Newt Gingrich seems to think that the Republicans terrible alternative for a health care plan just needed some more publicity but the media didn't want to let the public know it existed. How I wish that were the case. Gingrich is repeating the new meme for the month which is that Democrats need to start over and try to work with Republicans now and they'll actually get some cooperation on the health care bill. Sorry Newt, but anyone who's been following what's going on knows the Republicans have no intention of working with the Democrats to pass anything.
Steve Benen reminds us of just how laughable Gingrich's assertions here are.
Throughout the lengthy debate on health care reform, Republicans refused to negotiate in good faith. Compromises were considered out of the question. Blatantly, demonstrably false claims were the norm. Perhaps worst of all, GOP leaders would embrace specific reform ideas, and when Democrats would agree, those same GOP leaders would reject the same measures they'd already endorsed.
The Republican plan was nothing short of laughable -- it did nothing for the uninsured, nothing for those with pre-existing conditions, and nothing for those worried about losing coverage when it's needed most. It was an entirely partisan plan, written in secret. The Republican proposal sought to create a system that "works better for people who don't need health care services, and much worse for people who actually are sick or who become sick in the future. It's basically a health un-insurance policy." And as we learned in November, the plan included provisions that "mirror the suggestions put forth by the lobbying entity of the private insurance industry way back in December 2008."
Indeed, the official Republican plan didn't even offer modest provisions that the party used to support. Roll Call reported at the time, "Under the GOP plan, insurance companies would still be allowed to exclude anyone with a pre-existing medical condition from coverage, there would be no national insurance exchange and businesses would not face any mandate to provide insurance nor individuals to buy it. Boehner also left out tax credits to help the poor and middle class buy insurance -- a central pillar of most GOP reform proposals and a key feature of a four-page outline Republican leaders released in June."
The plan was quickly labeled "a major embarrassment."
Transcript below the fold.
Van Susteren: The President says the Republicans are being obstructionists, that they’ve basically been the party of no on every effort to improve things whether it’s the economy or it’s on health care. I assume you disagree with that.
Gingrich: Well John Boehner, the Republican leader of the House offered the all of the above energy plan that would have created more American energy, increased income to the government, created more jobs. The Republicans in the House created an alternative on health care that was actually scored by the Congressional Budget Office as being dramatically better financially and would have covered about one third of the people without insurance without raising taxes, without increasing government.
Mitch McConnell mentioned the other day, the Senate Republican leader, that something like 150 times on the Senate floor during the debates the Republicans talked about an alternative. It is fair to say that the news media doesn’t want to cover it very much and it’s fair to say that if you’re the President you don’t want to admit it exists. But the fact is if the President wanted to have a genuine bi-partisan meeting on health care, on the economy, on energy, Republicans have a number of positive ideas they could bring in, some of which we helped create at the Center for Health Transformation and American Solutions, some of which have come from a bunch of really smart guys like Paul Ryan or you know, Senators who have been working really hard on these issues like Barrasso and Corker.
And I think; I wouldn’t underestimate that, but it’s very hard for the Republicans to get the kind of publicity they need to get. And frankly they need to get much more persistent in taking three or four or five big ideas and talking about them for six solid months so they are eventually driven into the public awareness.