Lieberman: Medicare expansion backers cared about “a deal” more than costs

In an interview with reporters today, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., provided some troubling insight into the negotiations happening right now over health care reform passage.

Lieberman has almost single-handedly influenced Senate Democrats to strike a provision that would have allowed people to join Medicare beginning at age 55. Lieberman said the idea made no sense to him because it would hurt hospitals in many states and shift costs onto those privately insured.

Lieberman said at one point he argued to an unnamed Senate “advocate” of the Medicare expansion plan, that the premiums would be too high for most of the younger Medicare recipients to afford.

“And he said to me, 'That's not the point. We're just trying to work out a deal here.'”

Lieberman said he responded to this mystery person that such a scenario made no sense to him, “because in the long term the danger will be that the federal government will be pressured to take this over, make up deficits in this separate pool.”

Lieberman did not say whether the person he was speaking to was a Senator, staffer or some other proponent.

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