December 14th, 2009
08:36 PM ET
11 months ago

Senate Democrats moving towards dropping Medicare buy-in

Washington (CNN) – Two senior Democratic sources tell CNN senate Democrats are headed towards dropping the compromise idea to allow 55 to 64 year-olds to buy into Medicare because of opposition from Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman.

"It’s what the White House wants and there aren’t many other options that allow us to finish by Christmas," said one source.

Senate Democrats had an emergency meeting Monday night to discuss this issue, which threatens to derail health care.

Although a final decision was not made at Monday night’s meeting, a second Democratic source said it’s likely a final decision could be made at meeting Tuesday of all Democrats with the President at the White House.

“I think there is a fundamental understanding of the direction we’re going in, “said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Before the meeting, liberal senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia indicated that the so-called Medicare buy-in would likely be dropped, and while they didn’t like that, they suggested they would support a health care bill anyway.

"If he (Lieberman) is absolutely opposed to it, it looks like we won't have it," said Harkin.

"There is still good stuff in this bill for changing the paradigm of health care in America," he said.

“Democracy isn’t written to say that you get exactly a perfect system, “ said Rockefeller. “I mean, we are where we are. That’s the ultimate bottom line.”

The Medicare buy-in concept was intended to appease liberals upset that Democratic leaders were dropping a public option.

But that ran into a wall Sunday when Lieberman said he would support a GOP filibuster to block health care if the Medicare provision was in the bill.


Filed under: Democrats • Health care • Senate
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Insightful

    Goodbye, Dems,you bunch of lily livered wimps! And to your crumbling White House leadership which had its part of caving in to a self-serving Independent (who will be unceremoniously unsaddled when his term is ended. All this fuss, all this time spent, all the false hopes kindle, and Merry Christmas, little folk.

    While Wall Street megamillion dollar bonuses are flying into greedy pockets, Americans of dying with empty pockets! ! ! !

    December 15, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  2. Don, Upstate NY

    Joe L. SUCKS!!

    December 15, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  3. wei49

    DUMP Lieb! on the next election. So that he can go back to working for the insurance companies!
    Take away congressional insurance policy – let the politicians buy their own insurances like all of us Americans.

    December 15, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  4. john

    If the Dems don't use reconciliation to push through need health care reform both they and the Repubs will suffer. There is a rising tide of Independant voters who will if they are smart start voting for independants and not the standard two do nothing parties. Throw the bums out and get more then two parties controlling everything-then you'll see true reform. Neither of the current parties have the guts to take on true health care reform or even lobbiest reform because the fat cats OWN them.

    December 15, 2009 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  5. Nea

    The Democrats may not know but Americans have just about given up on Health Care and i blame Congress Democrats and Repbulicans especially the Democrats they keep letting the Republicans and fake Democrats like Joe Lieberman trick them. If the truth be told they dont want Health care Reform to be passed no matter how the bill looks they especially dont want the Democrats to pass it, Dont you get it Democrats it dont matter if you are a moderate or conservative or Liberal you are still a Democrats and the Republicans is trying to trample over you and they will in 2010, When are you going to listen to the american people and realize its not about you.

    December 15, 2009 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  6. patsy

    Retire, Lieberman. You're in the way of progress.

    December 15, 2009 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  7. Aaron

    I'm embarrassed that I waited in line for 4 hours last Nov. to vote Democrat. Like the majority of the country, I wanted change. However, these guys cannot muster any change that matters. It looks like raising the cigarette tax is going to be Obama's legacy. They might as well have not pushed health care reform since obviously only the insurance companies and the reps they paid off are going to benefit from the vastly watered down version. Despite only looking out for their own interests and those of their cronies, the Repubs always manage to push their self-serving agenda, apparently whether they are the majority or the minority. Dems cannot realize that 1) Lieberman is a Repub, quit trying to keep him happy and 2) the Repubs would use budget reconciliation or any other manuver to push their agenda. I'll check out Libertarians or some third party and waste my vote next round, if I even bother voting anymore. None of these guys represent their constituents anyway.

    December 15, 2009 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  8. Moderate 1965

    Joe Lieberman, with a knife to America's back. The working man's enemy, the rich man's friend. Can folks even in Conn. stop this egomaniac?

    December 15, 2009 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  9. Felly

    Lieberman is giving Jews bad name. What he is doing to derail this much needed health and insurance reform is morally wrong. He should be stripped of his Home Land Committee Chairmanship and thrown out of the Senate. He is a traitor!

    December 15, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  10. AK Steve

    Sen. Joe Lieberman has got to go! He is a republican. And he has a total conflict of interest (his wife works for pharmcutical companies).

    I am sick of our so called representatives being embedded with special interest.

    Term limits would solve a lot of our governmental woes. Let's start serving the people for once.

    Who can afford $1000/mth health insurance? Certainly not middle class Americans who make less than $50K/yr.

    But then again, what does a senator who makes $190K+/yr know about the middle class?

    December 15, 2009 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  11. Andrew

    I'm on Medicare and am not really impacted by the bribed pubs and conservadems. This hurts US in many ways, so I am very unhappy about it, although I'll be fine. Looking to expatriate to Costa Rica as I see no good coming for US in my life with the corruption running rampant.

    December 15, 2009 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  12. BJ in NC

    What a bunch of crock from this hypocrite Joe Lieberman. He now is grandstanding against something that he himself proposed in 1995 along with another Senator. Joe Leiberman wants to feel an importance that he has not truly earned. He has whined his way into the Limelight of who was important at the time. The Democratic party should have been done with him when he was campaiging with his "friend" John McCain against the party that has supported him and had his back for so long.

    At this point, the only thing that the Democrats should be thinking and acting on is to strip him of every position that they have elevated him to. And, the Democrats are the only ones who have done so. He could not run with McCain because the Republicans said No! when McCain was thinking about nominating him for Vice President.

    This should be his Waterloo!! I,for one am sick of seeing his sour puss in the news. Das be done ya Joe Lieberman!!!

    December 15, 2009 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  13. DD

    I'm 63 years old and was fired (they claimed down sized) in January 2009 from a six-figure salaried position from a large auto supplier in Michigan.

    I am a female living on the last weeks of unemployment checks.

    I have no health insurance because I could not afford the Cobra buy in of @ $960.00 which had to be paid upfront back to the day you were let go before they would take it forward.

    I'm diabetic and pay cash for my perscriptions at Costco.

    In September I was discharged from Chapter-7. I gave back my home of ten years because i cannot afford it. I get to stay in it until it's sold at foreclosure.

    I've searched every week for work but nothng yet.

    I'm writing to ask all of you readers to write your congressperson to pass health reform. I want that Medicare buy-in put back in place.

    I'm not asking for Pity Party sympathy, just your letters to Congress.

    December 15, 2009 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  14. Mike

    I'm not sure who I am more disgusted with, the spineles democrats or the the corrupt scumbag senator from Connecticut.

    December 15, 2009 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
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