Rejecting the idea of an overhaul

REJECTING THE IDEA OF AN OVERHAUL…. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky was on “Meet the Press” yesterday, talking about his opposition to the health care reform proposal(s). That’s fine; he’s the opposition leader. Of course he’s going to oppose the majority’s agenda.

But what I found interesting was the way in which McConnell defended the structure of the status quo.

“[W]e have the finest health care in the world now. We need to focus on the two problems that we have, cost and access, not sort of scrap the entire healthcare system of the United States. […]

“So let’s focus on access and cost and not try to scrap the whole system.”

Hearing this reminded me quite a bit of John McCain insisting that the “fundamentals of the economy are strong” just as the economy was collapsing last fall. McConnell argued that the fundamentals of the health care system are fine. He didn’t go quite as far as Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who argued we have the finest health care system since the dawn of time, but McConnell continues to think the system is, at its core, fine. A few tax cuts here, a few tax cuts there, throw in some restrictions on lawsuits, and voila, problem solved. There’s no need for major change, when some tinkering will get the job done.

McConnell proceeded to complain bitterly about the shortcomings of the Canadian system — which has no relevance, since the Democratic plan in no way resembles the Canadian model — and talk about the “billions” we’re wasting on “junk lawsuits.”

When David Gregory asked about the 47 million Americans go without health insurance, McConnell replied, “Well, they don’t go without health care,” because they can just go to the emergency room.

In other words, the Senate Minority Leader just fundamentally disagrees with the very idea of overhauling the system. That’s certainly his right. But perhaps this should serve as a reminder to the Senate majority — Republicans don’t want health care reform. Making a plan worse just to satisfy their demands doesn’t make any sense.