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Don't make it up, Joe

November 20, 2009 - Jim Anderson
It’s time to ask Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., not what newspapers he reads, but on what planet he resides.

Lieberman, who has threatened to filibuster any health care bill that includes a public option, accused Democrats this week of “bait and switch” tactics.

“It’s classic politics of our time that if you look at the campaign last year, presidential, you can’t find a mention of the public option,” Lieberman said. “It was added after the election as a part of what we normally consider health insurance reform — insurance market reforms ...”

Say what?

Added after the election?

Senator, some help, please. Back in February 2008, I wrote this in a Daily News column:

“Any plan to reform health care financing faces a tough fight. Politically powerful interests will protect their profits and turf, making it hard to hold down costs. The Democratic presidential candidates want to build upon employer-based private insurance by adding other coverage options, including public plans.”

Was I in a paranormal state?

I’m worried, too, about having written this, back in May 2008:

“Private insurance plans would continue, but government subsidies or tax credits would be offered to help the low-income uninsured afford premiums. Both Clinton and Obama would give consumers a new option to buy insurance from the federal government, with policies along the lines of Medicare.”

Was the 2008 Democratic Party platform part of the bait and switch? It refers to the need for a “public plan." Barack Obama must have missed the memo, too, when he made repeated campaign references to government-backed insurance similar to what members of Congress get.

Sen. Lieberman, I work for a newspaper in Iron Mountain, Mich.

On what planet do you operate?

I’m sorry to be sarcastic, but when you claim you “can’t find a mention” of the public option from the 2008 campaign, who are you trying to fool?

Or, more accurately, as one of the insurance industry’s key allies in Congress, whose campaign war chest are you trying to protect?

You say it’s the wrong time to create a government insurance program. You claim it could increase the debt, raise taxes and increase insurance premiums.

If that’s the argument you want to make, then try to make that argument.

But don’t make stuff up.


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