Mr. Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who caucuses with the Democrats, told reporters Tuesday that he would vote in favor of a procedural motion allowing debate of the bill. But he said that, unless the bill changes substantially, he would vote with Senate Republicans against a motion to allow a vote on final passage of the bill.
"I think that a lot of people may think that the public option is free. It's not," Mr. Lieberman said. "It's going to cost the taxpayers and people that have health insurance now, and if it doesn't, it's going to add terribly to our national debt."
Then, moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, whose vote Democrats on Senate Finance worked so hard to earn on the committee vote for an earlier version of the bill:
Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe says she would vote with fellow Republicans to block the Democratic health care overhaul if changes are not made to the version Majority Leader Harry Reid outlined this week.
Another moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins:
Meanwhile, Maine Republican Susan Collins, who had earlier indicated interest in trying to pass a bipartisan bill this year, issued a statement underscoring her opposition to "a taxpayer-subsidized, government-run health insurance company."
And, moderate Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln:
U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., said Tuesday she still can't support a government-funded insurance option, a day after legislation was unveiled that would give states the choice of whether to participate in the program.
"Creating another government-funded option is not where we're going. We don't need to go there," Lincoln told members of the Arkansas Farm Bureau during a video conference. "A government-funded option is something that I think is not the way to go."
Phil Klein on the defections:
The problem Reid faces is that if he pulls back support for the government plan now, it will enrage liberals who will believe he's sold them out to win the support of a few moderates. But if he charges ahead with the government plan proposal, he risks derailing the entire health care effort.