HEY, JOE LIEBERMAN: What Part Of ‘The American Public Wants A Public Option’ Don’t You Understand?


REUTERS: Most Americans would like to see a “public option” in health insurance reform but doubt anything Congress does will lower costs or improve care in the short term, according to a poll released on Thursday. The survey of 2,999 households by Thomson Reuters Corp shows a public skeptical about the cost, quality and accessibility of medical care. Just under 60 percent of those surveyed said they would like a public option as part of any final healthcare reform legislation, which Republicans and a few Democrats oppose. MORE

CBS NEWS: During the 2008 elections, Joe Lieberman attended the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. and pulled a Zell Miller, delivering a rousing speech – for Lieberman, that is – supporting supporting John McCain over Barack Obama for president. Back in the old days, such an act of party disloyalty would have been automatic justification for banishment to political Siberia. But after their election victory in November, the Democratic leadership held its collective nose and cut a pragmatic deal: Lieberman, now a self-styled “independent minded Democrat” got to keep his chairmanship in the caucus, his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on health-care-lobbyjpeg.jpgHomeland Security and Governmental Affairs and his seniority – thanks in no small part to support from then President-elect Obama. In return, the Democrats wanted Lieberman to remain loyal in case they ever needed to derail a Republican filibuster. Now we know how that worked out. On Tuesday, the Connecticut Senator became the first Democrat to warn that he would not support cloture if any health care reform legislation includes a public option. MORE

RELATED: Just as Holy Joe wants to make the cloture vote a referendum on the bill’s passage, Democratic leaders ought to make the cloture vote a referendum on Lieberman’s seniority within the caucus. A vote “no” on cloture should be a vote “no” on retaining seniority status, and with it not only his chairmanship but also his entire slate of committee choices. Whoever is next on the wait lists for Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Small Business gets bumped up onto those committees, and Lieberman gets whatever assignments are left after the other 59 members of the caucus have filled the resulting openings. Presumably, that would give Lieberman the junior seats on, say, the Rules Committee, the Special Committee on Aging, and the Joint Committees on Printing and the Library. Maybe someone on Reid’s staff — or maybe Schumer’s, since this is more his style — can sort through the committee requests, run the numbers, and quietly pass on to Lieberman the list of committees he would be left with if his seniority were reset to zero as of the day of the cloture vote. Then let Joe see if the GOP is willing to kick any of its own members off of the committees he wants in order to make room for him. If he can cut that deal, fine. If not, then Holy Joe can contemplate exactly how to keep sufficient corporate money coming in to his campaign for 2012 if he has to spend the next three years sitting in the back of the room on the crappiest committees in Washington. MORE

public-option.gifRELATED: Top 15 Joe Lieberman Betrayals Of The Progressive Cause

RELATED: Other Senators That Would/Could Fuck Up Health Care Reform

RELATED: Liberals favor tying reimbursement rates to Medicare because it would keep costs down and would help get the public option up and running. Yale Professor Jacob Hacker, the intellectual father of the public option, insists that the public plan would have a very hard time succeeding if it was required to negotiate rates with providers. The public option tied to Medicare rates saves $110 billion over ten years. Requiring it to negotiate rates only saves $25 billion. If leadership goes with the negotiated-rate plan, that $85 billion difference will have to come from somewhere to meet President Obama’s ten-year, $900 billion price ceiling. The fattest target is the subsidies to help people afford insurance. MORE

HUFFINGTON POST: More than three out of every four Americans feel it is important to have a “choice” lobbyist.gifbetween a government-run health care insurance option and private coverage, according to a public opinion poll released on Thursday.  A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June. MORE

CBS NEWS: In his speech, Mr. Obama argued that a public health option, health exchanges, and other reforms would increase competition in the health insurance marketplace. While 46 percent of Americans agree with the president, 19 percent disagree, and 26 percent say there would be no impact. MORE

TALK LEFT: While [some] are spinning as hard as they can against the public option, it is worth noting that the Washington Post poll they are using for this purpose actually shows 76% support the current public option proposals. MORE

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Here’s a problem for the GOP, high-lighted in the latest Quinnipiac University poll. The party’s attacks on health care reform, led by charges of a government takeover, seem to have pounded down American opinion not just on the President’s health reform efforts, but on their own image. And more, one thing that remains broadly popular: a government-run health insurance option. Here are the numbers. President Obama remains reasonably popular with a 50% job approval rating, even though only 40% of folks like his health care reform push, compared to 47% who do not. What they do like is the public option, by a very healthy 61% to 34% margin. MORE


ATLANTIC:  Media Matters for America points out that more Americans believe in UFOs than oppose the public option. It sounds outlandish, but it’s about right: a 2007 Associated Press poll (cited by Media Matters) finds that 34 percent of Americans believe in the existence of UFOs. Meanwhile, anywhere from 26 to 42 percent oppose the public option, according to recent major polls not commissioned by backers or opponents of said option. MORE


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