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Congress: Lieberman, the public option

The Wall Street Journal writes how Joe Lieberman says he's opposed to ANY kind of public option -- whether it's opt in, opt out, or a trigger. "Probe for a catch or caveat in that opposition, and none is visible. Can he support a public option if states could opt out of the plan, as the current bill provides? 'The answer is no,' he says in an interview from his Senate office. 'I feel very strongly about this.' How about a trigger, a mechanism for including a public option along with a provision saying it won't be used unless private insurance plans aren't spreading coverage far and fast enough? No again."

More: "Maybe the Lieberman stance is posturing, or a maneuver to force a watering down of the public option into something he and like-minded Democratic conservatives can swallow. In any case, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tries to solve the Rubik's Cube that is health legislation, Mr. Lieberman just might represent the hardest piece to flip into place."

The Hill adds, "If Lieberman stands in the way of the Democrats' effort to overhaul the nation's healthcare system, Reid will be second-guessed for not stripping Lieberman of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee."

The New York Times notes how the abortion issue in the health-care debate has a become a fundraising boon to anti-abortion and pro-choice organizations.

Collision Course: "Healthcare reform and climate change will conflict directly next month when lawmakers from around the world gather in Denmark for the United Nations climate change conference and the Senate debates a healthcare bill. As many as 10 senators had planned on traveling to Copenhagen for the conference, which is scheduled from Dec. 7 to Dec. 18. But it now appears they may have to stay in Washington to work on healthcare."

"Two days after health reform cleared its first major hurdle in the Senate, two groups launched a joint television ad campaign," The Hill reports. "The AARP and American Medical Association (AMA) are undertaking the effort to promote the legislation's effect on Medicare." The ad depicts a doctor and a "spin doctor" (who looks a lot like some Capitol Hill Republicans and insurance company cable talking heads).

Here's the script:
I'm a doctor. I'm a spin doctor.
Doctor: I'm here to give you the fact about Medicare.
SD: I'm here to scare you.
D: AARP and the American Medical Association are fighting to protect your Medicare.
SD: Insurance companies say you'll lose your Medicare.
D: That's not actually true.
SD: [laughs] We don't actually care.
ANNOUNCER: Enough scare tactics. AARP and AMA are fighting to lower drug costs and make sure nothing comes between you and your doctor. Get the facts.
SD: Who cares about facts? [laughs]