FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
It may not have been pushing the panic button but it was close.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/15/art.lieberman.jpg caption="Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT)"]
President Obama summoned the Senate Democrats to the White House in a last ditch effort to get something they can call health care reform through the Senate without being embarrassed.
The president was expected to characterize this as the "last chance" to pass comprehensive reform. It's yet to be determined if it's either comprehensive or actual reform.
The Senate is racing to pass this thing by Christmas - whatever it is. The problem is they need 60 votes, and with Democrats, that means they have 60 opinions.
The biggest obstacle has been Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut - an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Lieberman has threatened to join a Republican filibuster if the bill includes either the public option - or a provision allowing people older than 55 to buy into Medicare.
Lieberman couldn't even win his state's Democratic primary last time around - but he's threatening to block the whole enchilada here.
In 2006, Joe Lieberman ranked second in the Senate in the amount of money he took from the insurance industry. His state, Connecticut, has more than 22,000 people who work for health insurance companies.
In the last 10 years, Lieberman has taken more than a million dollars in contributions from insurance companies. One e-mailer called him "Senator Aetna."
Here’s my question to you: Is this the last chance ever for health care reform in the U.S.?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
I think this is the one and only time for real reform. We have already seen what a Republican majority and a Republican president are willing to do. Health care reform? They could care less how many thousands of Americans die each year, which is why Lieberman's latest stance is so disgusting. He is a political prostitute, selling his vote to those who come to him with the most money and the insurance company pockets are deep. As Liebermans are...
No it's not the last chance and I'm disappointed in the cynical tone of your blog and question. It is comprehensive and it is reform. And though it isn't perfect, it will break a log jam to help contain health care costs and extend coverage. Sen. Lieberman is within his rights to vote his conscience and unless evidence surfaces of unethical behavior, his character shouldn't be maligned.
Jack, I'm not sure if this is the last chance for health reform, but so far it has been the best chance. People are going broke and people are dying. If this problem is not addressed now, then when? When another 46 million Americans become uninsured? When another middle-aged couple loses their home because they have the audacity to get sick? This needs to happen now because people who are desperate don't care about the chances of reform in the future, they might not have one.
C. from Washington writes:
Health care reform? Any bill without a public option is nothing but a guaranteed profit stream for the insurance industry and the American Medical Association. Senator Aetna should be ashamed of himself but I don’t think he is capable of shame.
Jack, I was born and raised in Connecticut and have worked for over 30 years in the insurance or insurance services industry. I lived in Joe Lieberman’s district, and I believe he is one of the most turncoat, self-seeking, bamboozling politicians. He is clearly in the pockets of the health care industry. I can't believe he can assert his view on this bill with a straight face.
"Joe Lieberman is a man who sticks to his principles... Maybe one day he'll tell us what they are." –Stephen Colbert