The Plank

Joe Lieberman Is Hallucinating

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The Connecticut Senator says that President Obama didn't favor a public plan when he ran for president:

It’s classic politics of our time that if you look at the campaign last year, presidential, you can’t find a mention of public option,” Lieberman said. “It was added after the election as a part of what we normally consider health insurance reform insurance market reforms, cover people, cover people who are not covered.

Wow, that's quite an important detail! Wonder why you haven't heard it before? Because it's totally untrue. I could cite any number of sources, but how about the New York Times guide to the candidates' platforms:

Mr. Obama would strive for universal coverage by establishing a new federal health plan for the uninsured, providing benefits comparable to those offered to federal employees. .... Mr. Obama also would establish a government exchange that would allow individuals to shop for the new public plan and approved private plans.

The Politico article in which Lieberman made this false claim lets it go unchallenged.

Update, by other Jonathan (Cohn): Jonathan (Chait) is absolutely right about this. In fact, Obama proposed a public insurance option in May, 2007, on the day he first introduced his health care proposal during a speech in Iowa. From the New York Times account: 

Mr. Obama would create a new public plan open to individuals who cannot get group coverage through work or the existing government programs, like Medicaid or the State Childrens Health Insurance Program.

Second Update, by original Jonathan (Chait): Politico, to its credit, has updated its story to note that Lieberman's claim is untrue.

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