Will Lieberman back new healthcare deal?

The Connecticut senator puts out a statement that leaves his options open

Published December 9, 2009 4:05PM (EST)

Senate Democrats say they have a deal on healthcare reform. They're not saying what that deal is, really, but still: They say they have a deal.

Problem is, with 60 votes needed to break a filibuster in the Senate, every single senator's vote counts. And some of them, like Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., have been very hesitant about supporting Democrats' proposals. So the question remains -- will Lieberman support this deal? Or will he vote with Republicans to filibuster it?

A statement Lieberman put out Wednesday morning seems to suggest he'll back this new deal, but it also leaves him plenty of wiggle room to go either way. The full statement:

I am encouraged by the progress toward a consensus on proposals to send to the Congressional Budget Office to review. I believe that it is important to pass legislation that expands access to the millions who do not have coverage, improves quality and lowers costs while not impeding our economic recovery or increasing the debt.

My opposition to a government-run insurance option, including any option with a trigger, has been clear for months and remains my position today.

Regarding the ‘Medicare buy-in’ proposal that is being discussed, we must remain vigilant about protecting and extending the solvency of the program, which is now in a perilous financial condition.

It is my understanding that at this point there is no legislative language so I look forward to analyzing the details of the plan and reviewing analysis from the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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