not forget.

Posted by: tarryh | December 15, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I think you better reconsider who wants this because it sure isn't most people.

Revolution is coming closer by the day, keep the powder dry.

December 14, 2009
"Fifty-six percent (56%) of U.S. voters now oppose the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s the highest level of opposition found - reached three times before - in six months of polling.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 40% of voters favor the health care plan.

Perhaps more significantly, 46% now Strongly Oppose the plan, compared to 19% who Strongly Favor it. "

People want work first and the health plan is a job killer.

To mickle1 the usefull idiot that Marx called you.

News flash...The Hartford could care less about health insurance. IF they even sell it, health insurance is minimal to The Hartford.

The Hartford is property/casualty/life and annuities.

Posted by: Blacknblue2 | December 15, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

E.J. wrote:

"The undemocratic Senate, which vastly over-represents conservative states and rural interests, has become even more undemocratic..."

Yes, but it can cut both ways. My state, Vermont, is vastly overrepresented in the Senate, but our two senators are vastly more liberal than the average senator.

Posted by: norriehoyt | December 15, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

So who is he representing?

Lieberman has accepted $2,395,369 in donations from the health sector and $1,033,402 from the insurance industry.

Let us not make this about Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi. This is about the millions of hard working Americans who no longer can afford or never had health insurance.

Traitor Joe is only looking out for himself.. He told the people of his state to "go to hell".

From a Research poll, taken in Connecticut last month:

"Do you favor or oppose creating a government-administered health insurance option that anyone can purchase to compete with private insurance plans?"

Favor 68%
Oppose 21%

So who is he representing?

Retire Traitor Joe and try to save the little respect you still have... When you vote with the Republicans to oppose the biggest bill in the last decade, you will no longer be able to hide in either party.

Republicans don't like traitors any more than the DEMS...

Posted by: ajon1600 | December 15, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Fascinating -- Republicans need barely a majority in the Senate to get their initiatives passed; Democrats always seem to need two thirds. Something is wrong with this picture...

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | December 15, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman was not “stabbed in the back.” His constituents were sick to death of the ongoing war in Iraq, the quagmire in Afghanistan and they were scared to death by his advocacy of starting a third war with Iran. He ignored his constituents and so he lost the Democratic primary. Instead of accepting the will of the party that had supported him for many years, Lieberman stabbed the Democrats in the back by running as a de facto Republican (i.e., the GOP funneled money to Lieberman’s campaign while simultaneously turning off the spigot for the nominal Republican candidate). He believes neither in democracy or the Democratic party. He is an unprincipled, lying sack of you-know-what. History will remember him as one of the great traitors of our time.

Posted by: codexjust1 | December 15, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I know the Founding Fathers are all supposed to be geniuses (and any suggestion otherwise is considered treason), but why in the world isn't the Senate a proportional body like the House?

Two senators representing the interests of, say, Wyoming - the least populous state - have an equal say with the two senators from California, which has 72 times the population of Wyoming. Nothing against Wyoming (used by way of example only), but if numbers matter at all it is definitely overrepresented in the Senate.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | December 15, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

It's really galling to see this twerp enjoying the ridiculous power that fate has given him at this juncture. There is ego at work here--he's suddenly the corpse at every wedding and the bride at every funeral. Even the delay he caused Saturday by walking to the Senate (because it was the Sabbath) was a way of getting more attention. He could have had someone else drive him, but where's the drama in that?

Posted by: Howdeb | December 15, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

joe knows how the game is played.outsmarted odumbo and the rest of the whiners. promise them anything then get what u want.should apply this to the rest of the criminals in the system

Posted by: pofinpa | December 15, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Nice piece, Mr. Dionne.

However, I continue not to understand why the filibuster is so gosh-awful powerful.

Why doesn't the majority just let the minority read the phone book for a month? It couldn't be any more dysfunctional than Congress functioning normally. And eventually, the Senators will be so sick of filibustering, and the public will be so angry and disgusted with filibusterers, that the maneuver (or threat thereof) will become useless.

Couldn't you write something about why this is or isn't so?

Posted by: Itzajob | December 15, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

EnemyOfTheState you aren't serious are you? You really were never taught the difference between the House and Senate.

Many we don't have a freak'in chance at having an educated populace anymore.

They are two different body's of govt and have different functions so ........

No no way, I;m not going on, you look it up and do the job that the educators did not do!

Posted by: Blacknblue2 | December 15, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman's great outward show of piety belies his craven and opportunistic political career.

He'll vote to go to war and use Visa to pay for it, to the tune of $10 billion a month; but won't consider helping the millions who need health insurance.

Spend a little more time in temple, Lieberman. Or, better yet, engage your rabbi in some deep soul searching -- your values are despicable and someone needs to point that out.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | December 15, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

EnemyOfTheState you aren't serious are you? You really were never taught the difference between the House and Senate.

============================
Yes, I know the difference. That was the source of my complaint. The Senate serves as a break to the popular will of the House. But that function becomes dysfunction when a single Senator or group of Senators plunge the country into near gridlock.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | December 15, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

what democrats?

Posted by: KentL1 | December 15, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The public option actually died last month as a result of the election, when moderate Democrats realized that the Obama revolution was over.

What so many in the MSM continue to misrepresent is that Lieberman is against health care reform. He's not against reform, nor are the Rebublicans and moderates.

But reform must be effective, meaning you can't just throw money at the problem (by expanding coverage) and expect health care inflation to decline. Despite MSM misrepresentations, the American people aren't buying the notion that Obamacare is a free lunch.

Posted by: RambleOn | December 15, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

It's time for the Senate to present their best bill for the American people and bring it to a vote.

There are Senators trying to run out the clock and would prefer no action to be taken. We cannot afford "no action" but a show of hands on who are going to support a good health care reform bill.

Let the American people decide if their home senators represent them or their own wallets.

It will surely fail if it's not even voted upon. Bring it to a vote!!!!! Please!!!!

Posted by: ronhamp | December 15, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Only the ignorant is saddened by this turn of events. I was not born into a Socialist country and God d*m I won't die in one.

Posted by: Schooner535 | December 15, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and the greatest traitor of our time is Jimmy Carter. Don't forget it.

Posted by: Schooner535 | December 15, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I admire Joe Lieberman's stance on this so-called "health care reform" bill. While it is good to want better and more affordable health care for as many people as possible(conservative Republicans and moderate Democrats want this too), the liberal Democrats' bill will only end with us paying more money for worse health care and ballooning out federal budget deficit far beyond any sustainable level. It is odd that the Post complains endlessly about Republicans who despise moderates within their party. You are all too willing to attack Joe Lieberman, a moderate within the Democratic Party (yes, he is a registered Independent but still caucuses with the Democrats) Such a stance on the part of the Post (and Dionne) shows your liberal bias all too well.

Posted by: honorswar26 | December 15, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Only the ignorant is saddened by this turn of events. I was not born into a Socialist country and God d*m I won't die in one.
===========================
You were born into a socialist country the second FDR signed Social Security into law. So I guess you should start looking for a suitable place to be buried.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | December 15, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Senator Lieberman gives weasels a bad name. Kick him out of the Democratic Caucus NOW!!!!!Strip Betrayer-LiarMan of hs Chairmanships NOW!!!!!

We cannot be worse off without Lieberman than with him. With Lieberman, we have a Traitor poisoning the air, the water, and the Discourse.

With Lieberman, we have a rat stabbing the American People in the back for his own slimy, disgusting gain.

Bring Democracy back to America! Dump Lieberman the Traitor immediately!!!!!!

Posted by: wapoisrightwingrag | December 15, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

E.J.,

This one is on President Obama. He needs to crack some heads.

If he pushes it, he could campaign every day in CT and have them conduct a recall election. They could drum up, or plant, enough evidence to kick leiberjew out of the Senate tomorrow if they wanted to.

At a minimum they could strip him of his chairmanship before the sun sets today.

Without that chairmanship his lobbyist funding dries up and he has no cash to defend himself against the recall effort.

Posted by: Heerman532 | December 15, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I will have to remember your objection to the filibuster and notion that the Senate isn't democratic. The Senate was supposed to protect the State interests, not become some sort of Super House with direct election by the people. And each State is equally represented. Pesky Constitution! Sounds like you want a unicameral body, the House, only.

Second, I don't recall you screaming against the ills of the filibuster when the GOP ran things. I bet if I dig hard enough, I can find where you applaud use of the filibuster by Dems to block GOP bills.

Let's peel back the veil of deflection here. You want government run health care. Rather than convincingly argue why it should be, or presenting the business case to the reader, you rail against the road blocks.

Posted by: RichmondGiant | December 15, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Not much is being said about what his constituents in CT think of his petty flipflop on expanding Medicare coverage. Is it positive or negative?

Anyway, Lieberman is the most powerful Democrat at this moment in time and he is apparently milking it for everything he can. Oh wait...he isn't a Democrat yet he is holding a chairmanship keeping it away from a deserving Democrat. Go figure.

Posted by: tebrom50 | December 15, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

What about Obama and Rahm don't they have some blame here????

He campaigned on "keeping the insurance industry honest" but as soon as he moved into the white house they were making deals and rolling in bed with the insurance lobby.

Many people will never believe Obama's promises again.

Posted by: cautious | December 15, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lierman is as discusting as a politician as it gets. His loyalty is to Silver and Gold. His policies show that he doesn't really stand for anything. It is for whoever will pay his bills at the time.

Posted by: For_the_People | December 15, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

The majority in this nation support a public option in health care.

Congress and the leadership failed. Not the public option.

Posted by: yerit | December 15, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Fascinating that now according to Mr. Dionne, the Senate is undemocratic? Obviously, He failed government 101. We are a representative republic. That's why it takes 2/3 majority for major legislation and constitutional amendments, or 39 of 50 state's legislature.

Posted by: star_key2 | December 15, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I am always amazed at the gradual decline of old empires and continue to wonder at the past greatness of Greece, the British Empire on which the sun never set, Egypt, Rome and many other countries that are subjects of lore. As I watch America careen towards a similar fate I do wonder how sensible people allow this to happen and then I recall that those countries also produced many people whose thoughts and writings form the basis of many of today's common scientific and religious beliefs and practices. As I regard the surge of countries contained within Africa and the East I regard this as a source of hope for America if we are to counterbalance the stupidity and undisguised idiocy of many of our so called leaders. That this is aided by the purchased compliance, the planned under education and the outright cowardice of others is no longer a matter of conjecture. There is an inbred, societal sickness that becomes so normal that it is no longer seen as an affliction until a surge of new ideas (immigrants, education) assigns the "norm" to the dustbin. Greed is the norm but it is not working. Stupidity/Ignorance/Volume is in but unproductive. The preferred direction is quite obvious but those in the position to make the change are being overpowered by those who have all to lose should things change for the better. 'Tis the way of the world.

Posted by: Draesop | December 15, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Everyone who has been watching this fiasco knows that the "compromise" allowing a Medicare buy-in beginning at age 55 was a much bigger step toward single payer than the most "robust" private option ever was. Speaker Pelosi could not endorse it quick enough. I think Senator Lieberman is a hero in all this, as he has been throughout his career. The Congress will enact health care (or health insurance as the President calls it) legislation by State of the Union time. It will be less dangerous than it would have been without the Connecticut Senator.

Posted by: miglefitz | December 15, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman IS the senator from big insurance. So why the surprise? Of course he is a nasty piece of ----, but after all he IS a politician. All of his rich friends have health insurance, so what does he care?

Posted by: scientist1 | December 15, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats particularly the progressive ones need to start handing Obama defeats. If we can't get a bill then we can't get a bill. Throw it back at him. His lack of leadership has been apauling. Forget the fact that his policies on every significant qustion are indistinguishable from those of his predecessor. George Bush with a black face is all this guy is. Oh, and he speaks better but he runs the ship exactly the same.

Posted by: jhadv | December 15, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I have always found that good ideas build support over time. Bad ideas languish and lose support. Thats why Obamacare needs a quick vote: once people realize what it is, its clearly a bad idea. Thank God for the Senate's voting rules.

Posted by: bruce18 | December 15, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I guess this means the Washington Post, Obama, the Democrats, EJ Dionne, and all the rest of the Obamites will be blaming everything bad on Joe Lieberman instead of George Bush!

Posted by: Realist20 | December 15, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see someone address the moral hazard issue. There is an entire group of uninsured people in the US who are also unhealthy and often obese. If you look at a map of the uninsured and the obese, they overlap strongly. Now how do we know that extending insurance to this group will not result in the overwhelming of the system by people who do not take very good care of themselves and have no particular resources or means of doing so? People have observed that many who receive public assistance never really do anything for themselves. Will this same attitude affect the newly enfranchised users of the health care system?

I would be more comfortable with a system where a doctor could order exercise and dietary restrictions. If we want real health care in this country it should start with DAILY phys ed in schools, after-school sports, construction of gym facilities, etc. We have to promote a culture of health.

Posted by: scientist1 | December 15, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

It'll be OK Mr. Dionne. We're used to it. You know, "Live long and prosper". Just "do it" somewhere else.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | December 15, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Good Grief.....One would like to think by now Democrats would stop believing they can trust Sen. Lieberman.......

After all, I looked it up and "Lieberman" is Latin for "weasel"

Posted by: mikepatrick1 | December 15, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow – of the reasons to pass a health care bill, not one had anything to do with health care; health care cost; or availability. We need to pass a “big bill” to prove the governing expertise of the Democrats? And I thought the Republicans were petty.

Posted by: jke1234 | December 15, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Chuck Lieberman under the political bus! Strip him of any position, boot him from his committe assignments, drop his a** on the curb with the other Washington trash. Isn't this the same frootloop who was snarking in public just a while ago about the iniquity of filibustering, and that it gave the minority the power of sheer tyranny over the majority party? Disturbs the confidence of the public in the institutions of government? That Lieberman? If ever any egomaniac ever gloated in front of his own mirror at his own stratospheric self-importance, this is the guy. Now that we really know Joe Lieberman, isn't it time we got rid of Joe Lieberman? Unprincipled, dishonest, disingenuous, self-aggrandizing, two-faced, treacherous, but with an ego the size and character of a black hole! Way to go, Joe! Nothing like being bought and paid for by the insurance industry, whom you have singlehandedly re-established as the driving force behind gutting a meaningful health bill, and screwing the working-stiff Americans once again, especially those poor saps who voted for you, and who trusted you during negotiations. Your mamma would be proud, you think . . . ?

Posted by: sailmaker1943 | December 15, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

And one other thing: Dimmo-krats, if you cave in to Lieberman's one-man health-care hijacking, be advised that voters like me have long memories and will remember at the polls that you weenied out to this political weasel. Find your political courage and take this bill to the floor with the buy-in in place, and let the idiot from Connecticut make a fool of himself for the whole world to see. But Fight, Dammit! Fight back! Don't cave in like spineless jellyfish simply to pass a bill that's . . . oh, just ok, just to have a bill. Truth is, you're not doing anything for the country, and don't stand around congratulating yourselves if you allow this bill to become law after it's been Lieberman'd. You will have failed the public trust, and you know it, and guess what? WE know it too . . . .

Posted by: sailmaker1943 | December 15, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"...they share President Obama’s view that a health-care bill needs to get out of the Senate before the end of the year."

WHY? What's the hurry? The bill doesn't have any benefits actually being available until 2015.

Posted by: ahashburn | December 15, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

You were born into a socialist country the second FDR signed Social Security into law. So I guess you should start looking for a suitable place to be buried.
*****************************************
Oui. I'm sorry. You are absolutely right. And I have been looking.

Posted by: Schooner535 | December 15, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

If anything, this episode highlights the utter wothlessness of Harry Reid's leadership.

Joe is a much larger symptom of a political party leader that will compromise all of his principles to the slightest outside threat. Perhaps steps should have been taken to marginalize Joe after caucusing for the Republican candidate????

If Harry Reid is defeated in 2010, I for one will not be shedding any tears. The senate democrats have not proven they are capable of a leadership role.

Posted by: jbanks979 | December 15, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

And I hope the public option burns...in hell...like those in the gov't who support it.

Posted by: Schooner535 | December 15, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what insurance company will hire Lieberman at a hefty salary after he gets turned out of office at the next election. He has renounced virtually everything that he stood for at one time. The payoff should be huge.

Posted by: twmvam | December 15, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Public option or no public option there is likely to be no cost effective measure placed, simply because the lobbyist has been doing front door business in order to raise the price of this and that. If anything the consumer is going to come out in a worse state. If anyone should discover a way to get out of this inflation game of jeopardy it could be marketed as a free product and become the ruler of the world.

Posted by: alwaysAlabama | December 15, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The next order of business should be following up on some of the prescriptions of the Constitutional scholar Charles Black to deal with the undemocratic nature of the Senate: most importantly, to find some rational way to employ the filibuster...how about requiring an actual filibuster when a bill is this important and widely supported, instead of making it simple for scum like Lieberman to control 59 other members to protect ultra-rich financial interests with only a mere threat. Even a self-indulgent windbag like Joe can't talk for days on end. So, let's see who joins him: let them expose themselves to the massive news coverage that will follow. Let's see how long they hold to their currently expressed views. Let's proceed on the model of the Republican implosion during the government shutdown in the Clinton era.
Then, once health care reform is passed, we can move on to the pressing business of recruiting the strongest possible candidate to run as a true Democrat the next time the schemer Lieberman runs for office in Connecticut. I hope to God we can send him home. And, as we wait for that election, Christmas Day would be a wonderful time for Santa to bag all the Democratic committee posts Joe now holds and re-gift them to someone deserving.
Joe, once resettled in Hartford a couple years down the road, I'm certain the financial largesse of the insurance industry will shower you, and you will enjoy the company of your moral equals. You are undeserving of your current office. The Democratic leadership needs to make that clear.

Posted by: dude19104 | December 15, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

What press are calling "moderate Dems" seem a whole lot more like the old Boll Weavils -- and things might make more sense if they carried that label.

What to call Joe Lieberman would require terms not permitted in a family newspaper...

And how to understand what happened to Rahm Emmanuel's alleged toughsmarts and Barack Obama's principles and concern for "his people" is a mystery to me. I fear that this administration has already lost so much faith and support from so many that 2010 is looking even more awful than previously might have been expected.

Posted by: esthermiriam | December 15, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Our legislative system is a sh!t-rigged 18th-Century compromise, we need structural reform to have a system that meets modern needs.

How about proportional representation in the Senate?

Or abolish the Senate and replace it with a committee of the House which would confirm nominees and ratify treaties?

Sadly, having to deal with the perpetual crisis left to us by Bush and the Republicans, there's no space to talk seriously about structural reforms.

Posted by: ottoparts | December 15, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Lieberman is playing 10 dimensional chess. Maybe he is actually trying to force the bill to go through the filibuster-proof reconciliation process to give moderate and progressive Dems more leverage, thereby forcing the bill to the left. All while making his fans on the right happy (with him).

No I don't believe it either. But it is a very possible consequence of Lieberman's actions.

Posted by: crust1 | December 15, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

E.J., we need a journalist like you to examine in detail Lieberman's connections with the health care lobby and the possibility that his about-face is the result of corruption.

Posted by: gposner | December 15, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

As usual the right-wingnuts who comment on this article or like articles by Dionne remain determined to forget the simplest statistics. America's current health care system provides the 31st best results (thirty places worst than the best) for the 1st place (highest, greatest, most profoundly unfair) in health care expense. At the same time, the American health care system is the least accessible system, a system with a plethora of ways to deny coverage. How can anyone justify that?

Now conservatives claim to support a "right kind" of health care reform, and apparently Lieberman agrees. (Oddly, Israel, which Lieberman supports with his whole being, has the kind of a government-managed, public-financed health care system that Lieberman so strongly opposes). The "right kind" if reform apparently one of dispensing with all public regulation and oversight and leaving the consumer, the public, the task of understanding all health care.

OK then, let's drop the very basis of regulation: licensing of health care providers including physicians. That should give the public the most choice but, of course, the most risk. Surely conservatives expect broad support for "reform" that takes America health care back to the happy 1880s when living to fifty was a surprise.

Posted by: jreed11665 | December 15, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

My opinion was always that Joe Lieberman was not to be trusted based on his previous record. Now that is out, that his wife represents the pharmaceutical arena; that says it all! Voters of Conneticut, you need to be more informed. Now, the senate needs to punish him by taking any chairmanships away from him and the voters should not re-elect him. He has betrayed the trust of the American people, specially his voting district. As for the others such as Olympia Snowe; she has lived off the tax payers for most of her adult working life. What has she done for her voting block that keeps her being re-elected? She has had a good life -now is time to reciprocate, otherwise do not send her back to the senate or any other office, one pension should be enough. That goes double for other Republicans that have been in office too long and do not care to reciprocate and have been nothing but obstructionist.
As for the other useless such as Bauckus, Nelson, Landriu, Lincoln and any other that that are standing in the way of progress, the voters need to re-evaluate their performance. What happenes to morality, integrity and promise prior to election when these individuals enter the doors to Washington, D.C. ?
Term Limits is the way to go for the future of our nation. Too many dinosaurs in office and nothing gets done.
Peace,
A

Posted by: wethepeople4 | December 15, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

My opinion was always that Joe Lieberman was not to be trusted based on his previous record. Now that is out, that his wife represents the pharmaceutical arena; that says it all! Voters of Conneticut, you need to be more informed. Now, the senate needs to punish him by taking any chairmanships away from him and the voters should not re-elect him. He has betrayed the trust of the American people, specially his voting district. As for the others such as Olympia Snowe; she has lived off the tax payers for most of her adult working life. What has she done for her voting block that keeps her being re-elected? She has had a good life -now is time to reciprocate, otherwise do not send her back to the senate or any other office, one pension should be enough. That goes double for other Republicans that have been in office too long and do not care to reciprocate and have been nothing but obstructionist.
As for the other useless such as Bauckus, Nelson, Landriu, Lincoln and any other that that are standing in the way of progress, the voters need to re-evaluate their performance. What happenes to morality, integrity and promise prior to election when these individuals enter the doors to Washington, D.C. ?
Term Limits is the way to go for the future of our nation. Too many dinosaurs in office and nothing gets done.
Peace,
A

Posted by: wethepeople4 | December 15, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

And I hope the public option burns...in hell...like those in the gov't who support it.

Posted by: Schooner535 | December 15, 2009 2:46 PM

dear schooner.....shouldn't you be out on a ledge somewhere?

Posted by: mikepatrick1 | December 15, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"The undemocratic Senate, which vastly over-represents conservative states and rural interests"

Complaining about the Sherman Compromise? Sheesh! Get over it already. It's been 220 years! The South gave up re-fighting the Civil War in half that amount of time.

Posted by: cprferry | December 15, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

EJ is right about Lieberman, who shouldn't be trusted. At the same time it's not fair to blame the whole thing on Joe or Olympia because something like 97% of the members of Congress, who are supposed to "fix" health care, get huge contributions from drug companies, health care corps and insurance companies. Having Baucus in charge of health care was like asking the fox to keep the chicken coop free of foxes. Our nation isn't stupider than all the other countries that have figured this out. Our government has been successfully bought by the corporations that now run it.

Posted by: eaglepeak | December 15, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The attitude uf those with health care seems to be (as we used to say in the navy) "Pull up the ladder, Jack, I'm aboard."

Posted by: robfield | December 15, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Name be what and how this Bill is going to control health care costs. You are all confused between health insurance and health care.

If health care costs continue to rise the way it has, insurance reform won't do jack S. Pin heads that think health insurance is the same as health care need to crawl back into the trailer.

Posted by: Blacknblue2 | December 15, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

There's only one decent, defensible thing to do at this juncture: kill this steaming pile of a bill. It is a monstrosity that will only benefit the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. Baucus, Reid the repugnant toad Joe Lieberman -- the whole gang of ersatz leaders have let down all Americans, especially those suffering and dying for lack of health insurance. Our Congress is corrupt, dysfunctional, broken. A once-in-a-generation chance to do something big, something right, has been squandered and lost. Heckuva job, guys!

Posted by: TruthTeller41 | December 15, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

robfield, every single legal citizen and illegal person in the USA has health care. 85% have health insurance.

You are probably correct that the 85% are fine with things the way they are and the 15% want change. OF those 15% there is a large percentage of people that by choice don't pay for insurance and that won't change a lot with insurance reform.

Maybe Union negotiations should work as you want in this health care 15% want change debate. IF 15% want don't want the Union contract, the 15% should win.

Is that what you are calling for with the "pull up the ladder?"

Posted by: Blacknblue2 | December 15, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I suspect Joe Lieberman's sleep at night is rather like his positions: tossing and turning.

Posted by: paul37 | December 15, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Now that the public option has been ditched and it will be all private health insurers, Americans can look forward to the savings from outsourcing overseas claim processing.

Americans can prepare for the conversations with overseas claim processors. The Hindu word for heart is dil. The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary sells for under $30 on Amazon.

This dictionary will also be useful in conversations regarding your account in your American bank or the computer you bought from an American company.

Posted by: bsallamack | December 15, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm with TruthTeller41. At this point, I say let them have it. Let the steaming pile of poo harden and petrify. Let this roadside carnage of a bill languish and die. Give republicans their country the way they want it. But let's at least correct the state welfare system we've got going and take away their socialized farming subsidies and let's also take our "government hands off their Medicare." Take away Medicaid too. The funny thing is, a sizable chunk of the people probably complaining about socialism are ones who would benefit from it most.

Posted by: paul37 | December 15, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Also, this will be a thankless victory for the democrats. No political good will come from it. It is a needless handout to the insurance industry without anything even remotely desirable. This heaping pile of garbage of a bill is going to raise a stench that puts democrats squarely where republicans used to be: in the pocket of big business, to mix a metaphor (or not... they are garbage too). And the funny thing is, republicans can stand on the sideline with their hands in the air and say, correctly, "It wasn't us."

Posted by: paul37 | December 15, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

there is a principled objection to the Medicare buy-in - not that Lieberman invoked it, mind you. Medicare reimbursement rates are not terrible, but for hospitals in particular, do not cover average costs, only marginal costs, in most cases. Which is OK unless you have a high percentage of Medicare patients, in which case, it's a serious problem. Adding a decade worth of the population to the ranks of the underpaying would have blown the deal with the hospital industry for the cuts they agreed to in return for lower bad debts from fewer uninsured.

Posted by: JoeT1 | December 15, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

People are gravley mistaken when they say that the United States is a democracy or a democratic republic.The truth is this has never been the case.In reality the USA is a plutocracy,masquarading as a democracy.

The simple truth is america has alway been the last bastion of the wealthy and elite.The last kingdom on earth,lords and vassels.America was founded on a fraud by rich aristocrats such as Washington,Hamilton,Jefferson,Adams,Lincoln(the worst of the bunch).
They created the myth of of "we the people" which has been a obscene lie since the begining,albeit a fine one.But alas,even finely craftly lies are shown to be what they really are in time.The people cannot be fooled forever.Cannon fodder(US soldiers) for their illegal wars even question their comrades deaths from their trailor courts now.This is where we stand now,at the precipice.A dawn of a new country.

Posted by: hyroller56 | December 15, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

If Obama and Senate Democrats were serious about health-care reform, they would go nuclear, torpedo the filibuster rule -- which is not required by the Constitution or any statute -- and pass real healthcare reform with 51 votes. But they clearly place a higher value on maintaining the courtly old traditions of the exclusive Senate club. Or, more to the point, they never intended to tick off their big contributors in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries by passing anything that would actually benefit ordinary Americans at the expense of those industries' outsized profits. The Democrats can pass some piece of s**t and call it "health care reform," but they will not be fooling anyone of even rudimentary intelligence. The Democrats are finished. Lifelong Democrats like myself will walk away from them after this, particularly when coupled with their unwillingness to regulate the financial industry and the decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan. No more money, no more volunteering, no more votes. Let's see how they like it in 2010 and 2012.

Posted by: lydgate | December 15, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I believe democrats would gain more political capital if they simply made the bill one page declaring it illegal to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions and to remove lifelong and annual caps on coverage and to require that insurance companies be taxed 100% of all profits over 10%. Done. And if that's not good enough, HR 676. Get rid of them all once and for all.

Posted by: paul37 | December 15, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Geez ...filibuster mania, huh ? The "Dumocrats" brought this on themselves years ago when Robert Bork was nominated for the Supreme Court and the "Dums" could not stand by and let someone who would look at the Constitution as "LAW" ... the liberal left wanted to make sure that the Court would continue to use that document as an etcha-sketch (Roe v. Wade)and make up things as time continues on .... now I suppose they want to change the filibuster statute so they can twist the laws their way again !!

Posted by: golfingary56 | December 15, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Was it the insurance companies that instructed Joe Lieberman to overtly and ostentatiously side with the Bush regime pushing for the invasion and slaughter/destruction of Iraq? Upstanding religious zealot that he is, ha!

Was it the insurance companies who instructed Joe to again, obnoxiously campaign for John McCain while caucusing with the utterly stupid and weak and spineless and unprincipled Democrats? At least that other screeching Democrat zealot Zell Miller had enough integrity to leave the party after he went ballistic at the Republican "Triumph of the Will" screechfest in NYC for the 2004 presidential election.

Now the shamelessly unprincipled Democrats are grovelling and kissing his ring in a misbegotten attempt to pass a healthcare overhaul.
How depressing and demoralizing. The Democrats aren't doing progressives any favours. They're cowards, first and foremost.

And Rahm Emmanuel should be fired for giving the weak Pres. Obama such bad advice in advising him to make a deal with Lieberman.

Might be time for Democrats to remind Joe that Israel has universal medical care ... so should America come into the TWENTIETH century.
Two things: Joe should be shown the door and never, ever, be forgiven for his constant Quisling betrayals of progressive ideals (realities for the rest of the civilized world) and please stop referring to PROGRESSIVES as "liberals".
We don't refer to Republicans as "fascists", possibly we should.

Give Joe LIeberman a one-way ticket to Israel and send him on his way, that's where his heart is. He is our enemy, he's not in office to serve the American people. He is a horrible man.

Posted by: strohblumen | December 15, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

If there is a hell, Joe Lieberman, may you burn in it. You are a low-down, money-grubbing, hypocritical, lying, and dishonorable blackguard.

Posted by: jasm917 | December 15, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

So, the pig, hoisted on the piccard of Truth - squeals!! :-)

Posted by: thornegp2626 | December 15, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

My theory is that Lieberman is the de facto senator from Israel, not Connecticut. He has cut a secret deal with the Republicans so that in exchange for his opposition to health care reform, they’ll support his agenda regarding anything Israel wants. I know this theory is anti Semitic, but unfortunately it’s a theory that fits the facts.

Posted by: Orion838 | December 15, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman is a JACKAL !

It's time to bring this F$%@&R DOWN !

Posted by: PulSamsara | December 15, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Did some poster really call Lieberman the "conscience of the Senate" for his slimy, spineless action in the Clinton affair, where, instead of making a difficult intellectual call (it is/is not in the interest of the government to conduct continuous investigations into the private lives of its citizens) went with the weakest one: "I oppose blow-jobs in the oval office." That's principled?

Posted by: dane1 | December 15, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh, EJ. They are all double crossers, tow faced and cowards. Not just Lieberman.

Kill this stupid bill already. There is nothing left in it to benefit anyone but the health care industry and Congress campaign bribes.

- No Public Option
- No Medicare buy-in
- Annual Cap added by Harry Reid

It is no longer affordable or accessable by everyone.

Call your legislators and tell them you will not submit to their whims.

Posted by: Single_Payer | December 15, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh, EJ. They are all double crossers, two faced and back stabbing cowards. Not just Lieberman.

Kill this stupid bill already. There is nothing left in it to benefit anyone but the health care industry and Congress campaign bribes.

- No Public Option
- No Medicare buy-in
- Annual Cap added by Harry Reid

It is no longer affordable or accessable by everyone.

Call your legislators and tell them you will not submit to their whims.

Posted by: Single_Payer | December 15, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I an astounded that E. J. Dionne would chastise Senator Lieberman for standing up to his beliefs and not agreeing to be bought off with meaningless pork like Mary Landrieu. The most recent polls show that over 54% of Americans do not want any health care reform. Mr. Dionne, do you not care about what we the people want? Are you so arrogant that you think you know what is best, or do you have so much invested in this administration that you will do anything, even rally around a true monstrosity of a bill? My greatest fear is that you and other like minded thinkers do not even know what is in this bill. That is the real danger here--not Joe Liebermann, a man who the Dems throw under the bus at every opportunity.

Posted by: babs45 | December 15, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

"I think the evidence is overwhelming that Lieberman double-crossed Reid, Schumer and the rest of his colleagues."

Hardly a surprise--and not a first for Lieberman. Enough of these "filibusters" that allow for foreign travel, weekends and holidays at home, and freedom to attend those all-important fund raising events. Keep these senators on the floor until they can produce a decent bill.

Posted by: gmeagher | December 15, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

It's 3rd party time. I also think it's time to look into a online voting system and doing away with the corrupt senate. We have the technology and we can put the power back into the hands of the American people.

Posted by: drtodd1977 | December 15, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne, this is a good, insightful article on the true lack of character of Joe Lieberman. Beyond that, he is absolutely frightening. I say this in light of the fact that my father had many of these same traits in his later years. His Alzheimer's was severe. This weaving back and forth, the petulance, the lack of concern for anyone's well-being but himself, all of this is reminiscent of my father. These traits are more than reminiscent of Lieberman. They are a terrifying reality where he has held millions of American citizens hostage to his petulant, unreasonable, selfish whims. How those citizens who elected him can be proud of this ignorant, selfish jerk is far far beyond me. My disgust for him is indescribeable.

Posted by: notnowplease | December 15, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

i hope w/ all of my being that this little mofo of a toad lieberman gets azzzz cancer and dies slow, real slow.

Posted by: memorybabe1 | December 15, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

WHERE ART THOU, E.J.?


Gee, E.J. .. where's the old c r a p, "socialized medicine will pass, thanks to the greatest president in history?"

A: it's gone. All B.S. Told you so, Obama-sniffer.

Posted by: russpoter | December 15, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

"The public option died last summer"

And the Democrats will be dead by the summer of 2011 for their transparent kow-towing to the insurance industry while thousands die every year for lack of proper health care.

If these Democrats think they're going to hold a gun to my head and make me buy insurance from these robber barons they work for, they're in for one big mother-fornicating surprise. They'll have to pry that money from my cold, dead hands first. No way -- KILL THIS BILL -- it is NOT REFORM -- it is a VICTORY FOR THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY and those citizens too bone-deep stupid to realize there's a difference between having insurance and having coverage.

Posted by: trippin | December 15, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Without a public option or Medicare buy-in, it's hard to see real cost control factored into the legislation. Given that many of the provisions in the current legislation won't go into effect until 2014 anyways; given that Lieberman is going to lose his seat in 2012; and given that Medicare buy-ins can be rolled out relatively quickly, I say pass a bill that addresses immediate needs at the state level -- something that can be done with an expansion of Medicaid and S-CHIP -- and prepare to revisit this measure in 2013 when Lieberman is gone.

Contrary to those who say that it will be another 20 years if we don't have a resolution within the next month -- I find this doubtful because the system right now is so badly broken and the economic crisis has only highlighted the failings of the private market for those under 65. The factors that have brought about this debate aren't going to disappear in the absence of reform -- odds are they will get worse, and the pressure to make real changes will only continue to grow.

Unlike the 1990s, people are more plugged in than ever to these issues, and understand what the options are.

Posted by: JPRS | December 15, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

The problem isn't Lieberman... The problem is Democrats who continue to embrace him as one of them!

He clearly disgraced himself by campaigning for McCain. Lieberman has mooned the Democrats and the people of Connecticut brazenly and openly.

Time for all Democrats to tell "Joe" to "kiss my a**," and mean it with all of their hearts...

I do!

Posted by: gmoore40 | December 15, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

OPEN LETTER TO SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, Harry Reid.

Dear Senator Reid:

I am not a politician like you and I know you have more intimate knowledge of the people in your caucus than a citizen like me. But how much longer do you have to give in to Senator Lieberman's insatiable and egocentric demands on this health care reform bill? He has shown over the years that he is not on the progressive side. He actively supported former President GW Bush on almost every front when his former Democratic Party colleagues were not supportive of the administration's policies. As late as last presidential elections, he supported Senator John McCain against candidate Barack Obama.

Yet under your majority, he continues to enjoy undeserved leadership prerogatives to the detriment of other loyal party faithfuls. It was early this year when it looked like he was going to be punished that he appeared remorseful for his actions. But now, he has gotten what he wanted and he has reverted back to his old nature.

My suggestions to you sir:

1) Strip Senator Lieberman of his leadership positions in the Senate.

2) Work with the Republican senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe on how best to apply the trigger option

3) Make it known candidly to the president that the passage of a meaningless health care reform that has been so watered down is as useless as no reform

4) Passing the law is not a make-or-break situation at this time. Target vulnerable Republican Senators for the next elections and vigorously compete with the goal of achieving about 62-63 senate seats in the Senate in 2011.

Although the concept of party discipline is weak in a presidential system of government like in the US, yet the Republican Party is very good at enforcing party discipline at crucial moments than the Democratic Party. It was not long ago that the Bush White House tagged you all as "obstructionists." What prevents the Democratic Party from launching similar campaign against these Republican Party elected officials? What is the point in your docility? Though I am not a politician, but I am a student of politics and public policy. There is no compassion in a political game. Harold Laswell defined politics as "who gets what, when and how."

To that end, please sir use your political leverage, experience and acumen very well. Strive to convince the president that there have to be consequences for Senator Lieberman's actions and that may mean no health care reform this Congressional session. Put the bill to vote and let it pass or fail and if the latter is the case, let us see the naysayers and then you can target them for the elections in 2010. Otherwise,if the law passes with all these cuts, it is dead on arrival already.

Yours sincerely,

Concerned Citizen.

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Posted by: huangzhixian170 | December 15, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

What a sad day, that millions of people will be harmed by the actions of Lieberman (I-Aetna). The only bright spot was reading about the potential rejuvenation of the Whig party, which might give thoughtful Republicans a home, give the Democrats a legitimate opposition party, and leave the GOP to stew in the juices of the tea party, birthers, Plainites, Becksters, etc.

Posted by: mgorman1 | December 15, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Write a good bill. Vote it up or down. Let everyone know who votes "no" that you will destroy them. That's the LBJ way.

Think of what the civil rights act of 1964 would have looked like if Obama had been President. Folks would still be riding in the back of the bus.

Posted by: rusty3 | December 15, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Screw it!

Obama shouldn't sign a crap bill at all. He should use the State of the Union address to berate and humiliate the 41 Senators that are standing in the way of true healthcare reform.

No healthcare reform means the insurance companies still drive the healthcare train and that is the status quo. Tie the status quo around the neck of the Republicans and Lieberman. They'll fold like a cheap suit.

Posted by: palmtree2001 | December 15, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Poor Poor E.J. whining and crying about Liberman killing off the Medicare buy in, better known as single payer coming soon. He should join his fellow liberar Ezra Kline and celebrate all the big government left wing aspect of the Obamacare bill even without single payer coming soon. Come on E.J. massive amounts of new government bureacacies running every aspect of the U.S. healthcare system: deciding what type of insurance coverage everyone will have to carry, how much everyone will have to pay and they'll get millions of new customers to collect money from via the insurance mandate. How about all those new big government rules and regulations, the massive tax increases? Come on E.J. think of all those nasty insurance companies who'll for all intents and purposes become wholly owned subsidiaries of the federal government. What could be better. How about all those people who'll now be dependent on the federal government to deliver one of the most important things in our live, healthcare. Think of all those newly dependent sheep out there who'll loyally keep voting Democrat year after year to keep the gravy train flowing. Think of the massive tax increases and huge amounts of new federal spending. Ain't it great? Come on E.J. cheer up. So what if after all that 24 million people still won't have health insurance. Maybe next year.

Posted by: RobT1 | December 15, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman should be stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security committee whether this piece of crap bill passes or not. He clearly cares only for Joe and no one else. The thought that the dems would lose his "support" in the caucus is moot at this point as a concern for kicking his butt from any chairmanships. Kick this loser to the curb already.

Posted by: Observer001 | December 15, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

RobT1, are you being ironic or are you just a moron? You complain about government bureaucracies as if we don't deal with layer after layer of corporate bureaucracy in our health care system now. Seriously, are you retarded? (Rhetorical question).

Posted by: Observer001 | December 15, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Ah EJ, democracy is hell isn't it? The only thing we are learning from this fiasco of a debate is that every Democrat senator has a price. And it comes at taxpayer expense.

Posted by: delusional1 | December 15, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Really wished the insurance industry had as much control over Liebermann as the Leftwingtards believe, but look at Evan Bayh.

An even larger body of insurance industry control is sitting right there in Indianapolis. For many years you could get 6 flights a day from Indy to Hartford, but only 1 to New York city.

The Indianapolis powerhouse companies insure insurance companies of all sorts. They count their liabilities and assets in the trillions of dollars.

Now, any Leftwintards still here think Evan Bayh is not a captive toy for the Insurance industry?

He'll bail if the reinsurance companies don't like what they see.

His father before him always voted for Big Steel!

Posted by: muawiyah | December 15, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

The majority of health care related companies are already nonprofit /nonstock corporations. Only a few make profits, and then none of them make as much as 10%.

I doubt anyone would notice your proposal if it were enacted into law.

Now, for some meaningful health care revisions ~

(1) Require all patients admitted to any health care facility be BILLED for the services provided.

(2) Those who don't pay should be slapped with a $250,000 penalty and 16 to 20 years in prison.

Posted by: muawiyah | December 15, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman is a schmuck consumed by vengence and an insult to the people of Connecticut who he's supposed to be representing. He won't run again because he knows he would lose in a landslide. Thus he is free to spend his final term in the senate indulging his spitefulness and representing only himself and The Hartford. Such a disgrace.

Posted by: EyesWideOpen8 | December 15, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Is Lieberman protecting the insurance industry or is he really doing this to weaken the Obama administration? We know the right is determined to make the health care bill Obama's Waterloo.

Lieberman's betrayal may be an effort by the Israel lobby to neutralize the administration's pressure on Israel for various concessions regarding a settlement of the Israel/Palestinian issue.

Posted by: Nodoubt1 | December 16, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Do you even read the Constitution or understand we are a Republic, not a pure "democracy" by intention? You have heard of the phrase "tyranny of the majority", right?

"The United States Constitution is deliberately inefficient.

The Separation of Powers devised by the framers of the Constitution was designed to do one primary thing: to prevent the majority from ruling with an iron fist. Based on their experience, the framers shied away from giving any branch of the new government too much power. The separation of powers provides a system of shared power known as Checks and Balances."

quoted from: US Constitution Online

http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_sepp.html#america

Posted by: tspafford | December 16, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The fact remains that big insurance by refusing care to patients and reimbursement to doctors over typos has ticked everyone off - both patients and doctors. They have a virtual monopoly over the whole process a hugely well financed lobby team and representatives on both sides of the isle.

A friend of mine recently laid off without children - just he and his spouse is paying $2,500.00 dollars a month for his COBRA - that is outrageous. Health insurance costs more than his mortgage – unbelievable.

When Bush implored people to go out and spend - well that's kind of hard to do when you are buried in health care bills, filling and refilling out forms and in foreclosure because you made a typo.

The system is broke and well heavily stacked in the insurance industry's favor - with no incentive except global economic melt down to fix it.

Oh wait a minute didn't that just happen....


Paul Burke
Author-Journey Home

Posted by: JourneyHomeBurke | December 16, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Heaven forbid Lieberman escape criticism because he listens to his constituents and votes against the monstrosity of expanding Medicaid. Heaven. For. Bid. Clueless yuks you all are.

Posted by: shecallsmemoe | December 16, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Vote for Howard Dean for President in 2012.
The democratic party and Obama have totally sold out its own constituency that favors a public option by 80%. They should tell the conservadems that the Democratic party will do every thing in their power to defeat them in the next election. This health care bill is the biggest windfall to the insurance industry in U.S. history. Howard Dean is right in telling our representatives to vote against this betrayal.

Posted by: thomasvhs | December 16, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Lieberman simply wants bought off, like Sen. Landreau from Louisiana?

Posted by: dmedman50 | December 16, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Lieberman's behavior is indeed unconscionable. What's even more unconscionable is that the Democrats give him the power to throw his demented tantrums. Get rid of the filibuster. It's an antiquated device, anyway. It would have the great advantage of cutting egocentric, sanctimonious, and venal, people, like Lieberman, down to size.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | December 16, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I think the evidence is overwhelming that Lieberman double-crossed Reid, Schumer and the rest of his colleagues.
“The Medicare buy-in compromise was not announced until it had been cleared with Lieberman. I was in close touch with the negotiations at the time, and everyone involved thought Lieberman was on board.”

But then he received his insurance company payoff.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 16, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Lieinglberman is trying to upstage Billy Tozan and Doctor senator Bill (video, Terry Schiavo is just resting) Frist.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 16, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The US National Government Needs to be Fixed. France replaced its Medieval States and County type units with 100 Equal Units called Departments of about 600 Thousand People each, the size of Saint Petersburg Florida's County, Pinellas County! The United States needs to build a Computer Program, which will subdivide the entire United States into 500 such equal Units. Then it will be a mere matter of time, before the entire United States Government adopts it in a Constitutional Amendment! Then the U.S. Congress can do the right thing and brng the entire United States under Universal Medicaid/Medicare. While Obama's plan will save only 50 Thousand Lives a Year, a bill which would enact a French Style Salt Tax and put rational limits on Salt in Food, would save 250 Thousand lives per year, five times as many lives! To Punish Anti-Democratic Senator Lieberman, the U.S. Congress needs to enact a law saying No More Money is to be sent to Israel until, a Universal Medicaid/Medicare plan is enacted.

Posted by: Xeno7777777 | December 16, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama's Administration foolishly hopes Israel will take out Iran; the U.S. needs to Invaade Saudi Arabia and Iranian Ally Syria, using tactical Nuclear Weapons, and take out Iranian Neo-Platonist's in Qom, the Republican Guard Barracks, their Nuclear Facilities, with carpet bombing with Neutron Weapons. Saudi Nationals are bribing locals in Iraq and Afghanistan to kill American soldiers, so Saoidi Arabia, Kuwait, and Syria needs cleaning up with Neutron bombs, and New regimes Installed. Thats what Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Nixon would have done.

Posted by: Xeno7777777 | December 16, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The Original Federalists were Nationalists; Federalism was only a temporary expedient; but it has lasted 217 years, so I do Not approve Obama's proposed bill. Obama states that we will amend, and amend, and amend, his Bill once passed. Well, the U.S.still awaits 217 years on an equitable division of Political Units, and the enactment of French Style Departments to replace the Medieval States and Counties.

Posted by: Xeno7777777 | December 16, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Angry with the turncoat Lieberman?

Please contribute to the MoveOn campaign to raise $1M in 48 hours.

Send a strong message and make sure the lobbyists and business interests that Lieberman works for cannot get him re-elected ever again.

Posted by: sambam | December 16, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

"They know the buy-in, though a good idea, is less important than moving toward a system of near-universal coverage."

But the bigger picture is--universal coverage at what cost?

This bill has no brakes on the spiraling costs of the very fat health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

These costs were the spur for reform to begin with, and they have not been dealt with in this bill. This is not unlike giving bailout money with no strings attached to the financial sector, but it's worse.

Obscene costs from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries have already crippled small businesses and toppled big industries in this country--like the auto industry.

Now our taxes will go into the coffers of the same insurance pirates who currently claim a 45% profit.

Surely we deserve a sounder bill whether it comes before the end of the year or not.

Posted by: janeb2 | December 17, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

"They know the buy-in, though a good idea, is less important than moving toward a system of near-universal coverage."

But the bigger picture is--universal coverage at what cost?

This bill has no brakes on the spiraling costs of the very fat health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

These costs were the spur for reform to begin with, and they have not been dealt with in this bill. This is not unlike giving bailout money with no strings attached to the financial sector, but it's worse.

Obscene costs from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries have already crippled small businesses and toppled big industries in this country--like the auto industry.

Now our taxes will go into the coffers of the same insurance pirates who currently claim a 45% profit.

Surely we deserve a sounder bill whether it comes before the end of the year or not.


Posted by: janeb2 | December 17, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

To "Sambam"/moveon.com:

Look at the elephant in the room.
It's not Joe Lieberman, though he helped---

It is THIS BILL which is a BIG Christmas gift to health insurance companies and Big Pharma.

Get it defeated.

We can do better.

We have to.

Posted by: janeb2 | December 17, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

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