Those words–spoken at a speech earlier today by RNC Chairman Michael Steele–make up the GOP’s shiny new talking point on health care reform.
According to conservatives, health care reform is moving through Congress too quickly; therefore, we should slow down the already snail-like pace of Congress.
Hypocrisy, thy name is GOP. See, back in 2001–when they were in charge–Republicans had no problem rushing legislation through Congress.
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Take, for instance, the PATRIOT ACT–a 300-page radical overhaul of America’s national security policies. The GOP introduced it into Congress, passed it through the House, passed it through the Senate and put it on the President’s desk all within 48 hours. There was certainly no time for deliberation or due diligence there.
You could argue that we needed to overhaul our national security policies in the wake of 9/11, and I would certainly agree with you. But since the situation post-9/11 was so dire, shouldn’t Congress have given the bill more scrutiny, not less? Shouldn’t they have taken time to read the bill and make sure that we were passing policies that would have actually combated terrorism instead of just passing whatever the White House told them to?
Why is health care reform such a major priority? Because–in case you’ve forgotten–we are in the midst of a health care crisis. Lives are on the line, and that’s not a matter of hyperbole–good health care saves lives while poor/no health care endangers them.
We have 45 million Americans–and counting–who are just one serious injury or illness away from financial ruin, who have to forgo medical care and treatment because they just can’t afford it. We have countless other Americans who are being denied coverage because of preexisting conditions or who are underinsured.
Now, I’m not directly comparing the specter of a terrorist attack to the health care crisis, but the fact remains that lives are on the line. Meanwhile, the GOP is content to play political games, treating health care reform as a political battle instead of a serious policy that could improve–and save–American lives.
Want proof? Look no further than this gaffe by Republican Senator Jim DeMint (SC), discussing health care reform:
If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.
That’s all the GOP cares about–winning the political battle. They don’t care about the millions of Americans who caught in the middle of the health care crisis. They don’t care about passing health care reform. All Republicans want to do is beat a Democratic President regardless of the consequences.
The GOP doesn’t want to delay health care reform in order to get it right; they want to delay it to death. They’ll complain about the price tag, they’ll complain about the process, they’ll use falsehood after falsehood to grind down public support for the bill until the millions of long-suffering Americans are forgotten and health care reform fails.
I’ll tell you what–go ask the 45 million uninsured Americans if they think this is “too much, too fast, too soon.” Go ask the people losing their health insurance if they think it’s “too much, too fast, too soon.” Go ask the countless number of Americans whose health care claims keep being denied, or who are denied treatment because of a preexisting condition if they think it’s “too much, too fast, too soon.”
Because I bet that the people who need health care reform the most certainly don’t believe this is “too much, too fast, too soon.”
UPDATE: Right-wing pundit Bill Kristol doesn’t even try to hide it:
Kristol: Kill It, and Start Over
With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible. There will be a tendency to want to let the Democrats’ plans sink of their own weight, to emphasize that the critics have been pushing sound reform ideas all along and suggest it’s not too late for a bipartisan compromise over the next couple of weeks or months.
My advice, for what it’s worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill.
The Obama White House and the Democratic congressional leadership shouldn’t be underestimated. They’re tough. They’ll cut deals and twist arms to try to keep their priority legislation alive. They’ll certainly attack their opponents, whether their opponents’ tone is conciliatory or confrontational.
Of course, it would be pretty difficult to “start over” considering that the Republican health care reform plan is a whopping 4 pages long:
House Republicans presented a four-page outline of their health care reform plan Wednesday but said they didn’t know yet how much it would cost, how they would pay for it and how many of the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance would be covered by it.
But Republicans who stayed at the press conference to answer questions — the leaders made statements but didn’t stay — could not answer whether their plan would include a tax increase to pay for such costly items as refundable tax credits for low- and middle-income workers to help pay for insurance.
To the GOP, there is no health care crisis; Congress can take as much time as it wants to pass health care reform–or not. The only part of “kill it, and start over” that Republicans actually believe is “kill it.”