Republicans are still complaining that the reconciliation instructions in the budget will allow the Democrats to pass health care reform without debate. Today, during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) dramatically proclaimed that “what’s taking place here is one party rule, moving this thing faster than lighting speed…there is some talk in the Senate, but not in the House at all”:
Bipartisanship means you have collaboration, meaning you sit down, you come together, you write bills, you collaborate, you compromise, you negotiate and then you move together to pass things. That’s not what’s taking place… What’s taking place here is one party rule, moving this thing faster than lightning speed…there is some talking currently in the Senate, but not in the House at all. We’ve asked our Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charley Rangel, let’s sit down and start talking health care reform and find where we have common ground…haven’t had a meeting yet.
Democrats’ decision to use reconciliation after October 15th does not prevent the parties from working cooperatively on health care legislation. As the Washington Post explains, reconciliation “merely provide a ‘fallback provision’ in case Congress fails to pass legislation by the end of the August recess.” In fact, not only will Republicans have ample opportunity to negotiate with Democrats, but Congress has already hosted numerous hearings on health care reform.
In the House, for instance, the committees with jursidiction over health have held at least 12 public hearings; the House Ways and Means Committee, of which Ryan is a member, held 6:
4-22-2009: Health Reform in the 21st Century: Insurance Market Reforms
4-01-2009: Health Reform in the 21st Century: Reforming the Health Care Delivery System
3-17-2009: Hearing on MedPAC’s Annual March Report to the Congress on Medicare Payment Policy
3-11-2009: Health Reform in the 21st Century: Expanding Coverage, Improving Quality and Controlling Costs
3-04-2009: Hearing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Overview with OMB Director Peter R. Orszag
3-24-2009: Making Health Care Work For American Families: Improving Access To Care
3-17-2009: Making Health Care Work For American Families: Ensuring Affordable Coverage
3-11-2009: How Do You Fix Our Ailing Food Safety System?
3-10-2009: Making Health Care Work For American Families: Designing A High Performing Healthcare System
4-23-2009: Ways to Reduce the Cost of Health Insurance for Employers, Employees and their Families
3-10-2009: Strengthening Employer-Based Health Care
Last week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) “told reporters on Capitol Hill that he intends to meet with Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), chairman of the House Republican Health Care Caucus…to continue a discussion on comparative-effectiveness research and a public health-plan option—among other measures—that have proven to be sticking points between the two parties.” Ryan is a member of Blunt’s group, but he and his fellow Republicans are more interested in railing against so-called government-run health insurance than offering viable policy solutions to the health care crisis (check out their solution page).