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Lieberman Changed Tune on Medicare Buy-In

It is difficult to understate how angry liberals are today at Sen. Joe Lieberman (I–CT), whose surprising statement that he does not support a compromise health care bill that includes a Medicare buy-in on "Face The Nation" Sunday forced Senate Democrats back to the drawing board in their quest to craft a bill that can garner the necessary 60 votes.

At the New Republic, there are suggestions that Lieberman "isn't actually all that smart." In the Washington Post, meanwhile, it's being floated that he "he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score." And these are the nice ones.

Now those angry at Lieberman have been pointing each other to a video obtained by Greg Sargent that has even the normally restrained Associated Press writing that Lieberman "was for a Medicare expansion before he was against it."

The Medicare buy-in would allow uninsured Americans who are 55-64 years old to purchase Medicare coverage. In the video, which shows a Connecticut Post interview from September, the senator references a proposal he offered in 2006 which he said was to "basically expand the existing successful public health insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid."

"When it came to Medicare I was very focused on a group - post 50, maybe more like post 55," he says. "People who have retired early, or unfortunately have been laid off early, who lose their health insurance and they're too young to qualify for Medicare."

"And what I was proposing was that they have an option to buy into Medicare early and again on the premise that that would be less expensive than the enormous cost," he continues.

The AP reports that Lieberman's spokesman, Marshall Wittmann, noted that the comments came before the current health care bill was finalized. Wittmann said Lieberman feels the current bill includes health insurance subsidies that make a Medicare buy-in program unnecessary.

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