For months now, media critics like Media Matters’ Jamison Foser have pointed out that the press have often demonstrated a double standard when questioning opponents and proponents of the public option, only asking advocates about whether they think it is “better to have nothing than to have a plan that does not include the public option.” On CBS’ Face The Nation today, however, host Bob Schieffer put the question to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who claims that he is “all for health care reform, but is threatening to join a Republican filibuster to stop any reform bill that has a public option.
“But wouldn’t that mean that you might wind up with nothing instead of something?” asked Schieffer. Lieberman responded by saying that supporters of the public option are “stopping us from getting something done” because they’re making the option “the litmus test.” Pressed again by Schieffer, Lieberman admitted that he would prefer “nothing”:
SCHIEFFER: But is what you’re also saying is that nothing is better than a government health insurance, or a health insurance reform that includes a public option? Nothing is better than that?
LIEBERMAN: Well, the truth is that nothing is better than that because I think we ought to follow, if I may, the doctor’s oath in Congress as we deal with health care reform, do no harm.
To support his claim that the public option would do harm, Lieberman said that the Congressional Budget Office found that under the House’s health care plan, premiums for the public option would be higher than the average premium in private plans in the exchange. But as TPMDC’s Brian Beutler reported, this is actually an argument for a more robust public option. Watch it:
In his discussion with Schieffer, Lieberman acted as though the public option was the only thing stopping him from supporting health care reform. But this ignores the fact that Lieberman opposed the Baucus bill last month, which did not contain a public option. Apparently, Lieberman truly just wants “nothing” when it comes to health care reform.