Feature

The GOP’s do-nothing agenda

When President Obama gave his health-care address to Congress last week, Republican legislators waved copies of their own health-care bill at him, said Steve Chapman in the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>.

Steve ChapmanChicago Tribune

When President Obama gave his health-care address to Congress last week, Republican legislators waved copies of their own health-care bill at him, said Steve Chapman. Curiously, for people who now seem desperate to have their ideas taken seriously, they never offered that bill during the four years when the GOP controlled not only the White House but Congress. Republicans actually have useful ideas for improving the system, including medical malpractice reform, letting small businesses band together to buy insurance, and giving subsidies to uninsured people to buy coverage. But during the Bush presidency, Republicans passed a popular but budget-busting prescription drug entitlement for the elderly—while allowing the health-care system’s larger failures to go “unaddressed.” Why the passivity? “The truth is, Republicans just can’t muster an interest in the subject until a Democratic president comes along and offers legislation, which is their cue to wake up and scream in horror.” It’s then that they admit the status quo has “serious flaws,” but they never seem to care about fixing them—“only about making sure Democrats don’t get to.”

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