This morning, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) refused to say what Republicans would be willing to “to give in return” if Democrats accepted GOP proposals after the bipartisan health care summit. Cornyn insisted that the Democrats must scrap the current legislation and start from scratch if they hope to win bipartisan support.
CNN anchor Kiran Chetry twice tried to ask Cornyn if there is “anything Republicans would be willing to give on in return,” but Cornyn responded by criticizing the existing legislation:
CORNYN: Really, I think it’s not possible to take this bill or this proposal, this 11 page summary and to work with it around the edges. We’re going to have to put it on the shelf. That’s what the American people want us to do and start over and we would be glad to do that.
Republicans have long argued, somewhat disingenuously, that capping non-economic damages would reduce health care spending and Obama has signaled that he may be willing to accept some of their proposals. It’s unlikely that Obama will adopt caps, but he could could embrace a ‘Sorry-Works’ proposal. While in the Senate, Obama also co-sponsored “legislation aimed at reducing both medical errors and lawsuits through a program known as Sorry Works, rooted in the idea that injured patients value an apology as much as money.” That legislation would have given physicians who disclosed their errors “certain protections from liability within the context of the program, in order to promote a safe environment for disclosure.”
I’ve proposed four other areas where Democrats and Republicans can reach bipartisan agreement here. But if Cornyn’s answer is any indication, Republicans are more interested in obstructing reform than passing it.