Lieberman And Brown Have Both Expressed Support For Medicare Buy-In Approach


Lieberman And Brown Have Both Expressed Support For Medicare Buy-In Approach

Huffington Post – …At the very least, it appears likely to come closer than any other compromise suggestion to meeting the most basic of political demands: the 60 votes in the Senate needed to break a Republican filibuster. On Tuesday, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) told reporters that he is open to the Medicare buy-in idea though, at this time, non-committal. "I'm open to looking at it," he said. "But I want to make sure that we're not…adding a big additional burden to the Medicare program."

Meanwhile, former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, who was responsible for pushing the suggestion among Senate Democrats this past week, told Think Progress that he favored the proposal provided it was available on day one.

Indeed, support for lowering the age for Medicare access has been around for roughly a decade. Back when Al Gore suggested the buy-in proposal during the 2000 presidential election, Democrats largely hailed it as a smart approach to expanding coverage. The list included Gore's vice presidential nominee, Lieberman, now one of the most conservative member of the Democratic caucus, as well as then-Ohio congressman Sherrod Brown, now one of the caucus's firmest progressives.

On August 11, 2000, the Ohio State News Service profiled Brown as he was set to head to the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles. Then the ranking member on the U.S. House Commerce Subcommittee on Health and the Environment, he listed as his top priorities the expansion "of health care to uninsured children and providing Medicare to people ages 55 to 64."

"I hope that what comes out of the convention is that the voters pay attention to the issues that are important — school construction, minimum wage, prescription drugs and the expansion of Medicare," Brown said at the time.

Lieberman, naturally, was even more praiseworthy of the approach proposed by the man heading the presidential ticket. At an appearance in Maine in November 2000, he noted that he and Gore wanted to expand Medicare specifically because the fastest-growing group of uninsured were those between 55 and 65 years old. He even pitched the buy-in's bipartisan appeal.

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