PolitiFact recently published a fact check noting that Republicans have repeatedly claimed to agree with 80 percent of health reform proposals. Hours before the President’s health care speech on Wednesday, ThinkProgress asked Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) about the report as he was walking out of a Washington, DC fundraiser for Sen. Chuck Grassley. Hatch didn’t mince words. “I don’t agree with 80 percent of it,” he said. “I think most of it is a piece of junk.” Watch it:
Hatch appeared to feel differently about reform proposals just a few months ago. In September, Hatch indicated he agreed with the President’s assertion that both parties agree on 80 percent of health reform:
MS. MITCHELL: Well, he did talk about some of the things that you and John McCain had proposed. He included one provision from Senator McCain. Was that enough of an effort to reach out to Republicans?
SEN. HATCH: Well, he made the point that about 80 percent of what they’re talking about we probably could agree on. But it’s the 20 percent where all the money is where we have a lot of disagreements, for instance, he was saying, basically, that they’re going to have a public plan, one form or another, that they’re going to have an employer mandate. […] I’m willing to work them out with him. [MSNBC, 9/10/09]
Neither of Hatch’s two major points of contention in September appear in the President’s health reform proposal from Wednesday: a public option and an employer mandate. With these two components absent from Obama’s plan, it will be interesting to see what new strategy Republicans will employ to obstruct substantive health care reform.