Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders may have a lot in common—proud Jews born less than a year apart, failed presidential candidates representing New England, political independents willing to buck the Democratic party line (though Lieberman skewed right and Sanders left).
But despite having overlapped in the Senate together for six years, Lieberman did not have nice things to say about Sanders’s proposed single-payer healthcare plan when asked by The Daily Beast.
“To me the best thing to do is to fix Obamacare,” he said. “For Democrats to respond to the Republican failure on health care by sort of offering a kind of a panacea for all your ills, this is like the wonder drug stuff that people used to sell at county fairs in America. It won’t work and it will really hurt the country financially.”
During the original debates over the Affordable Care Act in 2009, Lieberman surprised Democrats by saying he would vote against any bill that expanded Medicare or introduced a “public option.”
Some Democratic senators still hold a grudge against Lieberman for that stance: When Lieberman was under consideration by President Trump to be FBI director, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio gave what Politico called “a monologue on Lieberman’s faults,” ending with: “That’s all on the record.”
Lieberman also claimed in his recent interview that supporting Sanders’ plan would be just as futile as the Republican pledge to totally repeal Obamacare.
“I think it is a mistake. No one thinks it’s plausible,” Lieberman said. “I fear that it puts Democrats on a quite different path than Republicans have been on with health care but with a similar ending.”