In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Lieberman: Sure, I'd Filibuster A Health Care Reform Bill With A Public Option

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Newscom / p79

Even Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) doesn't go that far. "I'm not going to make up my mind until I actually see the bill," he told reporters.

One of Lieberman's main objections to the health care bill is that it includes a public option, which he describes as a burden on taxpayers.

"I think a lot of people may think that the public option is free. It's not. It's going to cost the taxpayers and people who have health insurance now, and if it doesn't it's going to add terribly to the national debt...there's so much in this health reform legislation that is so good, that I think they're just putting an unnecessary burden on top of it by creating another Washington-based entitlement program."

This is at great odds with the findings of most experts, who say that, by bringing efficiencies into the greater insurance market, and therefore lowering the government's subsidy burden, a public option will actually save money.

I asked him to square his rationale with the experts consensus, but he was undeterred. "Well all the history we have of health entitlement programs, including the two big ones that I dearly support, Medicare and Medicaid, is that they end up costing more than we're prepared to pay, and they add to the debt, and then they add to the burden on taxpayers."

As written, congressional health care legislation would require the public option--whether administered by a government, or by an outside body--would be financed by premiums, and unable to draw on federal funds.