Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) reprised his uncanny talent for the clunky retort yesterday and declared that the health care debate was “over.” “Believe the polls, the town halls, the voters,” Jindal wrote in an editorial in the Washington Post. Americans don’t want a ‘government takeover of health care’ — his term for the Democratic plan to give Americans the choice of public option, which 77 percent of Americans supported in August. “The people do not want Republicans to offer their own thousand-page plan to overhaul health care” either. “[A]nd that is not what the nation needs.” It’s Jindal’s “10 ideas to increase the affordability and quality of health care” that “the people” desire.
But Max Baucus has beat Jindal to the punch. As Professor Timothy Stoltzfus Jost points out, many of these are already part of the Senate Finance Committee’s reform bill, which Jindal mistook for “$900 billion in new spending”:
First he calls for purchasing pools to allow individuals and small businesses to get better deals on health insurance—that is precisely what the exchanges are, which have been in the bill since the beginning. Second, portability. Allowing individuals and small groups to purchase through the exchanges with affordability subsidies allows people to continue to be insured when the leave their jobs without undermining our employment-based insurance system. Requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions? Has Jindal read any of the legislation, or listened to the news about it for the past 6 months?
Jindal insists that after nine months of bipartisan negotiations in the Senate Finance Committee, six of which included very intense and serious talks within the bipartisan Gang of Six, Democrats must “get serious about bipartisan solutions.” “Republicans have to join the battle of ideas.”
But Republicans have long moved the goal posts on reform. Despite Baucus’ many concessions, the Republican party still insists that his budget-neutral proposal “simply leads to more government, more spending and more taxes” and “spends too much.”
Jindal wrote that the health care reform was “over,” but for many Republicans, it never really began.