New Republican Chant: No We Can’t

On State of the Union with Candy Crowley, House Minority Leader John Boehner made it clear that he supports the concept of competition and that he knows something about it growing up with 11 brothers and sisters.  However, he does not support a system of health insurance exchanges because he doesn’t know what would be in the plans.  Never mind that the point of a national exchange is to expand access to more Americans.  Or that a competitive marketplace of private plans (the public option is gone) would give Americans affordable choices.   Instead, he referred to health care reform as the 2,300 page bill that would increase costs – the ultimate Republican talking point – the thing designed to scare everyone.  But the costs are already rising exponentially in our current system.  The health care industry has made a fortune.   I don’t begrudge them a profit, but our health and well-being should be their number one priority, not profits.  Americans should demand some accountability. How about some choices and competition in a marketplace?  Cheaper premiums?  And the point implied about expanding access is another scare tactic- that it’s bad to provide more uninsured Americans access to health care because that is tantamount to socialism, the meaning of which has been twisted and used as propaganda to whip up mass hysteria.

Mr. Boehner is not satisfied that the President has incorporated 4 ideas from Republicans saying they were just crumbs sprinkled on top of a massive bill that Americans don’t want.  But Americans do want reform.  Especially the uninsured and those who can barely afford the premiums they pay now.   And Crumbs?  That’s an insult to the Republicans who offered the ideas which included strengthening language to investigate fraud, waste and abuse in federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  A crumb?  That’s more like garlic bread.  And beefing up tort reform to reduce medical malpractice suits, which is universally agreed upon as a good idea.  A crumb?  I would suggest that’s something more like a fresh baguette (though the Republicans might object to this being too French inspired and therefore unpatriotic).  Another concern raised by a Republican is the already low Medicaid reimbursements to doctors and the added financial burden this would cause should the pool of recipients increase.  Obama agreed to look for ways to responsibly consider raising the reimbursement rates.  And Republicans would like an expansion of Health Savings Accounts to which the President responded favorably. Crumbs?  Hardly.  And the public option.  The Obama Administration abandoned it.  This is no crumb, this is a 5 course meal with unlimited drinks.

Republicans don’t want the exchange mechanism because the health insurance companies likely don’t want any additional regulations, or maybe they don’t like it because it is a good idea and they don’t want the Obama Administration to have a legislative victory.  The Republican leader is leading a new Republican chant of  No We Can’t.  Now that’s putting America first.

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