NO PLAN FOR YOU…. When the White House sent invitations to the health care summit, it also made a rather important request of the GOP minority.
“Since this meeting will be most productive if information is widely available before the meeting, we will post online the text of a proposed health insurance reform package,” the materials read, adding, “It is the President’s hope that the Republican congressional leadership will also put forward their own comprehensive bill to achieve those goals and make it available online as well.”
Yesterday, Republicans quietly responded to the request.
“We will not be offering a comprehensive bill,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), citing public anxiety about sweeping healthcare legislation.
Michael Franc, who oversees government relations for the conservative Heritage Foundation, said Republicans would be wise to steer clear of any public negotiating over healthcare legislation with the president, suggesting instead that they stick to their demand that the Democratic bills be scrapped.
“The last thing Republican leadership wants is to get drawn into something that upsets their base,” Franc said.
This is entirely expected. Indeed, the debate over health care reform has dragged on for nearly a year — if Republicans haven’t presented their own comprehensive plan yet, they’re not going to offer one now, just because the president asked for one.
But it should make for an interesting dynamic at the summit. President Obama envisioned a scenario in which both sides present their own plans, and then participants go through them, highlighting the best provisions of each. Republicans, however, will offer nothing concrete.
Of course, the dirty little secret is they can’t — Republicans’ approach to health care policy is a rather pathetic joke. If they tried to produce their own plan, and then subjected it to scrutiny at a high-profile event, it’d be humiliating.
But by refusing to come up with a plan, the opportunity for embarrassment is still there. Dems will be able to point to a concrete plan that works and can be defended. Republicans will have an outline, built around “tort reform.”
Sounds like must-see TV to me.