Does the GOP really want to run against health care reform?

There were tea-party protestors outside the Capitol yesterday yelling that Nancy Pelosi is “going to hell.” That led me to believe they have a very distorted view of what’s in the health care bill. They’ve been misled by cynical Republicans in Congress and even-more-cynical conservative talk show hosts.

If Republicans want to run against the health care reform bill in the coming Congressional campaign season, this is what they’d be for: allowing insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions; forcing young adults off their parents’ health insurance; re-opening the “donut hole” that left some seniors with high prescription bills; re-instating the lifetime insurance caps for coverage of expensive, chronic medical conditions.

David Frum, former Bush speechwriter, argues that the Republicans went too far in opposing the bill:

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

519 comments Add your comment

Granny Godzilla

March 22nd, 2010
8:00 am

Of course they want to run against healthcare reform, but I don’t think
they’ll actually have that option.

We are about to gear up for a national debate on financial reform . The GOP is going to be on absolutely the wrong side of this issue as well.

We won’t be talking about death panels, we’ll be talking about why the
GOP does not want to impose any serious regulation on Wall Street.

Going into November, the Republicans will be having to explain to the American people why they don’t want to enact legislation to prevent
another melt down.

They are still playing chutes and ladders.

Joel Edge

March 22nd, 2010
8:07 am

If they have any standards, then, yes they do. This thing is a train wreck. It’s gonna flood the insurance companies with people with disabilities while the healthy opt out and pay the fine because it’s cheaper. Companies that can are going to try and get under the fifty person limit. So much for small business. Larger companies are going to have to cut payrolls. Unlike Congress these companies have to make a profit to keep the lights on. They (and I) don’t live in the Pixie Forest next to the Chocolate River, picking food from the muffin trees. A columnist today wrote that Obama had secured his place in history. He’s correct. The last president elected from the Democratic party. I expect the economy is gonna tank, worse than it has already tanked.

Dee keith

March 22nd, 2010
8:08 am

Of course they don’t. If the Bill was as bad as Repugs. say it is, they would simply let it pass, and stand back and watch it crash and burn, and then zoom in and use it as an excuse to get rid of medicare and SS like they have always wanted to do. I have no doubt Repugs. will try to make the case that they were trying to save the country from the Dems. financial ruins, but given their track record for the past 8yrs., no one immune to fox, Limbaugh, or Beck would believe that nonsence.

jimmy62

March 22nd, 2010
8:13 am

Responsible politicians need to end this farce as soon as possible. Unfortunately it’s set up in such a way that the really bad stuff won’t happen for a few years, but at least that gives us time to repeal it before our economy is destroyed. I admit the Dems are clever, they will mostly be long gone before the consequences of yesterday’s vote cause the greatest damage to our country.

Turd Ferguson (Cynthia Tuckers Original # 1 fan)

March 22nd, 2010
8:18 am

All that being said…get ready for your tax increases and thats a good thing because the Dems who pushed this debacle will also particpate in said debacle…

AHH HAHAHAHAAAAA!

cas

March 22nd, 2010
8:19 am

It obviously doesn’t matter what the GOP or the American people want. We have now proven to have a political elite above ethics and the spirit of american constitutional law. Regardless of whether you may be for or against the issues you can not possibly be in favor of the current process. What we have seen this past several weeks is the darkest side of politics which unfortunately may very well indicate the end of a democratic republic and the beginning of a different form of united states yet to be determined. The american people spoke in November and that may have been their last time.

Joel Edge

March 22nd, 2010
8:21 am

jimmy62
I expect all of this will be eclipsed by the economy and the cry will go up for more government intervention. After the government breaks something they come in and try to fix what is broken. There is no public memory that the government broke it in the first place.
Unfortunately, this time there is no cover for the Democrats.

Drifter

March 22nd, 2010
8:25 am

If Republicans think passage of this bill is good for them, they’re crazy. The bottom line is that health care reform was a huge plank in Obama’s platform and he got over 50% of the vote. The Republicans probably overstated their case and now the cookie jar has been opened. A lot of people are going to get something out of this legislation and for many of them, it won’t cost a thing. So are the Republicans going to pretend they are going to take these goodies away? They better come up with something better than that, because it will never happen. And if the government is going to throw away money with both hands anyway, they might as well give it to US citizens instead of dumping it into Iraq/Afghanistan.

Grumpy

March 22nd, 2010
8:29 am

No, they will run against it because WE ARE FREAKING BROKE AND HAVE NO WAY TO PAY FOR THIS!

Anyone who actually believes this will lower the deficit is a fool. Congress would actually have to follow through with promised cuts, which they have NEVER done in the past.

If they fail to follow through? *poof* there goes your deficit reduction.

Furthermore, has there EVER been a new entitlement program that didn’t go over the projected cost? Heck, the CBO estimates for the stimulus were a whopping 10% off after only ONE YEAR.

A great victory for those who like other people to pay for their stuff. For those of us who *gasp* actually believe in balancing our checkbook? Just another defeat on the way to the full Nanny State.

Sick&Tired

March 22nd, 2010
8:31 am

By the time November gets here we will be well into the financial reform and they won’t have a leg to stand on. And if the repugs in georgia try to pass a bill to opt us out, I will be at the capitol protesting.

hatin' on the stupid

March 22nd, 2010
8:32 am

“It obviously doesn’t matter what the GOP or the American people want. We have now proven to have a political elite above ethics and the spirit of american constitutional law. Regardless of whether you may be for or against the issues you can not possibly be in favor of the current process. What we have seen this past several weeks is the darkest side of politics which unfortunately may very well indicate the end of a democratic republic and the beginning of a different form of united states yet to be determined. The american people spoke in November and that may have been their last time.”

Puh-leese, it’s called democracy. Your side got out-voted.

Joel Edge

March 22nd, 2010
8:33 am

Drifter
“A lot of people are going to get something out of this legislation and for many of them, it won’t cost a thing.”
Is that the standard for good government? Like Obama said: many Americans are saying ‘What’s in this for me?’ Have we slide that far from “ask not what your country can do for you..” etc. Unlike the Democrat party I don’t think the majority of Americans have that outlook. I could be wrong.

Dee keith

March 22nd, 2010
8:34 am

Drifter you have hit on the very point that I often make with the Texas straight jacket Repugs. It would have been nice for coservatives/ignorant to express their concerns about SOCIALISM when the Bush/Cheney regime was taking tax payer dollars and lining the pockets of Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Jethro

March 22nd, 2010
8:34 am

This reads more like professional wrestling than coherent politics. Yes, Republicans will fight it. It’s a divisive issue. They are unanimously opposed. Dems could’ve tried to work with Rupubs, but didn’t. Yes, Cynthia, Rupubs did the same thing. And they got voted out of office. What bothers me, Cynthia, is that no one – not the media, not the politicos – wants to elevate this discussion beyond either/or. Talk to me when you care about my ideas, when you’re ready to talk about something more than Rahm throwing a chair in the ring or Boehner gouging Pelosi’s eyes. Talk to me when you want to exchange ideas and not encourage the battle royal. Talk to me when you want me to think, not react. Until then, you and your ilk (including Fox) just roil the cacophony.

jt

March 22nd, 2010
8:34 am

Here is some helpful tips when corresponding with your new State prescribed doctor.

Remember, Corruption has its own elaborate etiquette.

Never mention the word “bribery”. Most doctors prefer “expediting fee”. “Speed money” is also acceptable.

Never show cash. Put it in an envelope or document, with the words “for expenses” printed upon it.

Never use checks.

Whacks Eloquent

March 22nd, 2010
8:40 am

All I am gonna say is there is a large number of people out there who feel they have been marginalized, that their voices were not heard, and they are not likely to get over that quickly. Their anger may subside somewhat, but they will not forget the arrogance and utter partisanship with which this bill was passed. That is, assuming it does not succumb to parliamentary armageddon…

Aquagirl

March 22nd, 2010
8:41 am

Wow, the sun still rose this morning! The hysterical folks need to get over it.

Whacks Eloquent

March 22nd, 2010
8:42 am

Another question for ya…will President Obama honor his word when it comes to not campaigning for Dems who voted “no”? If so, could be a very interesting November…

Rush Rules!

March 22nd, 2010
8:46 am

Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity will not be happy with this new legislation. Look for them to come out with record ratings in the next few weeks, as their listeners call in to complain!

Swami Dave

March 22nd, 2010
8:46 am

This bill is the result of what you get when you construct an political environment where three wolves and a sheep vote on dinner. This is what happens when as an entire class of dependents and beneficiaries discover that they can vote themselves money by electing politicians to confiscate and redistribute from their fellow citizens. It is truly sad to see a morning in America where politicians continue with impunity to do with legislation what thieves do with crowbars and guns.

The collectivists and their beneficiaries who elect them to steal from producers and achievers what they will not earn for themselves will deserve the push-back that they will undoubtedly get.

Our political environment is not the fault of “talk radio”, but lies square at the feet of liberals who continue spreading their cancer-like philosophy of theft as legitimate governance. The anger and frustration of American taxpayers who are tired of financing the poor lifestyle decisions and achievement of the dependency class only grows as Democrats gleefully celebrate another $1T that they will graft and confiscate from America’s producers and achievers.

Frankly Cynthia, I don’t “work with” with burglars and muggers either so I refuse to compromise with collectivist thieves intent upon stealing that which I earn to fund services and transfer payments to others who will not earn them for themselves.

-SD

gmaye

March 22nd, 2010
8:49 am

Those tea baggars(klansman) are a disgrace to the Ameican people. People around the world watched in horror as people call a Congressman the N word, and spat on one Congressman. I am ashamed to have wore a military uniform for those rednecks, Klansman. Thank God finally a President who campaign on something and delivered.

When will these rednecks wake up? and move in the 21st Cent.

Paul the Reasonable One

March 22nd, 2010
8:50 am

I love how you keep talking about the Republicans Mrs. Tucker. If my memory serves me, the Dems are in control. Does it matter what the Repubs want to do?
I am no fan of Republicans, but am definitely seeing the nation spending itself into oblivion by both parties.

Granny, I’ll be sure to vote to keep you when the death panels come! :)

Whacks Eloquent

March 22nd, 2010
8:50 am

Swami Dave, spot on!

“This is what happens when as an entire class of dependents and beneficiaries discover that they can vote themselves money by electing politicians to confiscate and redistribute from their fellow citizens.”

The final life-cycle stage of a “democracy”. We will soon go the way of the Roman Empire and the Greeks…because next the socialists will attempt to take over other aspects of our society. I think the next will be energy, or perhaps banking, but both of those are gonners unless people wake up fast!

neo-Carlinist

March 22nd, 2010
8:51 am

hatin’ on the stupid, are you referring to yourself? we are NOT a “democracy”. as cas’s post notes, our government is a REPUBLIC and the republic is run by a shameless, money-grubbing class of professional politicians, who pander to special interests, and “vote” based on the desires of lobbyists and corporate benefactors, as opposed to “the People”. here’s what I do not understand (which I suppose makes me stupid, so don’t hate on me). if the gub-ment really wants to improve “health care” for ALL Americans (or even, specifically those experiencing economic hardship), why not simply operate state run, taxpayer funded health clinics (as there are on military bases, in the US Capitol, and most state run colleges and universities). if a person (without coverage) gets sick or injured; they can get treatment. if the person feels more comfortable with private sector care, all the better. what people fail to see is the “public option” scared insurance companies and $25 aspirin pueveyors because they would have been forced to compete. the current system is rigged and the just-passed bill is rigged (albeit, a tad differently). we can debate the role of government as it relates to being in the healthcare business (as we debate the US government’s intrusion into banking, auto manufacturing, and nation building), but this bill does not reflect “health care reform”. it reflects health INSURANCE reform.

Paul the Reasonable One

March 22nd, 2010
8:53 am

And does anyone besides me find it odd that a 25 year old man should be included on his Parents insurance?
That’s a generation! Time for that Grown Man to get to work and pay his own way!

Granny Godzilla

March 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

Paul the Reasonable….

Thanks, in response I will not accept any of your redistributed wealth.

Tech Man

March 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

They sure do! They will run by reforming the “reform”. Woosh is the sound of more jobs going out of the country.
When, for example, small businesses such as grocery stores, employing 50+ people including part time, start laying off the majority of their workforce due to the trap of the “low income employee/family” taxes and penalties the American people will see what a mistake this is.
Why does Walmart, for example, approve of this. Which retailer is the most automated. In the future, fat chance finding one human at the check out line. How many cashiers, etc are going to lose their jobs? How many more jobs are going to move overseas to countries that don’t have these “tax traps”?
Can Obama, help his union friends organize China and India?

Keep up the good fight!

March 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

Mr. Frum has put perspective on the Republican lockstep march to the extreme right. However many (as will be witnessed by the posts here today) will not see it. They wont fight on the basis of “getting right of pre-existing conditions” was good…they will keep up the absurdity of “socialism”, “making our children pay for this because I will not trust anything the government does” and other mushy make up issues. They will try to tap into an anti-incumbent anger so it is up to independents and Dems to continue to raise these points, to point out the mean and ugly nature of the extreme’s arguments which comes down to “taxes for what I want, but nothing else”. They will try to avoid the issues that divide because that will bring their demise: abortion, church, race, equal rights for gays and immigration reforms. They will impose their purity tests.

Democracy is a wonderful thing….. Let them keep pushing the extreme and they may be surprised when the 2010 elections end and they realize the Dems and Independents have rejected the right extremists.

Scott

March 22nd, 2010
8:55 am

One question nobody talks about is how the newly covered persons will pay their premiums? The premiums will still be expensive as the insurance companies who write business will have to be profitable. Can someone tell me what this changes? Dont most of the current uninsured want insurance but cant afford it? – are premiums going down under this plan? Did i miss someting?

LIBERAL=LOONEY

March 22nd, 2010
8:55 am

At first I was angry, but it isn’t over yet. The senate will do what they can to stop it and if not I will financially support ANY politician running against an incumbent democrat with hopes this can be repealed. It should be against the law what these crooks did to pass this horrible bill!

Paul the Reasonable One

March 22nd, 2010
8:58 am

Granny,
LOL You are too sweet and witty!

One thing that greatly concerns me is how truly divided we are as a country. And as the Good books says, “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand”

God help us…

TnGelding

March 22nd, 2010
9:00 am

David Frum is wise beyond his years. How refreshing.

Some might try to run on it, but I would bet unsuccessfully. Heck, we don’t even know what’s in it, and won’t until the regulators have their say.

Vinny

March 22nd, 2010
9:02 am

I am looking forward to my free medical care for life and for all of the free gubberment cheese that I can eat.

Drifter

March 22nd, 2010
9:03 am

Where is that grown man supposed to go get that job Paul? India? China? I know a few college students about to graduate who are seriously looking at graduate school simply because the job market is so terrible.

TnGelding

March 22nd, 2010
9:03 am

Paul the Reasonable One

March 22nd, 2010
8:58 am

You’re certainly right about the division. Is it as simple as growing up on different sides of the RR tracks? Just look at all the 5-4 SCOTUS decisions. Baffling!

TnGelding

March 22nd, 2010
9:05 am

Vinny

March 22nd, 2010
9:02 am

It’s not free and you know it; just a different way to pay for it. And we’ll be paying plenty as we are now.

Chris Salzmann

March 22nd, 2010
9:05 am

So much for President’s Obama Waterloo, as many Republicans proclaimed that this bill was to turn into. All their fear mongering about “Death Panels” and “Road to communism” was exposed for what it was. Many asked the question: Does this Bill reform our Health Care System as far as Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Sweden, UK or the Netherlands? Not even close by a long shot. Last I checked non of these forementioned countries are even remotely considered to be communist. But then, would the majority of the uninformed know any better? Of course not. Hence the Tea Party loonies.

Reality

March 22nd, 2010
9:05 am

ctucker – I have to admit that I truely adire you. There are so many on these blogs that are so uninformed and spout such things, I wonder how you can read them all.

Regarding repubs – who knows what they’ll do next. All they have done for the past year is say ‘no.’ They haven’t offered anything of substance to indicate any direction of their own. Although their so-called platform is fiscal responsibility, historically they are the ones that put the Country in debt (see GW Bush). Going forwards, I really don’t see where their direction will take them. If all they continue to do is say ‘no’, will Americans really for FOR them?

Dee keith

March 22nd, 2010
9:06 am

neo-Carlinist Well said. I supported HC reform, but like you I consider this to be more insurance reform more than anything. The only way we the people are gonna get real HC reform, or anything that benefits we the people is to not just vote out corporate owned politicians, but change the infrastructure. In other words stop these politicians from writing legislation for corporations at the expense of average americans, and then assuming a job with them afterwards.

Williebkind

March 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

I guess I will go to prison because I am not going to buy insurance. Hey it will cost more than 40k to keep me in prison. I want color tv, airconditioning and bible study.

Free Care Now!

March 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

When does the free government care start? I’m going to call Blue Cross and tell them to shove it, now that the government will pay all my healthcare costs! Blue cross was jacking up my rates because I’m a heavy smoker—now, the free insurance will let me do what I want!!!!

The Tar and Feathers Party

March 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

Just wait until the policy holders get the bill for all this largess in ObamaCare: Premiums will go up by 30 to 40 percent in one year alone. Does anyone imagine the insurance companies are in business to lose money? No, they will maintain their profit margins, and pass all additional costs on to the policy holders. The cost of covering children up to the age of 26 alone will demand a premium increase, the cost of paying for currently un insurable children with chronic diseases will demand an even larger premium increase. All those mothers out there with under achieving children will now run to the doctor for treatment of autism spectrum disorder, at an outrageous cost to policy holders. Hospitals are already demanding 30 and 40 percent price increases on room rates, so the insurance companies will have to pass along those costs. Just wait until the public gets a look at the true cost of this alleged reform of health care.

david wayne osedach

March 22nd, 2010
9:09 am

Just wait to election time and see where this issue is then.

TnGelding

March 22nd, 2010
9:09 am

Scott

March 22nd, 2010
8:55 am

I would suspect that many of the current uninsured DON’T want coverage. The very essence of it tells you most of us won’t need it. But most of us don’t want to take that chance, myself included.

Paul the Reasonable One

March 22nd, 2010
9:09 am

Drifter,
Bottom line, you get work where you can get it! I recall stories of my grandparents going door to door and finding work as adults. You work what you can work. And if needed you work more than one job!

The problem is that you have people these days with the sense of “I have to have what my parents have when I move out”. Yet they seem to forget that their parents have a 20 year head start on the children! And they BUY it anyway!

Jobs can be found, PRIDE keeps one from accepting what is there. I’ll dig ditches or shovel poo to take care of my family.

Here’s a novel Idea, If you don’t have the CASH to pay for the item… DON’T BUY IT!!!

TnGelding

March 22nd, 2010
9:11 am

Free Care Now!

March 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

Nice try, but you know better. Like Nothing is Free says, nothing is free.

Chris Salzmann

March 22nd, 2010
9:12 am

Free Care Now! March 22nd, 2010 9:08 am Said: When does the free government care start? I’m going to call Blue Cross and tell them to shove it, now that the government will pay all my healthcare costs! Blue cross was jacking up my rates because I’m a heavy smoker—now, the free insurance will let me do what I want!!!!

Chris Says: LMAO!!! That’s what many in the Tea Party crowd are going to be demanding. Of course, they are stupid enough to complain about government health care while being the beneficiaries of government subsidized care themselves (those over 65 anyway). Like that one sign held by the old guy which said “KEEP GOVT’S HANDS OFF MY MEDICARE”. Want to venture a guess how many of the Tea Party crowd have gone to college?

ATLshirt.com

March 22nd, 2010
9:13 am

the meltdown will occur before Novemeber… our dow is going to start selling off so badly… More people are going to tossed out of thier jobs over the next few months and years… it is going to be a sad state for a long time to come…

The Tar and Feathers Party

March 22nd, 2010
9:13 am

How long until the cost of health insurance exceeds the cost of wages at Wal-Mart? That day is coming, mark my words.

Road Scholar

March 22nd, 2010
9:14 am

“This is what happens when as an entire class of dependents and beneficiaries discover that they can vote themselves money by electing politicians to confiscate and redistribute from their fellow citizens.”

Are you refering to the Republican Congress and the Bush presidency, since they worked together to give the rich tax breaks, start 2 wars for the weapons and security companies, and destroyed any regulation of our banks and securities transactions? Interesting quote.