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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

A Close Look At Those Republican Health Care “Ideas”

So lots of Americans, we are told, really wish the president would reach out to the Republican Party and come up with bipartisan solutions for our nation’s problems. This very day, the president is in fact trudging up to Baltimore to attend a retreat of the House Republican Caucus, an organization devoted to his complete political destruction.
But before anyone gets agitated about “bipartisan solutions” or the failure to achieve them, it’s important to take a look at where Republicans actually are on big controversial issues–like, just to pull one example out of the air, health care policy.
At the New Republic today, Washington & Lee University law professor Timothy Jost gives us a refresher course on GOP health care policy, from AHiPs to interstate insurance sales. He concludes their proposals wouldn’t do a whole lot for the uninsured, the insured, or health care costs and federal spending. But the most important conclusion he reaches is that there simply isn’t a lot of “common ground” on which to build any sort of bipartisan compromise.
The two parties presently come at the issue in fundamentally different ways, with Republicans, in particular, being transfixed by the desire to encourage the purchase of individual health insurance policies, if not individual purchases of health care without insurance.
Maybe the president and House Republicans can find plenty to talk about in Baltimore today. But comparing notes on health reform is probably a waste of time.

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