Lieberman Was for a Medicare Buy-In Before He Was Against it

Sen. Joe Lieberman, (I-Connecticut), has threatened to derail passage of a health care reform bill in the Senate if the legislation includes a measure to expand Medicare to individuals beginning at age 55, a proposal Lieberman says he has long opposed. [For background, please see Truthout’s report on the Senate’s latest health care reform proposals.]

But as Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo noted Monday, Lieberman has long “supported the idea of a Medicare buy-in as a promising vehicle for reform, including… as recently as three months ago.”

Asked specifically about his position this past September, Lieberman now says that the Senate Finance Committee bill, finalized in October, dealt with the problem of the uninsured so well that the buy-in became redundant.

Lieberman denied that he had flip-flopped on the issue as he headed to a meeting Monday evening with the Democratic caucus.

“I didn’t change my mind,” Lieberman said. “I’ve been in this position for the last few weeks.

“We’ve got this very strong network and system of subsidies for people, including people who are 55-65 so the idea of the Medicare buy in no longer was necessary because they’re taken care of very well under the Finance Committee proposal.”

But an interview the Connecticut Post conducted with Lieberman last September, as first reported by the Plumline’s Greg Sargent, should put the senator’s denials to rest.