The strategy to rally all the Senate Democrats behind a public plan hit a brick wall on Tuesday, after Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) announced his intention to filibuster health reform legislation over the provision, Politico is reporting.
Lieberman, who caucuses with Democrats and is positioning himself as a fiscal hawk on the issue, said he opposes any health care bill that includes a government-run insurance program — even if it includes a provision allowing states to opt out of the program, as [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid’s has said the Senate bill will.
“We’re trying to do too much at once,” Lieberman said. “To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don’t think we need it now.”
TPMDC’s Brian Beutler has more from Lieberman:
“I want to vote for health care reform this year. But I also told [Reid] that if the bill remains what it is now, I will not be able to support a cloture motion before final passage. Therefore I will try to stop the passage of the bill.”
Of note, Lieberman also opposed the comprehensive health care reforms pushed by the Clinton administration 16 years ago, though he came out in vocal support of the vague concept of universal health care during his tough reelection bid in 2006.
As The Hill noted yesterday, Connecticut is home to 72 insurance-industry headquarters.