Thursday, October 29, 2009

Joe Lieberman--the Republican's Democrat--Lover of War & Friend of the FIRE Sector, Hates Medical Options for the Poor

Senator Joe Lieberman (D, CT), rabid Zionist, enabler of Israel's aggression and crimes, champion of the tragic war in Iraq, provocateur for an attack on Iran, has threatened to help prevent up or down vote on Senate's ghost of a "health care" bill. Lieberman was Al Gore's vice-Presidential running mate in '04 but gave a speech supporting John McCain's Presidential candidacy at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

The following article indicates that Lieberman doesn't understand the public option. I believe otherwise. I think he understands it perfectly but chooses to lie about its costs so as to protect insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

See also the following prescient article by Robert Scheer, "Lieberman Twists the Knife."
FIRE sector = Finance (aka Wall Street), Insurance, and Real Estate. FIRE

Lieberman Doesn't Understand the Public Option
Posted: 2009-10-28 13:36:00 UTC

Sen. Joseph Lieberman [I, CT] went on Fox this afternoon to restate what it would take for him to break from a Republican filibuster and allow an up-or-down vote on the Senate’s health care bill. Via The Hill:

“Just take this government-created, government-run health insurance company that will cost the taxpayers, premium payers and the debt a lot of money — take it off the table,” Lieberman said.
This is basically how he talked about the public option yesterday as well. Thing is, he seems to completely misunderstand what the public option actually is and how it would work.

Taking his statement point-by-point, he is correct that it would in fact be a “government-created, government-run health insurance company.” But he’s wrong on the other points. The public option would not cost taxpayers or the debt a cent. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has repeatedly scored public option plans as saving the government money. The bigger and more “robust” the plan, the more it saves. And as for Lieberman’s claim that it would cost premium payers, CBO has estimated that it would save premium payers up to 10% on the cost of their insurance.

As I’ve stated repeatedly on this blog, the public option is entirely funded by taxpayer premiums. It is not an entitlement program, like Lieberman claimed it was yesterday, and it is not run with federal funds. Both the House Tri-Committee bill and the Senate HELP bill that includes a public option provide start up money ($2 bln in the House bill, unspecified in the HELP bill) for the public option but require it to be payed back in full over a 10-year period.

The House bill even contains the following paragraphs in its start-up funding section just to make it extra clear that the federal funds are limited to start-up costs and that no other federal funds can be appropriated to it, even to save it if it’s failing:

C) LIMITATION ON FUNDING- Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing any additional appropriations to the Account, other than such amounts as are otherwise provided with respect to other Exchange-participating health benefits plans.

(3) NO BAILOUTS- In no case shall the public health insurance option receive any Federal funds for purposes of insolvency in any manner similar to the manner in which entities receive Federal funding under the Troubled Assets Relief Program of the Secretary of the Treasury.
The final Senate bill that Lieberman will be voting on is not publicly available yet, but you can be sure that it will include similar limitations on federal funding for the public option. As soon as it’s available, I’ll find the bill text relating to funding for the public option and post it to this blog for all to read.

Meanwhile, faced with Lieberman’s opposition to a public option plan that doesn’t even exist, Democratic leaders are reminding the world that they still have an procedural option available that would make Lieberman irrelevant — budget reconciliation — and they’re not afraid to use it.

Lieberman Twists the Knife

By Robert Scheer

October 28, 2009 "Truthdig" -- Is there a more hypocritical figure in American politics than Joe Lieberman? The Connecticut senator declared Tuesday that he would support a filibuster of any health care reform bill that has a public option—even the version with the “trigger” compromise accepted by Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe—because it might cost money.

“I think that a lot of people may think that the public option is free,” said Lieberman, one of the Senate’s big spenders, in a suddenly frugal mood. “It’s not. It’s going to cost the taxpayers and people that have health insurance now, and if it doesn’t, it’s going to add terribly to our national debt.”

This from a senator who, as much as anyone, helped run up the national debt since 9/11 by pushing to raise the military budget to its highest level since World War II. It is a budget inflated by enormous expenditures on high-tech weaponry irrelevant to combating terror, such as the $2-billion-a-piece submarines—produced in his home state of Connecticut—that he claimed were needed to combat al-Qaida, a landlocked enemy holed up in caves. The same week that he and others in Congress passed a $680-billion defense bill larded with pork of the sort he has always supported, Lieberman is worried about the impact of a very limited public option on the debt.

Lieberman, whose state is also home to insurance companies that are opposed to any consumer-friendly medical coverage alternative, boldly stated that his opposition to even the most limited version of a public option should not be surprising: “I think my colleagues know for a long time that I’ve been opposed to a government-created, government-run insurance company.” Perhaps during his filibuster to prevent a vote on the public option Lieberman can square that position with his longtime support of the massive government–run insurance programs Medicare and Social Security.

Maybe he can also take that time to justify his strong support for the government bailout of troubled banking and insurance companies that has tripled the federal deficit this year to $1.4 trillion. Is AIG not now a “government-run insurance company,” and doesn’t the $185 billion of taxpayer money tossed at that sorry enterprise add up to more than twice the yearly cost of the health reform package? And that’s without considering the trillions of tax dollars put into play to shore up Citigroup, Bank of America, GM, Chrysler and those other suddenly socialized sectors of American corporate life.

If a scant public choice in health care is so threatening to our way of life, because health care alone must be kept a pristine captive of the most destructive impulses of an unbridled free market, then why not privatize Medicare as well as the publicly financed health care programs for government workers—including those in Congress like Lieberman, veterans and the active military? And while we’re at it, why not revive that Republican fantasy, popular in their ranks just a few years ago, of privatizing Social Security by turning the most effective government program over to the vagaries of the stock market?

I do continue to begrudgingly respect the consistency, if not the wisdom, of libertarians like Ron Paul who oppose all of this big-government intrusion into the economy. At least their belief in the efficiency of the free market, affirmed in opposition to the banking bailout, is not compromised by a willingness to throw trillions in taxpayer dollars into backing the riskiest of corporate bets. But it is not possible to feel anything but loathing for those like Lieberman who vote for every big government program, no matter how wasteful, in support of big business, but draw the line at a program designed to cut medical costs for the ordinary citizens they have been sworn to serve.

Lieberman’s threat to thwart a vote on sorely needed health care legislation, complete with a public option that a majority of Americans have consistently supported, should spell the end of his connection with the Democratic caucus. It should also cost him the committee chairmanship he was granted in order to guarantee the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster. But a filibuster, which would expose Lieberman and the others as irresponsible wreckers of essential reform, is not the worst outcome. The surrender by the Democratic leadership to this blackmail by the party’s disgraced former vice presidential candidate would be a blow from which the party would not deserve to recover.

Copyright © 2009 Truthdig, L.L.C.

Amerika v. 6.0 (The Best We Can Do)

Steve Earle
© 2002 E-Squared LLC, Sheridan Square Entertainment, LLC

Look at ya
Yeah, take a look in the mirror now tell me what you see
Another satisfied customer in the front of the line for the American dream
I remember when we was both out on the boulevard
Talkin' revolution and singin' the blues
Nowadays it's letters to the editor and cheatin' on our taxes
Is the best that we can do
Come on

Look around
There's doctors down on Wall Street
Sharpenin' their scalpels and tryin' to cut a deal
Meanwhile, back at the hospital
We got accountants playin' God and countin' out the pills
Yeah, I know, that sucks – that your HMO
Ain't doin' what you thought it would do
But everybody's gotta die sometime and we can't save everybody
It's the best that we can do

Four score and a hundred and fifty years ago
Our forefathers made us equal as long as we can pay
Yeah, well maybe that wasn't exactly what they was thinkin'
Version six-point-oh of the American way
But hey we can just build a great wall around the country club
To keep the riff-raff out until the slump is through
Yeah, I realize that ain't exactly democratic, but it's either them or us and
And it's the best we can do

Yeah, passionely conservative
It's the best we can do

Conservatively passionate
It's the best we can do

Meanwhile, still thinkin'
Hey, let's wage a war on drugs
It's the best we can do
Well, I don't know about you, but I kinda dig this global warming thing...

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