The Kaiser Network points out that on Friday, “several dozen Republican health care and press aides participated in the first of a series of ‘health care boot camp’ sessions presented by the House Republican Conference“:
According to CQ Today, the session, led by Heritage Foundation chief lobbyist and government relations expert Michael Franc, involved a “lesson on how Democrats bungled their 1993 and 1994 effort to overhaul the health care system” (Armstrong, CQ Today, 2/27).
The Democrats certainly made their share of mistakes and the Obama administration is doing its best to avoid President Clinton’s pitfalls. But what does “government relations expert” Michael Franc think of comprehensive health care reform? Here is how he characterized the health care portions of the stimulus legislation:
The health provisions in the House stimulus bill would expand dependence on the already-unsound Medicaid entitlement program, distort health care choices for unemployed workers, and set up a federal infrastructure that could be used as a tool for government rationing of medical treatments, procedures, and services.
This very same kind of misrepresentation stalled reform in the 90s, resulting in today’s status quo. But the irony of the meeting is difficult to overstate. Franc likely instructed “Republican health care and press aides” — government employees who receive their health care through the government (the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program) — that Obama’s proposal to establish a FEHB-like health care exchange (with some important modifications) would ration health care.
I don’t see Congressional staffers waiting in long lines for their annual flu shots. Do you?