Joe Lieberman and Healthcare Reform

December 18, 2009
Jeff Kaplan

Sen. Joe Lieberman is officially working to block health care reform in the Congress; he especially desires de-postponing any kind of "health care reform" until the economy has recovered.

Guest post by William Tindall, PhD

From: William Tindall, PhD

Date: 12/16/2009

Subject: My "viewpoint" on Joe Lieberman and health care reform

Sen. Joe Lieberman is officially working to block health care reform in the Congress; he especially desires de-postponing any kind of "health care reform" until the economy has recovered. I believe he is a good person trying to stick to the first tenant of politics—defend what is good, while also fixing that which is bad. Health care in the United State is the best there is on this planet. Surely parts of it needs correction, but I attribute that to the fact that health care is being delivered on a business/private insurance model; not one motivated, managed and maintained by the people who are actually delivering care at the patient level.

Sen. Lieberman has been especially pointed about voting against healthcare reform if it includes A) an expansion of Medicare as in allowing people aged 55-64 to buy into it, or B) the "public option" of a government-run insurance program. Clearly, his position is a setback for health reformists who want wholesale overhaul of the way healthcare is delivered and financed, but not realizing what this would do to health care quality or how public sentiment is running against disruptive change. Those Democrats who were elected by slogan: "Change we can believe in" are now finding that to be hollow words. Indeed, in mid-December, 2009, after 3-4 months of tough rhetoric against health care reform, and with an almost a 15-year record of opposing it, the Senator is being courted by the Democrats who would like to think he is supportive; witness, they are thinking of dropping both the Medicare buy-in for those over 55-64 years of age and the possibility of expanded government-run insurance alternatives. In 2000, Joe Lieberman supported the Medicare buy-in, but that was when he was Al Gore's running mate, running on the Democratic platform. Seems it still is a democratic platform nine years later.

Dr. Kaplan, as you know I have a bias to all this having seen the Canadian and British systems of healthcare up close and personal; it makes me believe Lieberman is right and should stick by his guns. There are too many lawyers among the 535 senators and congressmen who just do not get that physicians and other health professionals could reform health care on their own, were they empowered to do so (as if you can legislate change anyway). Having watched many health professionals over my 40-year career, I am convinced the good professionals are too nice and unfortunately let others run their profession lives, believing them to be trustworthy.

Regards, Bill