Don’t get too excited. Joe Lieberman doesn’t oppose government intervention in the private health-care industry, but he’s not impressed with the scale and the results of the Baucus plan. He flat-out tells Don Imus this morning that he won’t support the bill (when it actually becomes a bill) because it will raise premium prices on the 87% of Americans who have coverage to insure about a third of those with no coverage. Lieberman also says that “you don’t have to be an economist” to understand that taxes and fees on producers get paid by consumers (via The Weekly Standard):
Lieberman wants an incremental approach rather than a comprehensive approach, specific to delivery. Unfortunately, his idea there — paying for outcomes rather than services provided — would still be a massive intrusion on the private sector and become a complete bureaucratic nightmare. Not even the best of service guarantees a happy outcome, after all, and the concept would leave providers holding the bag for services provided to people who simply couldn’t recover from their illnesses. At its reductio ad absurdum level, that approach assumes immortality only interrupted by extraneous tests.
Still, if Lieberman votes against cloture and Olympia Snowe balks, the Senate effort will die a quick death. And that assumes the Democrats have all of their caucus on board for a plan without any legislative language, which is a risky assumption indeed.
Be sure to keep up with the boss’ updates today on the Senate Finance Committee.