Lieberman Encouraged by ‘Deal’

Posted December 9, 2009 at 9:50am

Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) said Wednesday he was “encouraged— but didn’t immediately lend his support to a compromise to the public insurance option negotiated by a group of 10 liberal and moderate Democrats, which according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) came to a “broad agreement— late Tuesday evening.The plan, which is now in the hands of the Congressional Budget Office for an official cost estimate, appears to jettison the proposed creation of a government-run insurance company that Lieberman has vowed to filibuster if it survives the final bill in any form.But the compromise plan also would greatly expand Medicare and Medicaid, and Lieberman in a statement Wednesday morning suggested the CBO’s review of those components could determine his support. Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats, was loosely affiliated with the group of 10 Senators.Sources confirmed that the compromise includes a trigger that could lead to the creation of the kind of public insurance option favored by liberals, which could put Lieberman’s support for the plan in doubt.Lieberman’s full statement reads as follows:“I am encouraged by the progress toward a consensus on proposals to send to the Congressional Budget Office to review. I believe that it is important to pass legislation that expands access to the millions who do not have coverage, improves quality and lowers costs while not impeding our economic recovery or increasing the debt. “My opposition to a government-run insurance option, including any option with a trigger, has been clear for months and remains my position today.“Regarding the ‘Medicare buy-in’ proposal that is being discussed, we must remain vigilant about protecting and extending the solvency of the program, which is now in a perilous financial condition.“It is my understanding that at this point there is no legislative language so I look forward to analyzing the details of the plan and reviewing analysis from the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.—