Lieberman’s ever-evolving rationale

LIEBERMAN’S EVER-EVOLVING RATIONALE…. Joe Lieberman has opposed a public option from the outset. That’s not especially interesting. What’s more noteworthy is the way in which his reasoning keeps changing.

In June, Lieberman said, “I don’t favor a public option because I think there’s plenty of competition in the private insurance market.” That didn’t make sense, but it was his story and he was sticking to it. In July, Lieberman said he opposes a public option because “the public is going to end up paying for it.” I’m not even sure what that means. In August, he said we’d have to wait “until the economy’s out of recession,” which is incoherent, since a public option, even if passed this year, still wouldn’t kick in for quite a while.

On MSNBC this afternoon, Lieberman moved onto a new argument.

“I mean a government-run health insurance plan. The public doesn’t support it. They know that, ultimately, taxpayers will pay for it. They don’t want us to add to the debt. They feel that the existing system, private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, does pretty well.”

First, the public does support a public option. Second, as Jamison Foser noted, the cost concerns are unfounded. And third, if the status quo “does pretty well,” there’d be no hunger for reform.

But watching the evolution of Lieberman’s thinking on this, it seems he just bounces from justification to justification, trying to rationalize the decision he made months ago to oppose competition for private insurers. The search for a credible rationale continues.

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