Pataki Proposes Replacing Health Law With Ideas Already In The Bill

Yesterday, former Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) announced that he will head a new organization to lead the charge for repealing health care reform. Pataki’s group, Revere America, will launch a nationwide petition drive to “repeal and replace” the health care reform legislation in Boston on April 18 – the 235th Anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride — after which Pataki will “embark on a cross-country tour that will ultimately take the Revere America petition drive to all 50 states.” “Revere America is being launched to counter the forces of liberalism by advancing common sense public policies rooted in our traditions of freedom and free markets, and that will once again make America secure and prosperous for generations to come,” Pataki said.

Pataki appeared on Morning Joe today to explain what those “common sense public policies rooted in our traditions of freedom and free markets” actually are. Here is Donny Deutsch challenging Pataki to name five Republican health care ideas that could replace the existing law:

PATAKI: First of all, we can lower the cost of health care by having true medical malpractice reform….Second of all, we can allow people to purchase across state lines.….Third, put in place health care accounts where you have health savings accounts so you can follow the model that many companies have used where they have comprehensive health care coverage that has a high deductible…. Four, put in place some off the very good things that are in the bill like pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps. And five, undo the taxes that have — are going to be suffering under this new health care bill.

Watch it:

If I’m hearing him correctly, Pataki actually only has 3 ideas to reform the health care system and all three are already part of the bill in one form or another. While the malpractice reform provisions could be stronger, the bill does fund state-based demonstration projects to determine the best way to lower malpractice costs. Americans can buy health care across state lines if their state forms a compact with other states and expects actually expect more people to opt for HSAs under the new health care law (taxes for health savings account withdrawals before age 65 for nonqualified medical expenses will increase from 10 percent to 20 percent, beginning in 2011.)

To be clear, these provisions are not exact replicas of Republican proposals. They’re compromises designed to attract Republican support and appease conservative Blue Dogs. (Which, incidentally, is the very kind of bipartisan approach to politics that Republicans have been demanding since they found themselves in the minority.)

Pataki isn’t arguing that we should repeal this bill and replace it with some new innovative proposal to increase access to coverage and lower health care costs. He wants to repeal a fairly conservative reform bill and replace it with its slightly more conservative uncle. That, to me, sounds like a waste of time that only a man who’s hoping to run for future office would be willing to engage in. But more broadly, if all of the repealers’ ideas are already in law, what does it say about their efforts and…well reform itself?