OBAMA GIVES A SHOUT OUT TO REPUBLICANS FOR REFORM…. It was a pretty good week for health care reform, between the CBO score on the Finance Committee bill and the Republican officials who endorsed health care reform. Both served as the basis for President Obama’s weekly address.
The president noted, for example, that as the reform proposal advances, it “includes the best ideas from Republicans and Democrats, and people across the political spectrum.” The plan has generated broad consensus among “everyone from doctors and nurses to hospitals and drug manufacturers.” And then, of course, there are the Republicans:
“And earlier this week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg came out in support of reform, joining two former Republican Senate Majority Leaders: Bob Dole and Dr. Bill Frist, himself a cardiac surgeon. Dr. Louis Sullivan, Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush, supports reform. As does Republican Tommy Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. These distinguished leaders understand that health insurance reform isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, but an American issue that demands a solution.
“Still, there are some in Washington today who seem determined to play the same old partisan politics, working to score political points, even if it means burdening this country with an unsustainable status quo. A status quo of rising health care costs that are crushing our families, our businesses, and our government. A status quo of diminishing coverage that is denying millions of hardworking Americans the insurance they need. A status quo that gives big insurance companies the power to make arbitrary decisions about your health care. That is a status quo I reject. And that is a status quo the American people reject.
“The distinguished former Congressional leaders who urged us to act on health insurance reform spoke of the historic moment at hand and reminded us that this moment will not soon come again. They called on members of both parties [to] seize this opportunity to finally confront a problem that has plagued us for far too long.
“That is what we are called to do at this moment. That is the spirit of national purpose that we must summon right now. Now is the time to rise above the politics of the moment. Now is the time to come together as Americans. Now is the time to meet our responsibilities to ourselves and to our children, and secure a better, healthier future for generations to come. That future is within our grasp. So, let’s go finish the job.”
This is a good message, at a good time. For all the talk from congressional Republicans and their allies, President Obama is, in effect, needling them, telling the public that unlike the GOP lawmakers who “seem determined to play the same old partisan politics … even if it means burdening this country with an unsustainable status quo,” there’s a common sense wing of the Republican Party that backs reform.
In other words, don’t believe all the right-wing nonsense — just look at all the Republicans who support Democratic efforts. Obama is driving a wedge and positioning the reform initiative as bipartisan.