CORRECTED: Lieberman Proposed Public Option In 2004, Opposes It Now

Roll Call Photos/Newscom

[CORRECTION: We have been told that Joe’s program here was not properly termed a public option, but was two different concepts — an expansion of government-run health care programs for the young, extending it up to age 25, and the creation of private health care exchanges in order to create a competitive, organized marketplace. So to be blunt, we bungled this one. TPM regrets the error.]

Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) seems to have seriously changed his position on a public health insurance program — from supporting it years ago, to staunchly opposing it now.

Back when Lieberman was a full-fledged Democrat and sought the party’s nomination for President, he said this at a debate in South Carolina on January 29, 2004:

“And one of the things we will do when we’re one nation is to end the moral outrage of 44 million people without health insurance in the richest country in the world, nine million children whose parents can’t take them to the doctor when they get sick ’cause they can’t pay the bill. I’m gonna do that, and also help the millions who have insurance that can’t pay it, by creating national health insurance pools like the ones members of Congress get our insurance from.

“Promises: When you’re born, child in America, you get a membership card, and MediKids covers your insurance. Two, if you lose your job, you will not lose your health insurance. Three, underemployed, self-employed, small business, you can buy into this plan, it’ll cost you a lot less, and incidentally, you’ll get drug benefits with it. That’s the kind of centrist leadership that produces results, and that’s the kind of president America needs and I’ll be.”

(Transcript via Nexis)

Back then, Joe Lieberman was presenting the public option as a sensible, centrist plan for the country. But now he’s promising to filibuster a Democratic proposal to establish one. So what changed?

We’ve placed a call with Lieberman’s office, but they have not yet gotten back to us.

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