Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he would be including a version of the public option (with a state opt-out provision) in the Senate’s final health care bill. Although all of the details of the public plan are yet to be determined, progressives cheered the move. As Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) admitted, without all the pressure that progressives in and out of Congress put on legislators, it is unlikely there would have been a public option included in Reid’s final bill.
Yet this afternoon, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) broke with the Democratic caucus that he is a member of and vowed to join a Republican-led filibuster if the public option is not removed from the bill. In response, insurance company stocks — which plummeted Monday as Reid made his announcement — shot up after Lieberman made his announcement around 1:30 pm:
Lieberman’s opposition to the public option puts him completely out of step with Connecticut voters. As this polling from 538.com’s Nate Silver shows, voters in every single one of Connecticut’s congressional districts favor the inclusion of a public option in health care legislation by wide margins. The stated reason for Lieberman’s opposition to the public option — that it would increase the debt and create another entitlement — is misplaced. As ThinkProgress has noted before, the public option would be self-sustaining and would cut the deficit.
Insurance giant Aetna, represented by the blue line above, fared the best among all of the health insurance companies. Aetna is based in Hartford, CT. It is also the tenth largest single private contributor to Lieberman’s re-election committee.