The meaning of bi-partisanship, Mr. President
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Winningreen Issue Alert A091109
Mr. President, bi-partisanship means listening to, and often accepting, the other party’s ideas
By Gretchen Randall
Date: September 11, 2009
Issue: President Obama says that he wants health care reform to be bi-partisan yet he has not met with Republicans about the issue since April, according to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). In fact, Republicans sent the White House a letter in May offering to work with the president to find “common ground” but the administration reportedly responded that they had the matter under control. http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/57859-boehner-gop-leaders-havent-met-obama-for-health-talks-since-april
Contrary to what Democrats like to claim, Republicans are not just saying “no” to the public option but have introduced serious legislation to reform health care coverage for Americans. As we reported earlier this week, Republicans have a bill entitled “The Patients’ Choice Act” (HR2520) which was introduced in May. In addition, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has thirty-eight sponsors for his bill “Empowering Patients First Act” (HR3400). It would, for instance:
√ give patients portability of insurance
√ allow small businesses to join a pool for better rates
√ allow individuals to buy insurance across state lines
√ require proof of citizenship to receive these benefits
√ restrict federal funding of abortions
√ require coverage for those with pre-existing conditions
√ extend income tax deductions on health care premiums to those buying individual coverage
√ allow individuals to opt out of Medicare
√ include medical liability reform by putting a cap on non-economic damages
Comment: Mr. President, if you are serious about bi-partisan support for health care reform, prove it by including Republicans in the House in talks and by letting them offer amendments to “your” bill.
Comment: The sad fact for America is that neither Republican bill has been given even one hearing nor are any of the provisions of these bills being considered by Democrats even though these bills address more of the concerns Americans have about health care reform than does the President’s public option plan.
Links: You can find out more about HR 3400 at: http://rsc.tomprice.house.gov/Solutions/EmpoweringPatientsFirstAct.htm or read about either plan at http://thomas.loc.gov
Contact: Gretchen Randall
Chicago, IL 60613