When Senator Lieberman objected to a Medicare expansion as part of the Senate health care bill, the left went bonkers, accusing him of, among other things, being a tool of the Connecticut health insurance companies and being out to get attention for himself. My local Reform rabbi was denouncing the senator on Facebook ("I wish he would get defeated. That an observant Jew opposes a public option is beyond my comprehension in its total lack of compassion for the poor. What a shanda."), with other Facebook commenters discussing whether and how physically to attack the senator ("Is it illegal to threaten to harm a United States Senator? I don't care. MOIDERIZE HIM!!! DROP A PIANO ON HIM!!! A FLOWERPOT!!! A 16 TON WEIGHT!! ANYTHING!!!"). The Hartford Courant ran a cartoon depicting Mr. Lieberman as having shot Santa Claus. Now the prestigious Mayo Clinic -- hailed by President Obama and New Yorker writer/Harvard Medical School surgeon Atul Gawande as a model of high quality, low-cost care -- has taken essentially the same position: "Senate leadership made a wise decision to drop plans to expand Medicare eligibility. We also applaud the Senate for not pursuing a Medicare‐like, price controlled public option. As we've said, we must build health care reform upon what's working… not on a failing Medicare system." Somehow I doubt that the Mayo Clinic will get the same vituperative reaction that Senator Lieberman did, which suggests to me that the reaction to Mr. Lieberman was more about Mr. Lieberman and his critics and less about the substance of health care policy.
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