Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dissecting the Republican Position

Let's consider:

1. The Republicans say there has been totalitarianism. It seems to me the majority ruled, as it has done since the founding of our Republic. Totalitarianism?

2. The Republicans say they have been entirely shut out of the process. But the fact is that more than 200 Republican amendments were accepted in the health reform bill as part of the process. Shut out?

3. A Republican leader predicted that the passage of the bill would be "Armageddon." That could be up there with the "Mission Accomplished" banner as one of the biggest political blunders of all time.

4. Senator Brown says it will not help Massachusetts. But the facts are that thousands of low income individuals will now be eligible for new subsidies, almost 80,000 seniors will benefit from the donut hole fix and Massachusetts will receive an extra hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid matching funds. It is hard to understand how one could rationally say this does not benefit Massachusetts.

5. Republicans say mandates are un-American and unconstitutional. But they were for them before they were against them. In an interesting article in today's Globe, the AP documents how the health insurance mandate began as a Republican idea in the 90's as an alternative to the Clinton plan. But when the Dems picked it up, they had to be against it.

6. And how about Romney? You'd think he would learn, as his wishy-washy position on abortion over the years could have cost him the nomination in 2008. Yet here he is, the leader who deserves enormous credit for spearheading the successful reform plan in Massachusetts -- upon which the federal plan was based - and now he opposes the federal plan and wants it repealed. How he thinks he can credibly even think about running for President, given such a disingenuous flip-flop, is beyond me.

7.  The Republicans claim this is a big government take-over and we are leading to socialized medicine.  Again, this ignores reality.  There is no public option.  The states create exchanges, simply to allow individuals who lack private insurance to gain better bargaining power in the purchase of insurance through private plans.  There is no new public plan or government take-over.  There is greater government regulation over insurance companies -- but even Republicans say they want this and the public surely does. 

8. The Republicans repeatedly say that the American people overwhelmingly are against this bill.  Yet, a Gallup poll conducted right after passage showed that 49% of Americans support the legislation and 40% do not. 

9.  Finally, the Republican strategy is now to run in the Fall on repeal of the law. Repeal?! Do they know that repealing the law requires not just taking over the majority in both houses, but actually taking over a veto-proof majority, which all experts from all sides believe is virtually impossible. And that's now their strategy?

They took a big gamble. They all voted against it. They hoped it would take down the Obama Presidency. But they lost. It didn't. And now they are left to explain how their strategy was actually in the interest of the American people, and not just a raw political scheme. They will have a tough time.

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