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Joseph Lieberman on Health Care

Democratic Jr Senator (CT, retiring 2012), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


Centrist leadership can get more covered by health insurance

Q: What do you make of health care?

A: [We should have a program which]: One, promises when you’re born a child in America, you get a membership card in MediKids, covers your insurance. Two, if you lose your job, you will not lose your health insurance. Three, underemployed, self-employed, small business, you can buy into this plan, it’ll cost you a lot less, and, incidentally, you’ll get drug benefits with it. That’s the kind of centrist leadership that produces results.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary Debate in Greenville SC , Jan 29, 2004

Universal benefit to all seniors-no $12B for HMOs

Q: How, if at all, would you change the new prescription drug benefit for the elderly?

A: We need to deliver a drug benefit -- but we need to do it right, by providing a universal benefit to all seniors. We should allow real importation of prescription drugs; eliminate premium support demonstration projects; allow Medicare to use its purchasing power to achieve savings in the cost of prescription drugs; and eliminate the $12 billion slush fund for HMOs.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, “Medicare” , Jan 25, 2004

National health insurance pool-free for poor and children

Q: How would your health plan improve insurance coverage for the new generation?

LIEBERMAN: There is a morally scandalous fact-that that 43 million Americans don’t have health insurance, 2 million more than when George Bush became president. I’m proposing to create a national health insurance pool like the one that members of Congress get our insurance from. If you don’t have insurance now, you’ll be able to get it, probably free, if you’re among the low-income working poor. If you’re a child, you will be covered by insurance at birth. If you are fired from your work or lose your job, you will not lose your health insurance. MediKids is part of my program. Every child born in America will become a member of MediKids, and it will cover them from birth through 25. Why 25? Because young adults have a hard time affording health insurance, and a lot of them think they’re not going to get sick, but they do, and we need to cover them.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College , Jan 22, 2004

Pharmaceutical prices are unfair-import drugs from Canada

Q: Would you encourage state governors to re-import drugs from Canada to try to keep drug prices down?

LIEBERMAN: Yes, unfortunately, we should. And I view this is as a kind of Boston Tea Party of the 21st century. I never attack the drug companies for what they produce. The pharmaceuticals that they produce keep us alive and well. But the pricing is unfair. And it is particularly unfair that Canada slaps price controls on, and our citizens have to pay the full cost of research, marketing, administration of the drug companies. If we begin to allow the legal importation of drugs from Canada, we can speak with our money to the drug companies to treat us more fairly.

Q: Are you encouraging governors and communities to break the law?

LIEBERMAN: We have to make it legal. I would vote, and I have voted for this in the Senate. I would allow the safe importation of drugs, which means to have some basic standards. But send a message to the drug companies: Treat American consumers fairly.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College , Jan 22, 2004

Allow reimport of drugs with FDA approval & price decontrols

Q: Are you for the reimportation of drugs from Canada?

LIEBERMAN: Yes, I have supported measures to allow for the reimportation of drugs with an FDA approval that it is safe. [But] there’s something unfair happening. The American pharmaceutical industry are asking the American people, and the American people alone, to finance the research that leads to drugs. We’ve got to ask the Canadians who have price controls, the Europeans who have price controls, to begin to pay part of that cost.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Rx drug costs whack seniors

The best way to give prescription drugs to people at an affordable cost is to cover prescription drugs under Medicare and to cover the 41 million Americans who don’t have health insurance today, because it’s they who get whacked by the cost of prescription drugs, not the people who have health insurance.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Too large health programs will force tax increases

Q: How would you cover more of the uninsured? And would the Bush tax cuts have to go in order to do it?

LIEBERMAN: You bet parts of the Bush tax cuts would have to go, and they ought to go. But I disagree with Dean and others who would adopt so large a program that it would force an increase in middle-class taxes. That’s not fair. The middle class got the end of the marital tax penalty, child care tax credits and so on. I want to protect those, and we can, with a systematic step-by-step proposal.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico , Sep 4, 2003

Medi-Kids: guaranteed care until age 25

I want to create “Medikids.” Every baby born in America will leave the hospital not just with a birth certificate but with a Medikids card that will guarantee them health insurance up until the age of 25. You won’t have to go down to the welfare office to sign up. You won’t be mandated if you don’t want to buy plans to cover health insurance. As president, I’m going to bring the right priorities: I will make every American currently uninsured eligible for a high-quality, affordable health insurance.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico , Sep 4, 2003

Step by step is the way

This campaign presents our party with a choice about whether we want to go backward to deal with health care or whether we want to go forward with new ideas. We’re not going to solve these problems with the kind of big spending Democratic ideas of the past.

We ought to start where Al Gore and I proposed in 2000: expand the children’s health insurance program and let their parents buy in to Medicaid at a cheaper rate then they can get in the private market. Step by step is the way to do it.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC , May 3, 2003

Return taxes to Clinton-era rates to improve health care

Q: Are you willing to raise taxes to cover everyone?

KUCINICH: We can phase in [an increase] in the payroll tax to 7.7% on all employers and have that be our mainstay of our national health care plan. We have to get the profit out of health care. And that means get the private insurance companies out of health care. Any plan that fails to do that is not going to deliver the best quality universal health care. I introduced HR676, Medicare for all: guaranteed, single payer, universal health care. It’s time to have health insurance for the American people, not the insurance companies.

Q: The Republicans are going to say there they go again, Democrats are raising taxes again. Is there anyone willing to rule out raising taxes?

LIEBERMAN: I am not willing to raise taxes to pay for health insurance in [that] way. All I am going to do is put the tax rate back to where it was when Bill Clinton was president, because we did a lot better under Bill Clinton than we are under George Bush.

Source: [X-ref from Kucinich] Democratic Debate in Columbia SC , May 3, 2003

No more big-spending health plans

LIEBERMAN: If Gephardt’s plan were implemented, it would take as much money as the Bush tax cut. And in that sense, it would create the same deficit that the Bush tax cut does. It has no cost containment. We’re not going to solve all of our problems with George Bush’s big, irresponsible tax cut, and we’re not going to solve them all with this kind of big spending. Congress would not pass the Gephardt plan ever, therefore no single American will get insurance that doesn’t have it now.

GEPHARDT: My plan also stimulates the economy. And the Bush tax plan has not stimulated the economy. This will allow companies to hire new people. It will put money in people’s pockets, because we’re going to reduce the cost of their premiums for health care potentially having all that 60% go across to every employee.

Source: [X-ref to Gephardt] Democratic Debate in Columbia SC , May 3, 2003

Texas slow to register kids in federal health insurance

Texas actually ranks 49th of 50 states in providing health insurance for kids. Governor Bush may say that he has a plan to improve children’s health. But, why hasn’t he done it in Texas? The focus of Lieberman’s remarks, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, is new. It was created in 1997, providing federal money to the states to cover uninsured children. Texas has been one of the slowest states in signing up children for the program.
Source: Richard P‚rez-Pe¤a, NY Times , Sep 9, 2000

Patient Bill of Rights: access; choice; privacy; appeals

Source: Associated Press , Aug 31, 2000

Health insurance for every American child

We see health care through a different set of eyes. We know that health care is one of the most important problems facing families today. We believe that medical decisions should be made by doctors, not bureaucrats. We believe that senior citizens shouldn’t be stopped from filling a prescription because they can’t afford to pay for it. And Al Gore and I are the only candidates in this race who will extend access to health care coverage to every single child in America.
Source: Speech to the Democrat Convention , Aug 16, 2000

Supports health insurance industry (based in Hartford CT)

Lieberman was part of a bipartisan group that tried last year to break a deadlock between the Clinton administration and Republican senators over how to regulate health plans. The administration maintained that the legislation Lieberman favored would have been too generous to insurance companies. Consumer groups and labor unions were among those siding with the administration.

Lieberman has also regularly voted for legislation to limit damages that can be assessed in civil lawsuits. Many of Lieberman’s friends said he had no alternative but to take this position because it was the one favored by the insurance industry. The industry is important to Connecticut’s economy and has generously donated to Lieberman’s campaigns.

But that is not Lieberman’s explanation for his stand. He said the American system of civil law had “gone way off track and become a lottery in which literally a few people do very well but most of the people injured don’t really get adequately compensated.”

Source: David E. Rosenbaum, NY Times, p. A19 , Aug 8, 2000

Limited lawsuits against HMOs and automakers

On HMO regulation, he co-sponsored a compromise that omits Medical Savings Accounts and would allow lawsuits against HMOs, but limit them to economic recovery and attorneys’ fees only. He is a sponsor of Auto Choice reform, which would allow car owners to opt out of pain and suffering damages and get much cheaper insurance premiums.
Source: Almanac of American Politics 2000 (Barone & Ujifusa) , Jan 1, 2000


Joseph Lieberman on Voting Record

Voted to cut Medicare & raise age; now would not

Gore rejected the majority conclusions reached last year by a bipartisan commission on Medicare, saying he would not support raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 from 65, forcing the elderly into managed care, or raising premiums and co-payments.

One of those who has supported such measures in the past is Lieberman, who sided with Republicans in several balanced-budget votes in 1997 to raise the eligibility age and to impose increases in premiums and fees for some Medicare recipients. “It is important to put these votes in context,“ said Lieberman’s spokesman. ”At the time projections were that the system would be bankrupt in four or five years. Senator Lieberman and a lot of other people saw it as necessary to salvage the program.“

Lieberman voted last year against the recommendations of the bipartisan commission to further restrict eligibility and allow some additional charges for recipients. ”His recent record shows he’s very much in synch with the vice president,“ he said.

Source: Kevin Sack & James Dao, NY Times , Aug 31, 2000

Voted NO on the Ryan Budget: Medicare choice, tax & spending cuts.

Proponent's Arguments for voting Yes:

[Sen. DeMint, R-SC]: The Democrats have Medicare on a course of bankruptcy. Republicans are trying to save Medicare & make sure there are options for seniors in the future. Medicare will not be there 5 or 10 years from now. Doctors will not see Medicare patients at the rate [Congress will] pay.

[Sen. Ayotte, R-NH]: We have 3 choices when it comes to addressing rising health care costs in Medicare. We can do nothing & watch the program go bankrupt in 2024. We can go forward with the President's proposal to ration care through an unelected board of 15 bureaucrats. Or we can show real leadership & strengthen the program to make it solvent for current beneficiaries, and allow future beneficiaries to make choices.

Opponent's Arguments for voting No:

[Sen. Conrad, D-ND]: In the House Republican budget plan, the first thing they do is cut $4 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the wealthiest among us, they give them an additional $1 trillion in tax reductions. To offset these massive new tax cuts, they have decided to shred the social safety net. They have decided to shred Medicare. They have decided to shred program after program so they can give more tax cuts to those who are the wealthiest among us.

[Sen. Merkley, D-TK]: The Republicans chose to end Medicare as we know it. The Republican plan reopens the doughnut hole. That is the hole into which seniors fall when, after they have some assistance with the first drugs they need, they get no assistance until they reach a catastrophic level. It is in that hole that seniors have had their finances devastated. We fixed it. Republicans want to unfix it and throw seniors back into the abyss. Then, instead of guaranteeing Medicare coverage for a fixed set of benefits for every senior--as Medicare does now--the Republican plan gives seniors a coupon and says: Good luck. Go buy your insurance. If the insurance goes up, too bad.
Status: Failed 40-57

Reference: Ryan Budget Plan; Bill HCR34&SCR21 ; vote number 11-SV077 on May 25, 2011

Voted YES on regulating tobacco as a drug.

Congressional Summary:Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to provide for the regulation of tobacco products by the Secretary of Health and Human Services through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Defines a tobacco product as any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption. Excludes from FDA authority the tobacco leaf and tobacco farms.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. HEATH SHULER (D, NC-11): Putting a dangerous, overworked FDA in charge of tobacco is a threat to public safety. Last year, the FDA commissioner testified that he had serious concerns that this bill could undermine the public health role of the FDA. And the FDA Science Board said the FDA's inability to keep up with scientific advancements means that Americans' lives will be at risk.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Rep. HENRY WAXMAN (D, CA-30): The bill before us, the Waxman-Platts bill, has been carefully crafted over more than a decade, in close consultation with the public health community. It's been endorsed by over 1,000 different public health, scientific, medical, faith, and community organizations.

Sen. HARRY REID (D, NV): Yesterday, 3,500 children who had never smoked before tried their first cigarette. For some, it will also be their last cigarette but certainly not all. If you think 3,500 is a scary number, how about 3.5 million. That is a pretty scary number. That is how many American high school kids smoke--3.5 million. Nearly all of them aren't old enough to buy cigarettes. It means we have as many boys and girls smoking as are participating in athletics in high schools. We have as many as are playing football, basketball, track and field, and baseball combined.

Reference: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; Bill HR1256&S982 ; vote number 2009-S207 on Jun 11, 2009

Voted YES on expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:

Rep. FRANK PALLONE (D, NJ-6): In the last Congress, we passed legislation that enjoyed bipartisan support as well as the support of the American people. Unfortunately, it did not enjoy the support of the President, who vetoed our bill twice, and went on to proclaim that uninsured children can simply go to the emergency room to have their medical needs met. As the Nation moves deeper into a recession and unemployment rates continue to rise, millions of Americans are joining the ranks of the uninsured, many of whom are children. We can't delay. We must enact this legislation now.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. ROY BLUNT (R, MI-7): This bill doesn't require the States to meet any kind of threshold standard that would ensure that States were doing everything they could to find kids who needed insurance before they begin to spend money to find kids who may not have the same need. Under the bill several thousands of American families would be poor enough to qualify for SCHIP and have the government pay for their health care, but they'd be rich enough to still be required to pay the alternative minimum tax. The bill changes welfare participation laws by eliminating the 5-year waiting period for legal immigrants to lawfully reside in the country before they can participate in this program. In the final bill, we assume that 65% of the children receiving the benefit wouldn't get the benefit anymore. It seems to me this bill needs more work, would have benefited from a committee hearing. It doesn't prioritize poor kids to ensure that they get health care first.

Reference: SCHIP Reauthorization Act; Bill H.R.2 ; vote number 2009-S031 on Jan 29, 2009

Voted YES on overriding veto on expansion of Medicare.

Congressional Summary:Pres. GEORGE W. BUSH's veto message (argument to vote No):In addition, H.R. 6331 would delay important reforms like the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies competitive bidding program. Changing policy in mid-stream is also confusing to beneficiaries who are receiving services from quality suppliers at lower prices. In order to slow the growth in Medicare spending, competition within the program should be expanded, not diminished.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Sen. PATTY MURRAY (D, WA): President Bush vetoed a bill that would make vital improvements to the program that has helped ensure that millions of seniors and the disabled can get the care they need. This bill puts an emphasis on preventive care that will help our seniors stay healthy, and it will help to keep costs down by enabling those patients to get care before they get seriously ill. This bill will improve coverage for low-income seniors who need expert help to afford basic care. It will help make sure our seniors get mental health care.

Reference: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act; Bill HR.6331 ; vote number 2008-S177 on Jul 15, 2008

Voted NO on means-testing to determine Medicare Part D premium.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:To require wealthy Medicare beneficiaries to pay a greater share of their Medicare Part D premiums.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. ENSIGN: This amendment is to means test Medicare Part D the same way we means test Medicare Part B. An individual senior making over $82,000 a year, or a senior couple making over $164,000, would be expected to pay a little over $10 a month extra. That is all we are doing. This amendment saves a couple billion dollars over the next 5 years. It is very reasonable. There is nothing else in this budget that does anything on entitlement reform, and we all know entitlements are heading for a train wreck in this country. We ought to at least do this little bit for our children for deficit reduction. OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. BAUCUS: The problem with this amendment is exactly what the sponsor said: It is exactly like Part B. Medicare Part B is a premium that is paid with respect to doctors' examinations and Medicare reimbursement. Part D is the drug benefit. Part D premiums vary significantly nationwide according to geography and according to the plans offered. It is nothing like Part B.

Second, any change in Part D is required to be in any Medicare bill if it comes up. We may want to make other Medicare changes. We don't want to be restricted to means testing.

Third, this should be considered broad health care reform, at least Medicare reform, and not be isolated in this case. LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 42-56

Reference: Bill S.Amdt.4240 to S.Con.Res.70 ; vote number 08-S063 on Mar 13, 2008

Voted NO on allowing tribal Indians to opt out of federal healthcare.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:
    TRIBAL MEMBER CHOICE PROGRAM: Members of federally-recognized Indian Tribes shall be provided the opportunity to voluntarily enroll, with a risk-adjusted subsidy for the purchase of qualified health insurance in order to--
  1. improve Indian access to high quality health care services;
  2. provide incentives to Indian patients to seek preventive health care services;
  3. create opportunities for Indians to participate in the health care decision process;
  4. encourage effective use of health care services by Indians; and
  5. allow Indians to make health care coverage & delivery decisions & choices.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. COBURN: The underlying legislation, S.1200, does not fix the underlying problems with tribal healthcare. It does not fix rationing. It does not fix waiting lines. It does not fix the inferior quality that is being applied to a lot of Native Americans and Alaskans in this country. It does not fix any of those problems. In fact, it authorizes more services without making sure the money is there to follow it.

Those who say a failure to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act is a violation of our trust obligations are correct. However, I believe simply reauthorizing this system with minor modifications is an even greater violation of that commitment.

OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. DORGAN: It is not more money necessarily that is only going to solve the problem. But I guarantee you that less money will not solve the problem. If you add another program for other Indians who can go somewhere else and be able to present a card, they have now taken money out of the system and purchased their own insurance--then those who live on the reservation with the current Indian Health Service clinic there has less money. How does that work to help the folks who are stranded with no competition?

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 28-67

Reference: Tribal Member Choice Program; Bill SA.4034 to SA.3899 to S.1200 ; vote number 08-S025 on Feb 14, 2008

Voted YES on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility.

Allows State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), that require state legislation to meet additional requirements imposed by this Act, additional time to make required plan changes. Pres. Bush vetoed this bill on Dec. 12, 2007, as well as a version (HR976) from Feb. 2007.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. DINGELL: This is not a perfect bill, but it is an excellent bipartisan compromise. The bill provides health coverage for 3.9 million children who are eligible, yet remain uninsured. It meets the concerns expressed in the President's veto message [from HR976]:

  1. It terminates the coverage of childless adults.
  2. It targets bonus payments only to States that increase enrollments of the poorest uninsured children, and it prohibits States from covering families with incomes above $51,000.
  3. It contains adequate enforcement to ensure that only US citizens are covered.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. DEAL: This bill [fails to] fix the previous legislation that has been vetoed:

Veto message from President Bush:

Like its predecessor, HR976, this bill does not put poor children first and it moves our country's health care system in the wrong direction. Ultimately, our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage--not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage. As a result, I cannot sign this legislation.

Reference: Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act; Bill H.R. 3963 ; vote number 2007-403 on Nov 1, 2007

Voted YES on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D.

Would require negotiating with pharmaceutical manufacturers the prices that may be charged to prescription drug plan sponsors for covered Medicare part D drugs.

Proponents support voting YES because:

This legislation is an overdue step to improve part D drug benefits. The bipartisan bill is simple and straightforward. It removes the prohibition from negotiating discounts with pharmaceutical manufacturers, and requires the Secretary of Health & Human Services to negotiate. This legislation will deliver lower premiums to the seniors, lower prices at the pharmacy and savings for all taxpayers.

It is equally important to understand that this legislation does not do certain things. HR4 does not preclude private plans from getting additional discounts on medicines they offer seniors and people with disabilities. HR4 does not establish a national formulary. HR4 does not require price controls. HR4 does not hamstring research and development by pharmaceutical houses. HR4 does not require using the Department of Veterans Affairs' price schedule.

Opponents support voting NO because:

Does ideological purity trump sound public policy? It shouldn't, but, unfortunately, it appears that ideology would profoundly change the Medicare part D prescription drug program, a program that is working well, a program that has arrived on time and under budget. The changes are not being proposed because of any weakness or defect in the program, but because of ideological opposition to market-based prices. Since the inception of the part D program, America's seniors have had access to greater coverage at a lower cost than at any time under Medicare.

Under the guise of negotiation, this bill proposes to enact draconian price controls on pharmaceutical products. Competition has brought significant cost savings to the program. The current system trusts the marketplace, with some guidance, to be the most efficient arbiter of distribution.
Status: Cloture rejected Cloture vote rejected, 55-42 (3/5ths required)

Reference: Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act; Bill S.3 & H.R.4 ; vote number 2007-132 on Apr 18, 2007

Voted NO on limiting medical liability lawsuits to $250,000.

A "cloture motion" cuts off debate. Voting YEA indicates support for the bill as written, in this case to cap medical liability lawsuits. Voting NAY indicates opposition to the bill or a desire to amend it. This bill would "provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system." It would limit medical lawsuit noneconomic damages to $250,000 from the health care provider, and no more than $500,000 from multiple health care institutions.
Reference: Medical Care Access Protection Act; Bill S. 22 ; vote number 2006-115 on May 8, 2006

Voted YES on expanding enrollment period for Medicare Part D.

To provide for necessary beneficiary protections in order to ensure access to coverage under the Medicare part D prescription drug program. Voting YES would extend the 6-month enrollment period for the Prescription Drug Benefit Program to the entire year of 2006 and allows beneficiaries to change plans once in that year, without penalty, after enrollment. Also would fully reimburse pharmacies, states and individuals for cost in 2006 for covered Medicare Part D drugs.
Reference: Medicare Part D Amendment; Bill S Amdt 2730 to HR 4297 ; vote number 2006-005 on Feb 2, 2006

Voted YES on increasing Medicaid rebate for producing generics.

Vote on an amendment that removes an increase in the Medicaid deduction rebate for generic drugs from 11% to 17%. The effect of the amendment, according to its sponsor, is as follows: "This bill eliminates the ability of generic drugs to be sold using Medicaid. Over half the prescription drugs used in Medicaid are generic. Because we have raised the fees so dramatically on what a generic drug company must pay a pharmacy to handle the drug, pharmacies are not going to use the generic. In the long run, that will cost the Medicaid Program billions of dollars. My amendment corrects that situation." A Senator opposing the amendment said: "This bill has in it already very significant incentives for generic utilization through the way we reimburse generics. Brand drugs account for 67% of Medicaid prescriptions, but they also account for 81% of the Medicaid rebates. This is reasonable policy for us, then, to create parity between brand and generic rebates. This amendment would upset that parity."
Reference: Amendment for Medicaid rebates for generic drugs; Bill S Amdt 2348 to S 1932 ; vote number 2005-299 on Nov 3, 2005

Voted YES on negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drug.

Vote to adopt an amendment that would allow federal government negotiations with prescription drug manufactures for the best possible prescription drug prices. Amendment details: To ensure that any savings associated with legislation that provides the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the authority to participate in the negotiation of contracts with manufacturers of covered part D drugs to achieve the best possible prices for such drugs under Medicare Part D of the Social Security Act, that requires the Secretary to negotiate contracts with manufacturers of such drugs for each fallback prescription drug plan, and that requires the Secretary to participate in the negotiation for a contract for any such drug upon the request of a prescription drug plan or an MA-PD plan, is reserved for reducing expenditures under such part.
Reference: Prescription Drug Amendment; Bill S.Amdt. 214 to S.Con.Res. 18 ; vote number 2005-60 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted YES on allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada.

S. 812, as amended; Greater Access to Affordable Pharmaceuticals Act of 2002. Vote to pass a bill that would permit a single 30-month stay against Food and Drug Administration approval of a generic drug patent when a brand-name company's patent is challenged. The secretary of Health and Human Services would be authorized to announce regulations allowing pharmacists and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from Canada into the United States. Canadian pharmacies and wholesalers that provide drugs for importation would be required to register with Health and Human Services. Individuals would be allowed to import prescription drugs from Canada. The medication would have to be for an individual use and a supply of less than 90-days.
Reference: Bill S.812 ; vote number 2002-201 on Jul 31, 2002

Voted YES on allowing patients to sue HMOs & collect punitive damages.

Vote to provide federal protections, such as access to specialty and emergency room care, and allow patients to sue health insurers in state and federal courts. Economic damages would not be capped, and punitive damages would be capped at $5 million.
Reference: Bill S1052 ; vote number 2001-220 on Jun 29, 2001

Voted NO on funding GOP version of Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Vote to pass an amendment that would make up to $300 billion available for a Medicare prescription drug benefit for 2002 through 2011. The money would come from the budget's contingency fund. The amendment would also require a Medicare overhaul.
Reference: Bill H Con Res 83 ; vote number 2001-65 on Apr 3, 2001

Voted YES on including prescription drugs under Medicare.

Vote to establish a prescription drug benefit program through the Medicare health insurance program. Among other provisions, Medicare would contribute at least 50% of the cost of prescription drugs and beneficiaries would pay a $250 deductible
Reference: Bill HR.4690 ; vote number 2000-144 on Jun 22, 2000

Voted NO on limiting self-employment health deduction.

The Santorum (R-PA) amdt would effectively kill the Kennedy Amdt (D-MA) which would have allowed self-employed individuals to fully deduct the cost of their health insurance on their federal taxes.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)53; N)47
Reference: Santorum Amdt #1234; Bill S. 1344 ; vote number 1999-202 on Jul 13, 1999

Voted YES on increasing tobacco restrictions.

This cloture motion was on a bill which would have increased tobacco restrictions. [YES is an anti-smoking vote].
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)57; N)42; NV)1
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on a modified committee substitute to S. 1415; Bill S. 1415 ; vote number 1998-161 on Jun 17, 1998

Voted YES on Medicare means-testing.

Approval of means-based testing for Medicare insurance premiums.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)70; N)20
Reference: Motion to table the Kennedy Amdt #440; Bill S. 947 ; vote number 1997-113 on Jun 24, 1997

Voted YES on blocking medical savings acounts.

Vote to block a plan which would allow tax-deductible medical savings accounts.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)52; N)46; NV)2
Reference: Kassebaum Amdt #3677; Bill S. 1028 ; vote number 1996-72 on Apr 18, 1996

Establish "report cards" on HMO quality of care.

Lieberman signed the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Promote Universal Access and Quality in Health Care
That more than 40 million Americans lack health insurance is one of our society’s most glaring inequities. Lack of insurance jeopardizes the health of disadvantaged Americans and also imposes high costs on everyone else when the uninsured lack preventive care and get treatment from emergency rooms. Washington provides a tax subsidy for insurance for Americans who get coverage from their employers but offers nothing to workers who don’t have job-based coverage.

Markets alone cannot assure universal access to health coverage. Government should enable all low-income families to buy health insurance. Individuals must take responsibility for insuring themselves and their families whether or not they qualify for public assistance.

Finally, to help promote higher quality in health care for all Americans, we need reliable information on the quality of health care delivered by health plans and providers; a “patient’s bill of rights” that ensures access to medically necessary care; and a system in which private health plans compete on the basis of quality as well as cost.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC5 on Aug 1, 2000

Invest funds to alleviate the nursing shortage.

Lieberman co-sponsored the Nurse Reinvestment Act

Source: Bill sponsored by 39 Senators 01-S706 on Apr 5, 2001

Rated 100% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record.

Lieberman scores 100% by APHA on health issues

The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, representing more than 50,000 members from over 50 occupations of public health. APHA is concerned with a broad set of issues affecting personal and environmental health, including federal and state funding for health programs, pollution control, programs and policies related to chronic and infectious diseases, a smoke-free society, and professional education in public health.

The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: APHA website 03n-APHA on Dec 31, 2003

Provide mental health services for older Americans.

Lieberman co-sponsored providing mental health services for older Americans

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to provide for mental health screening and treatment services, and to provide for integration of mental health services and mental health treatment outreach teams.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. CLINTON: This bill is an effort to improve the accessibility and quality of mental health services for our rapidly growing population of older Americans. As we look forward to increased longevity, we must also acknowledge the challenges that we face related to the quality of life as we age. Chief among these are mental and behavioral health concerns.

It is estimated that nearly 20% of Americans age 55 or older experience a mental disorder. It is anticipated that the number of seniors with mental health problems will increase from 4 million in 1970 to 15 million in 2030. Mental disorders do not have to be a part of the aging process because we have effective treatments for these conditions. But in far too many instances our seniors go undiagnosed and untreated because of the current divide in our country between health care and mental health care.

That is why I am reintroducing the Positive Aging Act. This legislation would strengthen the delivery of mental health services to older Americans. Specifically, the Positive Aging Act would fund grants to states to provide screening and treatment for mental health disorders in seniors. It would also fund demonstration projects to provide these screening and treatment services to older adults residing in rural areas and in naturally occurring retirement communities, NORC's.

I believe that we owe it to older adults in this country to do all that we can to ensure that high quality mental health care is both available and accessible. This legislation takes an important step in that direction.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; never came to a vote.

Source: Positive Aging Act (S.1116/H.R.2629) 05-S1116 on May 25, 2005

Establish a national childhood cancer database.

Lieberman co-sponsored establishing a national childhood cancer database

Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2007 - A bill to advance medical research and treatments into pediatric cancers, ensure patients and families have access to the current treatments and information regarding pediatric cancers, establish a population-based national childhood cancer database, and promote public awareness of pediatric cancers.

    Authorizes the Secretary to award grants to childhood cancer professional and direct service organizations for the expansion and widespread implementation of:
  1. activities that provide information on treatment protocols to ensure early access to the best available therapies and clinical trials for pediatric cancers;
  2. activities that provide available information on the late effects of pediatric cancer treatment to ensure access to necessary long-term medical and psychological care; and
  3. direct resource services such as educational outreach for parents, information on school reentry and postsecondary education, and resource directories or referral services for financial assistance, psychological counseling, and other support services.
Legislative Outcome: House version H.R.1553; became Public Law 110-285 on 7/29/2008.
Source: Conquer Childhood Cancer Act (S911/HR1553) 07-S911 on Mar 19, 2007

Preserve access to Medicaid & SCHIP during economic downturn.

Lieberman co-sponsored preserving access to Medicaid & SCHIP in economic downturn

A bill to preserve access to Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program during an economic downturn.

Source: Economic Recovery in Health Care Act (S.2819) 2008-S2819 on Apr 7, 2008

Other candidates on Health Care: Joseph Lieberman on other issues:
CT Gubernatorial:
Dan Malloy
CT Senatorial:
Chris Murphy
Christopher Shays
Linda McMahon
Richard Blumenthal
Susan Bysiewicz

CT politicians

Retiring as of Jan. 2013:
AZ:Kyl(R)
CT:Lieberman(D)
HI:Akaka(D)
ME:Snowe(R)
ND:Conrad(D)
NE:Nelson(D)
NM:Bingaman(D)
TX:Hutchison(R)
VA:Webb(D)
WI:Kohl(D)


Senate elections Nov. 2012:
AZ:Flake(R) vs.Hackbarth(R) vs.Carmona(D) vs.Ruben(D) vs.Bivens(D)
CA:Feinstein(D) vs.Emken(R) vs.Lightfoot(G) vs.Taitz(R)
CT:Bysiewicz(D) vs.Murphy(D) vs.Shays(R) vs.McMahon(R)
DE:Carper(D) vs.Wade(R)
FL:Nelson(D) vs.LeMieux(R) vs.Mack(R)
HI:Hirono(D) vs.Case(D) vs.Lingle(R)
IN:Lugar(R) vs.Mourdock(R) vs.Donnelly(D)
MA:Brown(R) vs.Warren(D) vs.Clark(G)
MD:Cardin(D) vs.Bongino(R)
ME:D`Amboise(R) vs.King(I) vs.Dunlap(D) vs.Summers(R)
MI:Stabenow(D) vs.Hekman(R) vs.Konetchy(R) vs.Hoekstra(R) vs.Boman(L)
MN:Klobuchar(D) vs.Arwood(R) vs.Hernandez(R) vs.Severson(R)
MO:McCaskill(D) vs.Akin(R) vs.Steelman(R) vs.Brunner(R)
MS:Wicker(R) vs.Gore(D)
MT:Tester(D) vs.Rehberg(R)

ND:Heitkamp(D) vs.Berg(R) vs.Sand(R)
NE:Kerrey(D) vs.Fischer(R)
NJ:Menendez(D) vs.Kyrillos(R) vs.Diakos(D) vs.Booker(D)
NM:Heinrich(D) vs.Wilson(R) vs.Balderas(D) vs.Sanchez(R)
NV:Heller(R) vs.Berkley(D)
NY:Gillibrand(D) vs.Noren(D) vs.Maragos(R) vs.Turner(R) vs.Clark(G)
OH:Brown(D) vs.Pryce(R) vs.Mandel(R)
PA:Casey(D) vs.Scaringi(R) vs.Welch(R) vs.Smith(R) vs.Rohrer(R)
RI:Whitehouse(D) vs.Hinckley(R)
TN:Corker(R) vs.Poskevich(R)
TX:Cruz(R) vs.Leppert(R) vs.Dewhurst(R) vs.Sadler(D) vs.Roland(L)
UT:Hatch(R) vs.Howell(D) vs.Liljenquist(R)
VA:Kaine(D) vs.Allen(R) vs.Radtke(R) vs.Marshall(R)
VT:Sanders(I)
WA:Cantwell(D) vs.Baumgartner(R)
WI:Schiess(R) vs.Neumann(R) vs.Thompson(R) vs.Baldwin(D)
WV:Manchin(D) vs.Raese(R)
WY:Barrasso(R)
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Page last updated: Jun 08, 2012