Republicans Gregg, Cassidy continue the hypocrisy of opposing health reform by proposing ideas already in the billPosted on February 11th, 2010 by Jason Rosenbaum in Profits Before People
The Republican geyser of "new ideas" in response to President Obama's outreach continues. And it continues in the same pattern - Republicans offering "new ideas" that are mostly already in the bill or would do nothing to expand coverage, lower cost, or hold the insurance industry accountable and yet decrying the status quo and opposing the health care bills on the table. It all adds up to an endorsement of the status quo.
First, we had R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of government affairs for the insurance industry front group U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Next we had Newt Gingrich and John Goodman. Today we have Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
It's hardly worth going through all the ideas again - they're the same no matter which Republican puts them down on paper. They endorse exchanges, transparency, selling of insurance across state lines, and in theory ending the most egregious insurance company abuses (though the bills they propose do none of those things), all things that are already in the bills. And their "new ideas" - tort reform, health savings accounts, state high risk pools - either do nothing (in the case of HSAs and tort reform) or have already been tried and failed (in the case of state based high risk pools).
(For an in-depth look at how closely Judd Gregg's proposal matches the Senate bill already passed, Jon Walker has an excellent run-down.)
In all, it's a lot of rhetoric, especially about ending insurance company abuses like denying care for pre-existing conditions and charging more if you're sick, but no actual proposals to do any of that. And the proposals they do put forward - tort reform, HSAs, high risk pools - have already been proved not to expand coverage, lower cost, or rein in the private insurance industry. What the Republican ideas that have been left out of the bills have in common is that they would be bad for people.
So let's see if I can get this straight. The majority of "new ideas" Republicans put forward are ideas that are already in the health reform bills. The "new ideas" they put forward do nothing to further the goals of coverage, lower cost, and stopping abuses. And yet, they oppose the passage of health reform. If you can't come up with new ideas that aren't already in the bills or would actually solve the fundamental problems in our health care system and you still oppose the bills on the table that do these things, then you are arguing for the status quo.
The Republicans are hypocrites, plain and simple. Democrats should move forward to finish health reform right using majority rule.