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Republicans Supporting Health Care Reform

By John Martin - Posted on 08 October 2009

Unless hell freezes over, no more than 1 or 2 Republican Senators or members of the House will vote for health care reform.  Thankfully, that hasn't stopped a growing list of governors, former members of congress and other Republican officials from giving support to this Democratic Party-led effort.  

Here are some of the highlights thus far.  If you know of any others, please post them and we'll include them in the list.

Olympia Snowe, Senator

"Is this bill all that I would want?  Far from it.  Is it all that it can be?  No.  But when history calls, history calls, and I happen to think that the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of congress to take every opportunity, to demonstrate its capacity to solve the monumental issues of our time."  link

Robert Dole, former Senator and GOP Presidential Candidate

"This is one of the most important measures members of Congress will vote on in their lifetimes," the former Republican Senate majority leader and presidential candidate told an audience in Kansas City today. "If we don't do it this year I don't know when we're gonna do it.  link

Bill Frist, former Senate Majority Leader

"I would end up voting for it," he said. "As leader, I would take heat for it. ... That's what leadership is all about."  link

Chuck Hagel, former Senator

“Congress and the Administration are working on bipartisan, practical solutions to improve our health care system . I urge all members of Congress to put aside their narrow partisan differences and seize this moment for health care reform." link

Howard Baker, former Senator

Tommy Thompson, Former Wisconsin Governor & HHS Secretary

“Failure to reach an agreement on health reform this year is not an acceptable option.”  link

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California

“Our principal goals, slowing the growth in costs, enhancing the quality of care delivered, improving the lives of individuals, and helping to ensure a strong economic recovery, are the same goals that the president is trying to achieve. I appreciate his partnership with the states and encourage our colleagues on both sides of the political aisle at the national level to move forward and accomplish these vital goals for the American people.”  link

Louis Sullivan, HHS Secretary under President George H.W. Bush

"[T]oday we have a real opportunity to pass health reform and change the path we're on. I am particularly pleased with the increased emphasis on prevention of injury and illness, and the promotion of healthy behavior that is in the legislation under consideration. It's time for members of both parties to work together to pass a bill that will fix our system, help those who have health care keep it, help those without health care to get it, and improve the health care and the health status of all Americans." link

The Maybes: Congressman Anh Cao, Governor Bobby Jindal

Perhaps Joseph Cao and Bobby Jindal can be put down as "maybe"?

At least they're pleading for reasonable discourse...


It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Ah.  Good thinking.  I'll work on putting together a "maybe" section.  Then we could also include Bill Frist.
Looks like Frist is a tad stronger than a "maybe". I like the pushback against the "socialized medicine" attack.

It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Yes, he's very supportive.

Sadly, nobody pays attention to him any more (including the GOP).

AKA the new list of people about to be ousted by the base and their ringleaders.

Or the list that will be ignored by almost every single GOP member in congress...

How about more talk of Republicans opposed to it Health Care Reform like Kansas Republican Pat Roberts.

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When you have members like Grassley stating that even if everything on his wish list gets in the bill, he would still vote against it, we kind of know where that is going. But is the pressure starting to build? I think more Republicans will start to raise a red flag here and warn that voting against reform may be a big mistake politically. Personally, I think some GOP members have so much disdain for this president that they don't even see the writing on the wall on this and will remain stubborn. Even when the CBO said the Baucus bill would reduce the deficit-exactly what they've been whining about-they say things like "those numbers don't make sense. I don't believe it.Out children will pay for this." The problem with Jindal's plea is that clearly Jindal does not support everything he sees in the current bills. He actually just wants the GOP in there to negotiate some of his GOP ideas but isn't it a little late for that? They pretty much refused to be a part of it when it would have counted.

"He (Jindal) actually just wants the GOP in there to negotiate some of his GOP ideas but isn't it a little late for that?

Yes. When you start out with NO; and just stay right there, then that indeed makes it not only difficult, but impossible, to negotiate.

Some sort of health care reform WILL pass and be signed into law. GOP members of Congress are going to really look like they are in outer space; voting as a bloc against it. And with the debate about immigration reform likely to be the next major issue  before Congress after the first of the year, GOP members of Congress are going to have to get it in gear pretty quickly to avoid being rendered totally irrelevant.


wcolin said: GOP members of Congress are going to really look like they are in outer space; voting as a bloc against it.


I dunno. I don't think the GOP thinks they are in outer space. I think they really really believe their own rhetoric that the majority of the American public does not want health care reform.

They have seen an uptick in support in the past month, and I think they believe that is the beginning of the momentum to woosh them back into power. I think they believe all they have to do is double-down on their obstructionism!

I guess the Dems that voted against it in committee are wrong as well.  lol  If the Dems think it is such a good idea; they should force it down our throats.  They do not need a single GOP vote too pass it.

When a good idea is put out; it will pass.

A lot of good ideas have been put out, but have been amended/compromised beyond recognition by those controlled by the insurance industry.  Once again, it is big business vs. "We the people".

Here's a recent ad put out by the DNC:

Funny commercial.

I especially like the way they make Eric Cantor's already big head even bigger than everyone elses!

VERY tastefully done!
I don't believe anyone is against reform.  I think they are against bad reform.  When your dealing with something that makes up 1/7th of the economy, you really need to pay attention to what your doing.  I, personally, am against fines for not buying insurance and a few other measures.  Our healthcare is the best in the world.  We need to fix it, not scrap the whole thing and start over.  I will never trust anything Congress and the Senate are exempt from.  There just seems to be so much mystery around the bill.  First off, who drafted the thing?  What is the cost?  They need to break this thing down if they want suppport.
At the risk of stepping on some toes, that sounds, word-for-word, like a Mitch McConnell speech.

Our healthcare is the best in the world. We need to fix it, not scrap the whole thing and start over.

You're arguing a contradiction here. If we have the best health care in the world, why bother fixing it (let alone scrapping the whole thing-- which is a straw man, by the way, since none of the bills in Congress is suggesting a teardown and rebuild)? If we have an prohibitively costly health care system that regularly sends hard-working Americans into bankruptcy, that's hardly the "best health care in the world", is it? Arguing that we are the technological leader in health care is a distraction to the entire debate.

I will never trust anything Congress and the Senate are exempt from.

Examples relevant to the debate, please. I haven't seen any exemptions of note in the bills for elected officials, and the only thing they have that's a relevant privilege is the federal employees health plan.

There just seems to be so much mystery around the bill. First off, who drafted the thing? What is the cost? They need to break this thing down if they want suppport (sic).

You don't understand the 5 bills working their way through Congress-- despite all the attention given to them, especially the Senate Finance bill, CBO estimates, etc.-- and already you know they're bad? Remind me to never let you review any books I write... ;)


It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Quoting a McConnell speech pretty much invalidates the term chosen for a user name.....Sua Sponte
The name Sua Sponte is from my time in 1/75th Army Rangers Suzi.  I have not quoted anyone.  I guess McConnell and I agree on some things.  I believe the USA is the best country and I love it... So much that I have and will continue to fight for it.

Interesting, sua.  The term sua sponte (Latin for "of one's own accord") means to act spontaneously without prompting from another party. The term is usually applied to actions by a judge taken without a prior motion or request from the parties.  So you can see where the use of the term, in conjunction with a seeming quotation from McConnell confused me.  My apologies.

I'd be interested in hearing how and why that term is used and chosen by your unit.  My ex-husband was an Airborne Ranger, and I've heard lots of interesting stuff.  I do know that "Rangers lead the way". ;-)

Although it may sound cliche, thank you for serving our nation.  I too believe we are the best, and love my country dearly.  I am deeply grateful to all who serve.


No, Suzi, I think you are on target with this one. Really I do.

First, it is not only a Mitch McConnell "quote" it, and other sections of the post,  are  straight out of the RW Talking Points(tm) mantra.

I think we'll see in time, though.  

I have not quoted anyone.

You didn't have to (a quote requires a citation)-- you repeated either Republican talking points verbatim, or from repeated exposure by a complicit media.


It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

I copied the following from a commenter called MooseWellington on HP.


"[The government isn't]... a business and they shouldn't run anything". You're right, the government is not a business. Government services are important, and I'm sure you use many of them, as everyone does in this country.

Further, please abstain from all of the following:

Social Security
State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
US Postal Service
Roads and Highways
Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
The US Railway System
Public Subways and Metro Systems
Public Bus and Lightrail Systems
Rest Areas on Highways
All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009 federal senate appropriations--
Public Water and Sewer Services
Public and State Universities and Colleges
Public Primary and Secondary Schools
Sesame Street
Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children
Public Museums
Public Monuments
Public Parks and Beaches
State and National Parks
Public Zoos
Unemployment Insurance
Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services
Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or
Federal Government (pretty much all of them)
Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government
Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)
Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)
Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking
Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies
Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies
VA Benefits (if a Veteran

What? You don't trust those things to the private sector? Madness!

( :

I got a better, quicker solution: Move to Somalia.

(singing) In a libertarian paradise...


It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power
the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix

A caller called in on a radio program I listen to, or maybe he was a guest. Can't remember. Any way he thought the roads/highways should be privatized. Huh? so that they could be made into all toll roads? We would have to pay to drive to work or where ever we needed to go. What an idiot.

It's called the commons, that which we all share and benefit from.
I believe healthcare should be a part of the commons.



Just have to go off track a bit. Will she or won't she? I think we know it will pass, but will Snowe vote yes today on the Baucus bill? Any bets out there? I loved the headline from MSNBC First Read: Cloudy with a chance of Snowe.

*** Today's Senate Finance Forecast? Cloudy With A Chance Of Snowe: It's the 60-vote (million dollar) question. We write, of course, of Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe. What will she do? Obviously, she votes for this bill, right? This is the best deal she'll ever get and she wants to be part of the process, right? This isn't in doubt, right? She got everything she wanted, right? Nothing will put a damper on the expected passage of the Senate Finance Committee health care reform bill other than a result that does NOT include Snowe voting in the affirmative. She's the cover the White House needs, NOT for bipartisanship, but for wooing Democrats like Ben Nelson and Tom Carper and Blanche Lincoln and Evan Bayh. Snowe is today's most powerful politician in Washington when it comes to health care. Forget Harry Reid, Max Baucus or Barack Obama, her vote today will signal how the process of merging the House and Senate bills go forward. If she votes no, then the power center shifts from the middle to the progressive end of things inside the Democratic Party on this issue. But if she votes yes, then look for Reid to use the Finance Committee bill as the basis for the merged bill in the Senate. Snowe might not be the most charismatic senator but she certainly has a flair for the dramatic.

Just found my answer. Snowe will support the bill. Link from MSNBC.
Breaking news scroll on C-Span 3 says Snow will vote in favor of the finance committee bill.


Although I don't like this bill at all, I think it is the only one that has a chance of passing a vote in the Senate.  Something, anything, is necessary in order to get to the Conference Committee, where the real bill will be hammered out.

The Baucus bill simply mandates that the private insurers cover an additional 40 million people (approximately). It says these insurers can not discriminate against these people because of pre-existing conditions. Here is what it would not do:

While a company could not refuse to insure a person because of a pre-existing condition, it would still be legal for the insurer to refuse to cover specific treatments or procedures on an at-large basis; in other words, the insurer could refuse to cover a treatment or procedure that would be beneficial or curative to a person with a pre-existing condition, as long as it did not cover the treatment or procedure for ANYONE. So the no rerfusal to cover pre-existing conditions contains a rather GIGANTIC loophole. However, we are sure that these insurers would not exploit that. Of course not!

Secondly, while this bill would seem to satisfy the "universal" requirement, because of loopholes, many of those  insured would still not be able to get necessary treatment without paying for it out of pocket (the indigent and others who  could not have afforded insurance before reform would not be able to afford this). And this bill does not really address "prevention", something that should be emphasized. With low or no deductibles and co-pays ( the public option) prevention would be foremost, since the newly-insured would then be able to afford treatments before an illness turned major. Not so under the Baucus bill.

The lack of preventative care in the U.S., I believe, is one of the main reasons for the difference in life expectancy between America and most European countries. We are very good at treating major illnesses, but very lousy at preventing them in the first place. And before anyone jumps on me, I do realize that there are other lifestyle factors that play into our lower life expectancy rates.

Some food for thought!


 I have a question...even though acompany could not refuse to insure a person because of a pre-existing condition, does the bill limit the premium costs for those with pre-existings, or will they be priced out of the market?

As near as I can tell, the Baucus bill does not limit the cost to insure those with pre-existing conditions; it just mandates that they be "covered". In other words, the insurers can charge what they deem appropriate in premiums for those with pre-existing conditions, but they don't actually have to cover them (due to the big loophole).

Now that's what I call reform.

Smart! Real smart!


Excellent points. This is why I feel the Baucus bill is very flawed. It seems to be a gift to the insurance industry (which is why I'm confused as to why they came out with that "study" to bash the plan. Can they be so greedy as to want more than what is in this plan for them?)

On the one hand, it's great to have Snowe on board which will ensure some of those Blue Dog votes in the final bill, maybe even a few Republicans. However, now I feel the bill will cater to her/Blue Dog wants and "Republican/conservative" ideas which will likely be kind to the insurance industry and won't include a public option.

It looks like reconciliation may be off the table and they will just merge the bills trying to satisfy the left, right and center as best they can. My main concern is bringing down costs. I thought that was a priority for Snowe also. So can someone explain why she is SO against a public option to keep the insurance industry honest and hold down costs? Is there any chance she can be swayed on that (other than the trigger idea)? I am disappointed in the media once again. Snowe was on a few networks today but I don't think anyone asked her point blank: "why are you against a public option? Do you realize most American-including those in your state- support the idea?"

I have a tiny hope that Pres. Obama has something up his sleeve to really gain more support for a public option. Some big endorsement for it, effective ads, some debate or major speech? I think we'll see him more involved, but I wonder if he will really go full force on the public option or just be happy some kind of reform will pass.

4 out of 5 committees have a public option, so merging should favor having it. Why does one committee hold so much weight? There is a Dem controlled congress. Shouldn't more Dem ideas make it to the final bill as opposed to GOP ideas since they are the minority and won't vote for it anyway??? Sorry to vent. This is frustrating.

However, I don't want to be one of those "doom and gloom" types. President Obama had a huge mountain to climb on reform and the fact that he will get something significant passed should be praised no matter what. I just hope it will have strong aspects that will truly achieve the goals we need to make a difference. I don't think the Baucus bill will be the final one-it needs a major facelift-but I can only hope the merging process works better for the people than the insurance industry. Time will tell.

"...I'm confused as to why they (insurance industry) came out with that 'study' to bash the plan (Baucus' bill)."  

Even though the Baucus bill would be a boon to the insurance industry (millions more paying premiums without really any significant responsibility change for the insurers--i.e. more PROFITS) they want to make the public believe they are consistent in opposition. Secretly they would be jumping up and down and high fiving each other if they thought the Baucus bill had a chance to become law. They realize this is not the case, and that the final legislation will look much different.


Actually, that's certainly part of it. But also, the section that "mandates" individuals to get coverage isn't "strong" enough to suit the insurance companies. They want the fines to be much higher.

The "fine" if you don't carry coverage is, I believe, something in the neighborhood of $250.

And insurance companies are not allowed to exclude you for "pre-existing coverages" under the bill.

So, the insurance companies argue, if someone is fairly healthy, it might be worth it to them to pay the $250 fine and then purchase insurance once they actually get sick or hurt as opposed to paying something like $7,000 in premiums on the year.

To some extent, they are correct. That's probably what I'd do if I were young, single and healthy.


Snowe Will Vote Yes Support Finance Committee Bill "Majority Has The Votes" - 1st Republican

Sua, your wrong! Republicans are voteing NO, not because it's a bad bill, but because they are afraid that if it pass's it would make obama look to good. Our health care is far from the best there is to offer. people from the U.S are headed to India for Cell treatment, an are haveing tremendouse success in several disorders. Millions are dieing in the U.S, because they can't get health care with out walking into a emergency room that cost you an I triple of what it would be if they could walk into a Dr. Office an get non-emergency care! My nephew on medicair was turned down at the Dr. Office because his mom who has no Health Ins. owed that Dr. Office. She had to bring him to my little town to get her 9 yr old cared for. So even medicair for children is no good at times in the United States. Medicare payments are getting higher every year for the elderly with less care given. We are in a down ward spiral on health Care, an we cannot sustain what we have with out repairing it, so doing nothing is not a option. Republicans on the Hill has this information also, but choose to play political politics with our health an medical care, while they have the best care offered in the U.S.
From Huff Po. When a baby is rejected because he is too fat (a pre-existing condition??) we know the insurance industry has hit a new low. Sure, they reversed the decision but come on!!! I think McConnell (and others trying to please the insurance giants) are the only ones saying we have a great health care system and should just start fresh.

Jon talked about the story with the baby.

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Here is one of my main reasons for supporting real health care reform: due to the lies being postulated by the anti-reform side; if they're against it, I'm for it. Because if your  position has merit, you should be able to support it with facts, and not have to employ lies and distortions.

Here are some of the lies: death panels, based on something actually put in by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), which Isakson says is BS; undocumented aliens being eligible for government subsidies, which the bills filed specifically prohibit; the public option destroying the ability of private insurers to compete in the marketplace, which many countries including France and Italy have proven is not the case; and finally the cost argument, that the cost of reform will be about $900 billion over 10 years: this one really galls me, since the "cost" these naysayers are talking about does not include any savings negotiated with the service providers; it also does not take into effect what the cost of doing nothing is (I assure you that cost is higher than the cost of reform). In essence, the anti-reform arguments are either outright lies, or lies by omission.


The health insurers' false objections aren't new, by any stretch of the imagination. In 1993, the state of Washington put in some comprehensive health care reforms, including things like a ban on pre-existing condition-based denial of coverage. But when the Democrats lost nationally in 1994, the first thing the insurers set out to do was reverse all of those reforms. The newly-elected Republican commissioner tried to preserve some of the most popular reforms with assurances from the insurers, but they, in his words kept "moving the goalposts". They spread lie (people are gaming the pre-existing condition ban) after lie (we're going broke) after lie (ZOMG businesses are leaving!!), and finally they refused to sell to the individual markets-- and when that happened, coverage actually went UP. Imagine that. Of course, they probably threatened to slash campaign contributions as well, so the legislature got spooked and stripped out all the reforms.

And what happened when the insurers got their way? They kicked people off insurance for being sick, and coverage sank like a rock. It's like they took lessons from the Harvard business school professor who introduced the "churn" method-- it doesn't matter why or how a customer leaves (even if your company behaves like a douche-bag), just keep getting new ones.

Bottom line, they don't care which party is in power, they just want control over the market.


It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

I probably should have posted it in here but it works for both threads I guess but:

I heard -which may be no surprise- that Collins might be on board with reform. It's obviously going to depend on a few things though.

As the bills are joined together, I heard that Reid will give Snowe a seat "at the table" whatever that means. I'm not sure how many seats will be allowed at the table but right now I think it includes Rahm, Reid,  & Baucus, all of whom appear to be against a public option or at least luke warm to it. I really would be ok with those voices being there as long as there are at least a few rep's invited who support a public option. Schumer would be my first choice. I honestly think there are so many strong arguments for it, a good leader could even change the minds of Snowe and Collins on the public option-but not if they aren't even at the table. I'm crossing my fingers but Reid and others seem more interested in crafting anything that will get 60 votes as opposed to crafting the best health care reform possible for the people. I truly understand the politics and the desire to get something passed (failure to pass reform can't be an option) but isn't this where good leadership must shine through on the Dem side? Mr. President, I'm afraid that means you.

Rahm really scares me.  He is very intense and can usually get his way with the stare down.  That would be good if he wasn't a total corporate wh*re.      

Also, Last I heard, Reid's 2010 re-election chances aren't looking good.  His popularity among Nevada voters is at an all time low.  Healthcare Reform with a Public Option and EFCA are his last chances to appease his Las Vegas working-class constituents and their Union (SEIU).  If he fails his political career is over and done with.  There will most likely be a primary challenger and I've even heard angry Democrats say that they will vote for the Republican (no matter how awful) just to punish Reid for his failures as majority leader.  


Halloween is coming!  It will put a spell on you!

Reid is definitely feeling pressure. He snapped back at Schumer for putting pressure on him. But, hey, it's his job. The voters will hold him accountable, like it or not. The myth, to me, is that voters will punish Dem's for passing reform with a public option. I think the opposite will be true. If Dem's wimp out on a public option, voters (over 65% of whom support a public option) will be pretty upset. If they can get a public option, Dem's will likely retain their power since this will energize the base.

Republicans won't even go anywhere near some kind of support for a watered down Baucus bill, they are opposing just to oppose no matter what is best for the people, because it might be good for the Dems and Obama.

I wonder if a little arm-twisting will get Snowe and Collins on board? "You help us get the (opt-out if necessary) public option, we'll help you get WellPoint off your back."

Dirty politics, I know, but if that will do the job...


It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

With the amount of support the public option has in the general population, the democrats who don't support a public option will merely convince their contituants that they are as much in the pocket of the insurance companies and by extensions, all large companies, as the republicans are viewed to be.

And by extension that the US is no longer a true democratic republic, but a oligarchy of large (not to mention multinational) companies. 

tin foil hat time -- and how close are we to this oligarchical government anyway.

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