Wouldn’t It Have Been Better For Republicans If They Cooperated With Health Care Reform?

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I noted some months back that it was smart politics for Republicans to compromise on health care. Yes, they’re the minority party, but if they had worked with Dems the size and scope would have been more to their liking. And they could have easily peeled off 2 or 3 moderate Dems so Reid and company couldn’t get to 60 votes.

From way back when…

Here’s another incentive for the Rs…their ideas get into the most important health care reform legislation in the past 50 years. Listen, they had the opportunity FOR DECADES to do something about health care and yet they sat on their hands and let millions go without health insurance, go bankrupt as a result of skyrocketing costs or simply were refused insurance because of pre-existing condition clauses. Well, now Repubs are seriously outnumbered and they’re in danger of not having a say if they don’t back the Baucus bill…which absolutely gives them a serious seat at the table. And, by the way, Dems don’t have to do that. And yet they are.

Instead, the party of “no” agreed to nothing and now they’re ending up getting even more of what they didn’t want.

Jonathan Chait notes this as well

But Republicans wouldn’t make that deal. The GOP leadership put immense pressure on all its members to withhold consent from any health care bill. The strategy had some logic to it: If all 40 Republicans voted no, then Democrats would need 60 votes to succeed, a monumentally difficult task. And if they did succeed, the bill would be seen as partisan and therefore too liberal, too big government. The spasm of anti-government activism over the summer helped lock the GOP into this strategy — no Republican could afford to risk the wrath of Tea Partiers convinced that any reform signed by Obama equaled socialism and death panels.

And you want to know who pushed moderate Dems over the edge?

You’ll never guess…

Lawmakers who attended a private meeting between Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats at the White House on Tuesday pointed to remarks there by Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, as providing some new inspiration.

Mr. Bayh said that the health care measure was the kind of public policy he had come to Washington to work on, according to officials who attended the session, and that he did not want to see the satisfied looks on the faces of Republican leaders if they succeeded in blocking the measure.

Yes, Mr. Centrist himself, Evan Bayh. The same Evan Byah who threatened to filibuster the bill with Republicans a few months ago.

My gut tells me that the GOP really overplayed this one and they’ll be feeling the aftershocks of not compromising for a long, long time. Especially if the CBO scores are right and this bill cuts trillions from the budget deficit in the next 20 years.

More as it develops…