The Worries of Joe Lieberman
by Charles Lemos, Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 06:04:53 PM EDT
"I want to be able to vote for a health bill, but my top concern is the deficit." So says Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a state that is home to 72 insurance headquarters, the largest concentration of that industry in the nation. Connecticut has three times the US average of insurance jobs as a percent of total state employment. In 2004, the insurance industry in Connecticut was a $12.2 billion dollar industry. Two years later, it hit $14.6 billion. That's a CAGR of 9.4 percent.
Sixteen of those 72 insurance companies provide health or medical service insurance. Those 16 insurance companies employ over 22,000 employees and have annual payroll of over $2.3 billion. The total annual state insurance industry payroll exceeds $6 billion. 5.5 percent of the state's gross domestic product comes from the insurance industry. But no Joe Lieberman isn't worried about their profits, he's worried about adding to the deficit.
Via The Hill:
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), one of a handful of Senate wild cards in this fall's healthcare reform debate, says his concern about the Senate bill is based on the national deficit -- not the insurers that dominate his state.
The Connecticut senator told The Hill he may support a bill that taxes insurers or cuts into their profits, but only if the federal deficit won't balloon as a result.
"Insurers aren't my biggest concern -- I sued them once when I was attorney general, and I'm not afraid to end anti-trust exemptions," Lieberman said. "I am really worried about what this could do to the deficit."
Joe, you ignorant war-monger, you. Don't lie to us pretending that you care about the deficit when you support a war in Afghanistan that as of August was running a cool $4 billion a year and that's before we consider sending more troops. Senator Lieberman just a week ago penned an op-ed in the Washington Post with Representative Ike Skelton urging the President to "commit the decisive force that will allow General McChrystal to break the Taliban's momentum as quickly as possible." In said op-ed, not one iota about costs or impact to the deficit. Well, Joe, the cost of sending an additional soldier is estimated at one million per soldier per annum.
Since the invasion of Afghanistan eight years ago, the United States has spent $223 billion on war-related funding for that country, according to the Congressional Research Service. Aid expenditures, excluding the cost of combat operations, have grown exponentially, from $982 million in 2003 to $9.3 billion in 2008.
Before you come crying to us about a deficit, look at what you are choosing to spend on and likely for naught. At least with healthcare, it is being spent on us, the American people. I can see a return on investment in healthcare, it's harder to see one on Afghanistan.
Moreover as David Dayen over at Firedoglake points out "the public option would SAVE money for the government, to the tune of $100 billion dollars over 10 years according to the Congressional Budget Office."