Joe Lieberman’s Bogus Public Option Reasoning

Joe Lieberman proposes:

“We’re trying to do too much at once,” Lieberman said. “To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don’t think we need it now.”

Lieberman added that he’d vote against a public option plan “even with an opt-out because it still creates a whole new government entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line.”

Jon Chait disposes:


It literally makes no sense whatsoever. A public plan does not provide a new entitlement. It just doesn’t. It’s a different form of providing an entitlement. Nor is it more expensive. In fact, the stronger versions of the public plan would cost less money. Lieberman is just babbling nonsense here.

It’s also worth emphasizing that while only the House-style public option will save a lot of money, even the relatively weak public option from the Reid draft would save money relative to doing what Lieberman wants. He’s talking about filibustering a deficit-reducing bill in order to try to remove a cost-reducing provision, and doing so on grounds of fiscal probity. It’s ludicrous, and the political reporters covering him need to point this out.