President contradicts himself in attacks on GOP over health care and economy

Jon Ward
The Daily Caller
February 4, 2010

President Obama on Wednesday rolled out a dizzying set of accusations against the Republican party that veered toward contradicting one another, as he encouraged Senate Democrats to keep fighting for his agenda.

The president, during an 80-minute session with Democratic lawmakers, made the following claims: Republicans don’t want to fix health care or the economy; when they do want to fix health care or the economy, their ideas are bad; and Republicans may have a few good ideas but Democrats have included them in legislation…

3. Republicans have proposed ideas about health-care reform, and Democrats have accepted them. But Republicans haven’t returned the favor: “When it came to health-care reform I sought out and supported Republican ideas from the start. So did you,” Obama told the Democratic senators. “You considered hundreds of Republican amendments, and incorporated many of their ideas into the legislation … When I start hearing that we should accept Republican ideas, let’s be clear: we have. What hasn’t happened is the other side accepting our ideas.”

It is true that 160 Republican amendments were included in a bill drafted by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. But all but one of those amendments were technical in nature, according to Republicans. The one substantive amendment – to require members of Congress to enroll in a government-run “public option” — did not make it into the final bill that passed the Senate on Christmas Eve.

Obama said on Friday in Baltimore that the idea to allow Americans to shop across state lines for insurance — a favorite of conservatives — “was incorporated into our package.”

Some Senate Republicans who were heavily involved in health care negotiations, who spoke to The Daily Caller, said this was the case. But some Senate Republicans in the leadership disagreed, saying the provision in the final Senate bill required all plans sold across state lines to conform to government requirements, eliminating the point of the original idea, which is to foster choice and competition.

Obama mentioned a few other items — high-risk pools for uninsured people with preexisting conditions, pools for self-employed and small business, an “affordable catastrophic insurance option for young people” — that he “embraced” and were “part of our package.”

The catastrophic plan, however, was watered down to make it unpalatable, said a policy aide to a Republican senator who was intimately involved in the negotiations.

Many of the most substantial conservatives ideas aimed at making insurers and health-care providers more accountable for their pricing to patients have been rejected or ignored by Democrats.

Obama on Wednesday hinted at the reason why Republicans’ most fundamental proposals have been cast aside over the last year. Though the president said Democrats have “got to be non-ideological about our approach” to health care, he also said that he is “not willing … to give up on the basic notion that this government can be responsive to ordinary people and help give them a hand up.”

The Obama administration sees proposals from lawmakers such as Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin [Republican]*, as violating this principle…

Read the entire article at The Daily Caller.

* The article has mistakenly identified Congressman Ryan as a Democrat. He is, in fact, a member of the Republican Party, representing the 1st congressional district in Wisconsin.

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