POLITICS

Lieberman's Filibuster Announcement A Boon To Insurance Industry

One of the ironies that should be noted in the wake of Senator Joe Lieberman's (I-Conn.) decision to embark on another journey of pointless intransigence is that the public option is overwhelmingly favored by Lieberman's own constituents. According to data compiled by Nate Silver, residents in all five of Connecticut's congressional districts support the implementation of a public option. So, let's note upfront that Joe Lieberman's decision to support a filibuster of the Senate's health care reform bill as written does not reflect an authentic concern for his constituents.

Whence comes Lieberman's furtive, filibustery concerns? Well the health insurance industry has feathered quite a nest in Connecticut, haven't they? Yet Lieberman denies that his decision stemmed from concern for the industry in his back yard. Rather, it was a concern for "the deficit" (a concern which only seems to manifest itself occasionally), and he wants credit today for the fact that he sued the insurance companies way back when he was Connecticut's attorney general. But politics, I'm afraid, is all about "What have you done for me lately?" And lately, as Zaid Jelani documented yesterday at ThinkProgress, Lieberman's been doing those insurance companies a solid.

Yet this afternoon, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) broke with the Democratic caucus that he is a member of and vowed to join a Republican-led filibuster if the public option is not removed from the bill. In response, insurance company stocks -- which plummeted Monday as Reid made his announcement -- shot up after Lieberman made his announcement around 1:30 pm:

As for Lieberman's prior conflicts with the health insurance industry, all I can say is that those former subjects of lawsuits sure aren't taking it personally! As Jeffrey Feldman pointed out in these pages, "Over the course of his career, Joe Lieberman has taken $2,395,369 in donations from the health sector and $1,033,402 in donations from the insurance industry." It's been pointed out before, but it bears repeating in the wake of yesterday's stock surge: the return on investment for every lobbying dollar spent continues to be one of the best rackets going.

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