August 23rd, 2009
12:51 PM ET
9 years ago

Lieberman: Obama should delay trying to cover the uninsured

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Amid reports that the projected deficit over the next ten years will hit $9 trillion, a former Democrat said Sunday that President Obama is being too ambitious in his plans for health care reform during the recession.

“I give the president tremendous credit for taking on the health care problem and it really is a problem that we’ve got to deal with – but he took it on at a very difficult time that was not of his making,” Connecticut Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman said on CNN’s State of the Union.

“Great changes in our country often have come in steps,” Lieberman also said, pointing to the incremental gains in the civil rights movement made over many years during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

The former Democrat then cataloged a list of incremental changes to the country’s health care system – focusing on reducing costs, changing health care delivery mechanisms, putting an end to denying coverage because of pre-existing illnesses, removing monetary caps on the amount of coverage provided, paying for preventive services that avoid costly chronic illnesses later on – all of which he thinks are ripe for consideration right now in tough economic times.

Lieberman called Obama’s ambitious goal of covering all or nearly all of the millions of uninsured in the country “the tough one.” “That’s where you spend most of the trillion dollars . . . that this health care plan will cost. And I’m afraid we’ve got to think about putting a lot of that off until the economy is out of recession. There’s no reason we have to do it all now but I do think we have to get started.”

Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, disagreed with Lieberman’s suggestion that the current health care reform push not include an attempt at universal coverage.

“We’ve got to bring down the cost of health care,” Cardin told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “it’s difficult to do that by ignoring those who don’t have health insurance today.

Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar agreed with Lieberman and suggested that deferring health care reform to next year would be better given the economy.

Lugar told King that he would advise Obama that “bringing up the health care situation in the midst of a recession . . . was a mistake.”

“For the moment, let’s clear the deck,” Lugar also said Sunday, “and try it again next year or in subsequent times.”

soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. New Day

    ...says the Senator who's insured.

    August 23, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Issano in Florida

    these nutty Republicons still trying to give advice on the war. had they given George Bush the right advice on the war in Iraq, we would not be there today.
    The American people do not want the party of NO giving any advice to this current administration. The former administration has set this country back decades.
    The policy of the Republic party are to reckless, dangerous, and extreme.
    Let's get health care signed without them. had the Republican been in office, they would have done health care without the Democrats. Oh I forgot, they did nothing for health care when they were in office!

    August 23, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. 60's survivor

    Lieberman is insured – right?? as well as most the republicans...they just don't like sharing....its against their rotten principles

    August 23, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Michael

    Finally, a dose of realism. Yes, we can bankrupt the country in pursuit of a broken down 1960s-style nanny state dream gone awry. Yes, we can...

    August 23, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. The new GOP party of NO, racism, and hate is emerging

    …says the Senator who's insured and covered under a "govt plan" paid for by tax payers – that the right wing NUTs and the republiklans of his ilks are now calling "socialism"!!!!

    August 23, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Truth

    Senator Lieberman
    Your exposing, either your ignorance.....or your ulterior motive.

    If you been sleeping for the past 9 years ......ok.

    Let America let you in a little clue


    August 23, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Donna

    Thanks for the advice, Joe.

    If my cancer threatens to return, I'll try to delay it until I can get insurance.

    ::rolling eyes::

    August 23, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. stevetall

    Wrong again, Joe. Just fix the problem once and for all, then get back to work on all the other issues you should be helping to fix. What the f@#k are we paying you for, anyway?

    Think of it this way: Considering all the money we spend to help the rest of the world, all the money we spend on defense, highways, medicare, medicaid, social security, etc., why won't we do something that benefits all of us taxpayers? Universal healthcare coverage now! Fix it and be done. We put a guy on the frickin' moon, we can certainly fix a little thing like healthcare. Screw the Republicans who are standing in the way. They're only thinking of the money they get from the current corrupt system.

    August 23, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Lynne

    Isn't waiting the same thing they have been saying for decades??

    August 23, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. sunshine

    we have got to have health care for all Americans, it's the right thing to do, too many people have suffered and died an early death due to the lack of proper health, we finally have a President who cares and wants all Americans covered, who knows why the republicans don't want everyone covered, maybe they are afraid they wii have to give up some of their outrageous bonuses.

    August 23, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. J. Huck

    CT uninsured, make a petition to recall Joe, the guy doesn't represent you at all.

    August 23, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. Simmy

    Talking heads unite, then throw out their buzz words.....McCain is rattling about dropping a public plan option from the table; now here comes this one......Ventriloquist and dummy......McCain and Lieberman are on the way out.......It's just the matter of timing.....

    Wave your hand for Public Plan Option.......Steele is a straw man.........

    Let the censoring begin CNN Moderator......

    August 23, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. DeadPanel

    We have "Death Panels" and now "Death Book". What is up with ObamaWeeWeed and his fascination with pulling the plug and telling people to take a blue/red pil and go and die?

    August 23, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Hawktyme

    Lieberman's become a true republican. It's just too much work for a shirt and tie executive. Labor's supposed to work more hours for less money, and the executives work less for more. Don't forget that tax cut!

    It's a shame that this type of leadership says don't work the hard things – let the hard things take care of themseles. Oh yea – i need a raise for making that decision.

    August 23, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. mlk

    We can't afford to cover 12 million illegal immigrants. Last year I sat in line at a children's hospital for 6 hours and they never saw my son who had a high fever because we had to wait for about 30 illegal spanish only speaking mexican families. It's a disgrace we don't do something about illegal immigration. They are ruining our health care system!

    August 23, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. George

    Hey, Joe: fixing healthcare will help spur the economy. A new public system that competes with the corporate conglomerates will create jobs and bring down personal expenses, freeing up money for spending.

    August 23, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. impeachliberman

    as a resident of connecticut he doesn't represent me he's a joke he loses the primary and instead of taking it like a man he cries and becomes independent, now connecticut is home to 2 traitors bendict arnold and joe liberman, joe go away connecticut hates you!

    August 23, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. April in Texas

    We sadly are one of those families uninsured. My husband was the breadwinner in our household and I stayed home taking care of the children and home. He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and can no longer work. He is now on disability and I can now pursue a job but no real work history behind me and minimum education, I will be stuck with a minimum wage job. Now tell me how one is suppost to be able to provide insurance to a family, one having a pre-condition who's medicare wont kick in for 2 years? Cancer doesnt wait for anything! We need health care now Mr. Lieberman not later!

    August 23, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. W L Jones

    If we don^t get control of Health cost and Climate control in this country and around the world our planet is headed the same way Saturn did thousands of years ago, one solid block of Ice. We the people of the world can control our destiness if we put our own selfeness aside.

    August 23, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Troy from NJ

    If this traitor and his republican buddies had their way; nobody would be insured. How is these guys lost and want to set the agenda. I hope The Dems come back from vacation and ram this thing through to shut these guys up and let them know who is in charge!

    August 23, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Steven Richards

    It is very sad to see those that have the most totally unwilling to help anyone else. Lieberman has lost his soul and his heart just like most Rebulicans. The excuse that we need to wait is nothing more than a cover to avoid the hard decisions they were elected to deal with. The Congress is loaded with self-serving cowards... with the Republicans leading the way and enabled by "Republican lite" Democrats. Hello Kent Conrad.

    Health care has been in crisis for ever. Those with their health insurance paid for by others (usually their employer) generally like thiongs they way they are now. Unfortuanately, this system is sucking huge sums of money out of our broader economy and leaving many of our fellow citizens left out in the cold. But for jerks like Lieberman... who cares. They have theirs and to hell with those that don't.

    Steven Richards

    August 23, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Deuce

    He should never have promised it, in the Election. But he did.

    Now he has to eat his words, or deliver.

    August 23, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. hr626

    So .... Lieberman works for the insurance corporations?

    August 23, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. N. McCabe

    Yeah, let's keep waiting and waiting and waiting.............

    Maybe if we wait long enough, all those uninsured people will die and we won't have to worry about them.
    Perhaps *that's* the real Repulbican message here.

    But hey, who cares as long as we can carry our machine guns into the (Christian) church of our choice!
    ::rolling eyes:: (big time!)

    +1 on: "If my cancer threatens to return, I'll try to delay it until I can get insurance".

    August 23, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Chris

    Delay?! WHAT?! NOOOOO!!!!! I dont get it? Why are americans so DUMB?! All this criticism about how the private insurance cant compete with public? As if! Not only did Obama refute that case with the FedX, UPS example, the bigger proof that it wont is Universities. Republicans, private universities do quite well against the public ones. Should we get rid of public colleges and only have private? I think not!!!! Public universities give people another CHOICE for people to go to school while Harvard, Yale and Notre Dame do just fine competing!....... Bill Maher was sooooooo correct. America is a stupid country!

    August 23, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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