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What was interesting coming from Republicans at the Health Care Summit yesterday was their dedication to their talking points. Republicans can't govern, but by god, they can stick to those talking points.
Each Republican said exacly the same thing to Obama: "We want you Democrats to scrap your existing health reform legislation and start over."
Sure, there were other silly GOP antics...like the embarassing Eric Cantor's (R-VA) insistence on placing a copy of the 2000 plus page health reform legislation next to his microphone and use it like some cheap Las Vegas comic prop....or the even more pitiful John McCain (R-AZ) tantrum, an obvious, though desperate, sign that his tough battle for re-election down in Arizona against the 4-Star Wingnut, J.D. Hayworth is starting to wear the Maverick down. But for a purely rote talking point.....the "scrap the bill and start over" line must have been mandatory for all Republicans in attendance yesterday.
Nothing much was accomplished at the Summit yesterday. The ideas shared by Republicans would add up to covering an additional 3 million Americans, maybe. But all in all Republicans made clear that they aren't really interested in regulating insurance companies or expanding health coverage to the 30-something-million Americans who don't have it now, or even confronting the pre-existing conditions problem. Their only good idea, the "sell insurance across state lines" mantra, is simply more of the same exclusive dependency by conservatives on the "free market" to solve all problems, the same "free market" which has brought us the unaffordability, the unavailability, and the continual higher prices of health insurance today.
President Obama was, again, masterful, in his comprehension and explanation of all the nagging issues related to reforming health care. Obama dealt with each one of the GOP'ers points, embracing them if they were good ideas, pointing out that the Democrats had included well over 100 GOP amendments in the Senate version of the bill, and explaining why other GOP ideas simply would not address the problems at hand.
So, now it's on to majority rules, up or down voting, and the reconciliation process.
"I’d like Republicans to do a little soul searching to find out if there are some things that you’d be willling to embrace that get to this core problem of 30 million people without health insurance, and dealing seriously with the pre-existing conditions issue. I don’t know frankly whether we can close that gap.
And if we can’t close that gap, then I suspect Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner are going to have a lot of arguments about procedures in Congress about moving forward."
It's yet to be seen whether historically spineless Democrats will take the 51-vote-requirement-for-passage, reconciliation road to implement their health care proposals. My view is that Democrats will blow this final opportunity.....fail to pass anything at all.....and be swept out of Congress in November for their fecklessness.
I can hardly wait for the Senate and House investigations post-2011, carried live and during prime time, into President Obama's undocumented status. That will be how a new-and-improved-with-more-wingnuttiness, GOP Congress will deal with health care reform.
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