Their lying eyes, redux

THEIR LYING EYES, REDUX…. Either they’re lying, or these guys haven’t been paying attention to the health care reform debate at all.

House Republicans slammed the new Democratic health care reform bill this morning, but didn’t say when or if they’ll be offering a reform package of their own.

GOP leader John Boehner led a press conference to voice his concerns about the bill an hour or so after Pelosi was done presenting it outside. He walked carrying the nearly 2,000 page house bill, which he dropped with a thud onto the podium.

“Through August and September, the American people made it clear they want no part of a government-run system for providing health care,” he said. “[But] this bill amounts to a government takeover of our health care system.”

It’s quite tiresome to hear someone talk about a “government takeover” when the legislation does anything but offer a government takeover.

As a policy matter, Boehner and his cohorts are, of course, whining about provisions in the Democratic plan that would allow eligible consumers to have a choice — getting coverage from either a public or a private plan. As House Republicans see it, private insurers offer such a horrible product at an unreasonable price, the public plan would win and consumers would save money and get better care. And that would be bad. Or something.

But I’m struck again by this notion that, as far as the GOP caucus is concerned, the “American people” have “made it clear” they’re against a public insurance plan. Boehner is the latest conservative to see all kinds of polling data showing a strong public demand for public-private competition, and pretend that it simply doesn’t exist.

How many more polls would it take to convince congressional Republicans that the American people have made it clear they want a public option?

As for the alleged perils of a “government-run system for providing health care,” I’ll look forward to Boehner’s press release calling for the elimination of Medicare, Medicaid, the V.A. system, and S-CHIP.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.