President Obama on Tuesday released a letter touting four Republican policy ideas on health care that he says he’s “exploring.” Yet the ideas don’t alter the essential structure of the Democratic health care bills, and thus serve more as cosmetic concessions meant to create the idea that he’s working toward a bipartisan compromise.
Even if some of the ideas he says he’s willing to work with Republicans on could be adopted by Congress (on fighting Medicare fraud, addressing medical malpractice in some way, improving doctors payments under Medicaid, and doing more to encourage health savings accounts) they wouldn’t change the general thrust of the legislation. Ultimately, Obama would still be forcing individuals to purchase government-approved insurance policies or pay a tax, having people purchase government-designed insurance policies on government-run exchanges, increasing regulation, and introducing a raft of tax increases.
Obama will have more to say on this matter during yet another speech tomorrow releasing yet another proposal. But what’s pretty clear is that he wants to highlight a few token ideas he’s willing to discuss with Republicans so he can set the stage to blame the GOP when Democrats try to ram a bill through Congress strictly along partisan lines using the reconciliation process.
Earlier this afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested this much, saying Democrats would send a bill to the Congressional Budget Office for evaluation, see what can be passed through reconciliation, and then present the bill to her members to see if enough of them would be willing to cast suicide votes to secure passage.
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