The missing GOP bill

THE MISSING GOP BILL…. House Democrats have a health care reform package, and Senate Democrats will have their own reform proposal. House Republicans unveiled their health plan a couple of weeks ago, which of course leaves Senate Republicans.

The House GOP plan was more anticipated, based in large part on the fact that party leaders “guaranteed” its release. Senate Republicans never made any pretense — their goal has always been to attack the plan on the table, not offer a credible alternative of their own.

The Senate GOP caucus will, however, apparently at least throw a few ideas into the mix, even if it’s not in the form of an coherent, comprehensive policy.

Senate Republicans cannot say what exactly the budgetary impact of their health alternatives would be, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said this weekend. […]

The New Hampshire Republican said that GOP alternatives, which they’ll offer as amendments to Democrats’ health legislation, “don’t cost money.”

It stands to reason, then, that either Republicans have come up with magical proposals, or they intend to ignore the tens of millions of Americans who currently lack coverage.

Gregg went on to say that his party won’t get analyses from the Congressional Budget Office because “we don’t know how to score them under CBO rules.” He added that Republicans “know from experience” that their ideas would “produce more effectively delivered cost service.”

Right. Because if there’s one thing Republicans have “experience” with, it’s improving health care delivery efficiently and cost effectively.

Remind me, has that ever happened?

In the larger context, though, it’s a reminder of a question we may be hearing more of in the coming weeks. If House Dems, House Republicans, and Senate Dems were all able to put together health care plans, and present them publicly, why are Senate Republicans sitting this one out? Why not unveil a proposal, and let Americans compare the strengths and weaknesses of the competing approaches?