Media Myth: GOP Has No Health Care Ideas

Many GOP amendments have aligned quite well with the President’s rhetoric regarding health care reform legislation. But Republicans, especially in the House, have been shunned by committee chairs and Democratic leaders who simply refuse to accept GOP amendments to health care bills, even when those amendments align with the President’s stated goals for health care reform. So I ask you, which party is killing bipartisanship?

The President purported his belief in markets during his Wednesday address to the Joint Session of Congress, saying that his “guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. That’s how the market works.” Indeed. Republicans agree that competition could be a greater cost cutting measure than any proposal yet on the table.

But Arizona Republican Rep. John Shaddeg’s bill (H.R. 3217) to allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines, and therefore to dramatically step up competitive forces in the insurance market, has idled in the Energy and Commerce Committee since July. Perhaps committee leaders should speed up consideration, given that the President’s “guiding principle” includes relying on market forces and increased competition to mitigate problems in the health care sector.

On Wednesday, Obama assured the country that “I will make sure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need.”

Republicans share the President’s aversion to bureaucrats making personal health care decisions. But apparently congressional Democrats do not. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., offered an amendment in the Energy and Commerce Committee that would explicitly prohibit federal officials from making those decisions. Led by Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., committee Democrats killed the amendment.

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