One of the Senate's most powerful Democrats said Sunday that President Obama should take an "incremental" approach to fixing health care and argued that the country should postpone adding nearly 50 million new patients to the government system until after the recession is over.
"We morally, every one of us, would like to cover every American with health insurance," Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, told CNN's John King on the "State of the Union" program.
"But that's where you spend most of the $1 trillion plus, a little less that is estimated, the estimate said this healthcare plan will cost," he said.
Republicans have grown so fond of Lieberman that they forgot that for the most part he is a liberal. He has no problem with a massive health care reform bill. He clearly, however, has a problem with this one. Furthermore, he has a problem with a massive overhaul at this time.
So, what does this mean? It means there's no way he would vote for anything similar to the house bill at this time. He certainly wouldn't vote for it if the Democrats tried to ram it through with 50 votes.
As such, the first Democratic domino has fallen. Now, instead of 60 votes they have 59. Both Ted Kennedy and Roberty Byrd are unlikely to be available to vote. Byrd, even if he were available, has stated he's not in favor of ramming it through with 51 votes. So, now we are down to 57 votes. Blanche Lincoln, facing a tough re election, is very unlikely to vote for this bill and certainly not with 51 votes. Ben Nelson, of Nebraska, is also far too moderate to vote for anything near the House plan.
We are now down to 55 votes. As I've pointed out, there is a coalition of 15 moderate Democrats.Lincoln, Nelson, and Lieberman are all part of this coalition. Kennedy and Byrd are not. That is at least 17 potential no votes on ramming it through. With Lieberman proclaiming that he's against the bill, that kills it through normal channels. Lieberman's pronouncement that this bill is no good is also the beginning of the dominos. What we should see over the next week or so is several more members of the group I mentioned coming out against the bill. The nails are officially being put into the coffin of the bill and over the next two weeks we're going to see Senators come out to signal its official death.