Responding to proponents of the public plan who argue that it would actually lower costs, Lieberman insisted that if the public option paid lower reimbursement rates than private insurers, medical providers would shift costs to Americans with private coverage:
LIEBERMAN: If the public option, the government run health insurance company negotiates hard to lower the reimbursement — the money it’s paying to hospitals, doctors — they’re [providers] going to have to get that money somewhere. And where they’re going to get it is from the 200 million Americans who today have private health insurance. Premiums will go up. It’s exactly what’s happened with Medicare and Medicaid. [...]
When people hear public option, I think they think it’s for free. It’s not for free. Somebody is going to have to pay for it and you can bet it’s going to be the taxpayers and the people who pay health insurance premiums now.