Republican Bob Corker Floats Wyden-Bennett Health Care Idea?

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As many of you already know, Obama is set to give a speech next week that will either save or scuttle health care. I think we can all agree on that much.

The question is: what will he propose?

Well, at least one unlikely Republican health care reform advocate is already floating his trial balloon and it sounds a lot like the Wyden-Bennett bill that
mw and I agreed on last week
. (PS – Yes, we actually agreed. You should go read that now before I change my mind. :-) )

Here’s more about Corker’s proposal from Wash Post:

“There is a common ground,” Corker said Wednesday in an interview before his final town hall meeting. “It’s half a loaf, possibly, from the administration’s viewpoint. But what it does is take us way down the field.” […]

Many of the proposals Corker mentioned to his constituents are ideas that Democrats also support and have included in their own reform plans. As he sees it, insurers would no longer be allowed to deny coverage for preexisting conditions, Corker told the crowd, and would offer an array of plans via a new insurance exchange, unrestricted by the current boundaries of state insurance laws. To help the uninsured gain coverage, the government would provide vouchers or tax credits, and would tax the most generous employer-offered plans to pay the cost.

But Corker is making it very clear: no public option.

As I mentioned last month on a couple of occasions, there was really no hope for it anyway and we were headed down a path towards compromise once Dems were unable to get these bills out of committee.

And even though some think Obama will still pass a bill with a monolithic public option via reconciliation, I don’t buy it. This thing is too big, the stakes are too high and he could, in one fell swoop, completely alienate the independents who voted for “change” last fall.

That’s why these signs from Republicans are encouraging. Even the Gang of Six, which had fractured after Enzi and Grassley inexplicably started actively campaigning against healthy care reform last week, is coming back together to try and work through some things. I have no idea if they’ll actually come up with a solution, but it’s at least a sign that Republicans might be having second thoughts about not being part of this thing. Now we just have to hope that they’re genuine.

More as it develops…