Senator Joseph Lieberman's (I-Conn) threat to filibuster health care legislation that includes a public option for insurance coverage has sent minor shock-waves throughout Washington. Among progressives the question being asked is: How could one senator, (TPJ: And a former Democratic V.P. candidate) through threat of filibuster, hold a historic reform process hostage? Fifteen years ago, as a freshman Democrat, Lieberman actually worked to have the filibuster killed. He deemed the parliamentary maneuver "a dinosaur" that had become "a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today." And, in tandem with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), he introduced legislation that -- if it had been enacted -- would have made his current opposition to health care absolutely toothless.
TPJ: I know Republicans love Joe Lieberman right now but they need to be careful because Joe will drop them just as quickly as he dropped the Democrats. Joe is his own party and shamelessly will do whatever it takes to get attention, power and influence. Lieberman clearly isn't in touch with anyone outside his own ego. He certainly doesn't give a rat's ass about the voters of Connecticut who over-whelmingly support a public option. Shifty Joe supported a strong universal health-care system in 2006 before he was against it.
I'm beginning to think he's told so many lies, burned so many bridges and switched positions so many times that I think he be a sociopath. How else do you explain him seemingly being motivated by pure, arrogant self-interest. In his mind he has ever right to hold things up because he's clearly taking twisted pleasure in being the "man of the hour." He's shown us before that he's willing to go down as the man who killed health care reform just to stick it to the Democratic Party. That's the sign of a sick individual.
So Joe, it's time for you to go, go, go. I will lose a large chunk of what little trust, support and confidence I have left for Harry Reid and the rest of the Democratic leadership If they don't kick Lieberman from his chairmanship. As well as strip him of his seniority should he vote with the Republicans to not even allow the public option bill to be voted upon. That said, I'm not ecstatic about the public option that came out of the House. I wish it was more robust but I guess it's better than nothing. I guess at least we get our foot in the door for long-term health care reform. It's a platform to improve upon. Medicare started off as a pretty bare bones program too but eventually was expanded into what we have today.
However, if the public option that is passed only has a small percentage of people in it then it will be harder to negotiate lower prices. It will have less bargaining power. And if it's only made up of sick people then it won't be as effective in lowering the risk pool and thus overall costs. That's because the people who can qualify for it would likely have a lot of pre-existing conditions that prevented them from getting private insurance. That is why we should have avoided this whole mess and gone with "Medicare for all." That would have been an easy slogan to understand and most people are relatively happy with Medicare. I was on it for a time and liked it just fine. I'll go back on it again if need be. It's a bit costly to tax-payers but only because it's mostly made up of sick and old people. If we extended it to include everyone then the costs would seem to dramatically reduce.
For the life of me I'll never understand why the Democrats didn't start the negotiating with "Medicare for all" as the initial bargaining chip. It's a stronger place to bargain from. Anyone who has haggled for prices knows you don't start the bargaining at the highest price you're will to pay. Then again Democrats have a way of fucking up a good thing and taking a perfectly strong majority and squandering it. Third party anyone?