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Joe Lieberman: For Medicare Buy-In Before He Was Against It

December 14, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Over the weekend, Sen. Joe Lieberman [I, CT], one of the key swing votes on health care, informed Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] that he would vote with the Republicans to filibuster the Democrats’ latest health care “deal,” which would drop the public option in exchange for allowing people aged 55 to 64 to buy into Medicare. To be clear, Lieberman opposes keeping the public option in the bill as well.

Talking Points Memo today had a good catch. As a Vice Presidential candidate in 2000 and as recently as September of this year, Lieberman was a strong backer of opening up Medicare and allowing people to buy into it. In 2000 Bangor Daily News reported:

[Lieberman] said during the interview that the fastest growing group of uninsured are those 55 to 65. For that reason, the ticket proposes an expansion of Medicare to allow those and older to buy into the public program. There would still be a buy-in price but it would be less than buying private insurance, he said.

And here’s the Connecticut Post on September 8 2009 outlining Lieberman’s preferred ways to reform the health care system:

By allowing citizens who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid to buy in for a rate below the private market, the government can extend coverage to more of those who are currently uninsured, he said.

Why the sudden switch? Ezra Klein thinks it’s about torturing liberals.

UPDATE: And here’s video of Lieberman in September going into detail about his idea to let people buy into Medicare.

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