Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
So if Democrats decide to start over and reach out to Republicans to pass a bipartisan healthcare bill, what would Republicans be willing to support? Here's John McCain:
....overhauling medical malpractice lawsuits, allowing residents of one state to buy health insurance from a company in another state, and granting tax credits for people who purchase health insurance on their own.
You start with junk lawsuits against doctors and hospitals. Interstate competition among insurance companies. And many of my members would be lookin’ — would — would be willing to look at equalizing the tax code. Right now, if you’re a corporation and you provide insurance — for your employees, you get to deduct it on your corporate tax return. But if you’re an individual on the individual market, you don’t.
That's two Republican leaders saying exactly the same thing, so I think it's safe to say that this is pretty much the GOP party line right now. Nothing about preexisting conditions, nothing about Medicaid, nothing about cost control, nothing about subsidies. Just a tired attack on medical malpractice suits, a gift to the insurance industry, and a tax cut. That's the Republican plan.
Lots of Washington pundits are willing to concede that Republicans were "uncooperative" on healthcare, but most of them also seem to think that maybe if Democrats had tried a little harder they could have talked them into some kind of compromise. This really ought to stop that kind of talk. These suggestions are little more than jokes, not the kind of thing that comes from a party that takes healthcare reform seriously.