Senator Joe Lieberman has issued a new statement. It is so diplomatically worded that I had a hard time decoding it—Lieberman says he is “encouraged by progress toward a consensus on proposals.” So far, the Democrats are moving towards a disastrous consensus. My first reaction: Say it ain’t so, Joe.
But Yuval Levin, who really knows his stuff, reads the runes differently. According to Levin, with the statement, Lieberman…
…pours some cold water on the talk of a huge Senate health-care breakthrough. He signals that the public-option trigger won’t work for him, he raises a red flag about the Medicare “buy-in” expansion (an expansion which is simply bizarre in a bill that cuts so much from Medicare at the same time), and he says the proposals will have to be fully scored by CBO and analyzed by the CMS actuary before they can be taken up — all of which are problems for the Dems.
Levin has also looked carefully at the Reid proposal (is Reid finding himself able to give details at last?):
The logic of the Reid proposal, as it has been emerging in the past few hours, seems to be pure political panic. The parts make very little policy sense, individually or together, and don’t really make political sense outside the Senate either (for instance, sending huge numbers of younger people into Medicare is likely to turn off the AMA, which hates the way Medicare treats doctors, and will send the hospitals screaming for the same reason). But the idea is to cobble together whatever it takes to get 60 votes in the short term and worry about it later.