GOP Message: Democratic Health Reforms Are Bad For America
Politico: "Through the summer, congressional Republicans were able to stand back and let the health care debate play out around them - watching public support for the idea plummet amid bitter town halls and Democratic infighting." And even as the chances increase that "President Barack Obama will have a chance to sign a health reform bill, Republicans say they're content to stick by that strategy - believing they can define the Democratic plan as a bad mix of higher premiums, more taxes and cuts to Medicare. And that, they believe, is a winning formula for them in 2010."
"'If they pass this bill, I wouldn't want to be a Democrat standing for reelection in 2010,' said Arizona Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.)." Republicans carry a risk with the message also, opening itself up to criticism as the "party of no," Politico reports. "Republicans also see a risk putting forth their own ideas in a process so tightly controlled by Democratic majorities in both houses, saying it would be an exercise in finding ways to pay for a hypothetical bill with hypothetical cuts or hypothetical taxes." That risks upsetting Republicans throughout America (Budoff Brown and O'Connor, 10/20).
CBS News: "This is more than a case of Republicans being from Mars and Democrats being from Venus. This is about political hardball. Early on in the Obama administration, Republicans made the correct calculation that the success of the president's domestic agenda will only help Democrats tighten their control in Washington. (S)o by defining themselves in opposition, the Republicans had an alibi in case everything came a cropper. So far, however, that bet hasn't worked out" (Cooper, 10/20).
Republicans "will seek amendments to parts of the health bill they oppose," Sen. Chuck Grassley said at the Reuters Washington Summit, Reuters reports. He said G.O.P. members would like to see changes that "would limit medical malpractice liability and do away with any requirement for consumers to buy a health insurance policy." Grassley also would like consumers to be able "to purchase insurance policies across state lines. Insurance is currently regulated at the state level, with consumers unable to purchase from firms that do not sell plans in their state. 'I just hope that we're able to keep this bill from getting any worse,' said Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee (Heavey, 10/19).