Reid: Lieberman is ‘Least’ of Dems’ Problems on Health Reform
Yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) thrust himself into the center of the health reform debate by suggesting that he’ll support a GOP filibuster if the bill contains a public insurance plan, as the Democrats’ proposal does.
It’s not exactly news that Lieberman opposes the public option. In June he was telling reporters that (1) the country can’t afford such a plan and (2) there are plenty of private options out there already, so why create another?
Of note, Lieberman doesn’t sit on either of the Senate committees with jurisdiction over health policy, but he does represent Connecticut, which is a top hub for health insurance companies. Lieberman insists that his opposition to the public plan — anathema to those companies — has nothing to do with protecting the regional industry.
Through it all, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has downplayed the significance of Lieberman’s potential defection.
“I don’t have anyone that I have worked harder with, have more respect for in the Senate than Joe Lieberman,” Reid said Tuesday, according to Roll Call.
Sen. Lieberman will let us get on the bill, and he’ll be involved in the amendment process. … But Joe Lieberman is the least of Harry Reid’s problems.
Reid didn’t specify what those other problems are, but chances are they go by the names Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.).