September 15th, 2009
03:40 PM ET

GOP should call Obama's bluff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/09/art.obama.address.5.gi.jpg caption="President Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress last Wednesday."]

Gloria Borger
CNN Senior Political Analyst

Now is the time for all long debates to come to an end.

The nation has been discussing what to do about burgeoning health care costs and shrinking insurance coverage for much of the past 16 years, not to mention all of the last few months.

As President Obama has rightly pointed out, we're debated-out. Few minds are likely to be changed at this point.

It's time to do something.

So, an idea. If Republicans are really interested in passing some version of health reform, as they say, how about this? Call Obama's bluff.

The standard line we hear these days from both sides is that "we agree on 80 percent" of the parameters of reform - issues like coverage for pre-existing conditions and improving the Medicare prescription drug benefit, for instance. So if there is a slew of agreements that have been hashed out by both sides in committee, why not separate them out and pass them - with a bipartisan vote.

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soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Tim Myers

    Our health care is out of hand we need some type of plan passed. As far as those that think any type of socialized medicine is bad then lets take away Medicare, Medicade, and VA benefits because those are forms of socialized benefits only for certain groups.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  2. W Jeff Terry

    I am a physician who has spent over 10 years with the AMA developing a health care reform package that will work for patients, physicians, and the government. It is very disappointing that the majority party will not let us get many of our ideas into HR3200. The problem is the AMA is not a political party. Well I submit to you that we need nonpoliticians making these very difficult health care decissions. Why don't we call a time out and appoint a special committee to look at this objectively and not politically. We could have a few republican and democratic congressmen, a few insurance company people, some patients, and some physicians. I'm sure the committee will grow but we need to do something to remove the divisive politics from this very important debate. If the democratic leadership pushes a bill through that does not have any republican votes then I guarantee you this will be a bill that will not be good for America!

    September 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  3. Mark My Words

    The Repubs have many ideas and those have already been presented to the Dems. The Presidenet lied when he said that the Republicans haven't done this. Matter of fact, the President lies about many things. Sorry, but the truth hurts.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:02 pm |
  4. Andy123

    I like the idea...vote on the 80% everyone agrees on and do the other 20% later. There is a lot of talk of the public option with the argument that this will be less expensive since it would be non-profit. I wish there was more investigative reporting on existing major non-profit programs. For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield I understand is non-profit. Its operating cost overhead is about 7%. It is a huge program and in many states. How well is it working? What are the problems with it? Has BCBS been able to keep costs down better than for profit insurance programs? Has the cost to the customer been kept under better control?

    September 15, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  5. southeast girl

    Where does it say in any of the bills that health care providers will have to assist with abortions? Quote it. If you can't quote what the bill says, then it is not in there. Don't let this cloud your opinion of reform. This is a tactic to scare people into opposing the change.

    September 15, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  6. Maureen - NC

    To use the old adage "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time" How hard is it for Congress, Our President and his advisors to figure that out? Start with portability and getting rid of the pre-existing conditions clause. Once that is in place, work on the next item.

    September 15, 2009 at 8:01 pm |
  7. Jim

    Unfortunately, what the Republicans say and what they are willing to do are two distinct issues.

    September 15, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  8. Michael C. McHugh

    I have said for a long time that's a good idea. Let's see if there's any version of health care reform the Republicans will support, even the things they SAY they support. So pass that part of the bill on a bipartisan basis if there is such a thing, and then pass the public option on a party-line vote.

    September 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  9. Padma Poori, Califonia

    Gloria's idea is great but what will the GOP have left to fight about?

    May be they can go back to the birther issue, or do a investigative report on Acorn, or print Joe Wilson money with the confederate flag on it.

    The conservative right has decided they would rather have Obama fail then help America succeed after all they are the patriots of the land with their pin lapels and the American flag behind them.

    September 15, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  10. Conserve' for USA

    How would you like to be a member of health care and be told by the government you have to perform abortions? They are telling us we can no longer refuse to help with abortions because it is discriminating against someone who believes in abortion.
    So why is it right to say you have to do something against your beliefs, because somebody else believes another way? How about our rights?

    September 15, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  11. Annie Kate

    Taking what you can get in a bill and waiting for another time on the rest has been a time-honored tradition in the Senate, practiced by those legislators who become famed and beloved for all the legislation they manage to pass over long careers. Biding your time and knowing when you have gotten all you can this time around are legislative talents that would come in handy on this bill. I hope this is the way this ends up – pass the segments that are agreed on now and wait for another year when people are not as stressed about money to ease in the rest. At the end of the day though if we are going to call ourselves an enlightened nation – the greatest nation on earth – we have to do something for our neighbors and family who have no insurance.

    September 15, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  12. Marian

    The Republicans do not want anything helpful to anyone. Never have and never will so the Dems should go ahead and put it through.

    September 15, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  13. Conserve' for USA

    This is a great idea. There are several things that all sides agree on. However, the majority of the democrats want the public option and say they won't agree on anything unless this part is passed. They want a bigger government with more control, the republicans do not.

    September 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  14. Lampe

    I think that's a Great Idea. I really don't think we can afford to get everything on the first try anyways. This why we can see if this thing is really going to get off the ground, and if it's going to work.

    September 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm |