The GOP's blowing it on health-care reform

There’s no Republican plan yet. No Republicans leading the charge who have coalesced the party behind them. Their message is still vague and unformed. Their natural allies among insurers, drug makers and doctors remain at the negotiating table with the Democrats.

So Republicans now worry the party has waited so long to figure out where it stands that it will make it harder to block what President Barack Obama is trying to do.

“I thought we would have been much farther along than we are,” said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), a physician who started the Health Care Caucus this year and wrote a 29-page “primer” for his colleagues. “Senator [John] McCain, for all his faults, had a program a year ago. People became pretty comfortable with McCain carrying the load on that and when he wasn’t successful in November, it left a big void.”…

But anxiety is setting in among some Republicans that they aren’t ready.

“That is a definite concern,” said an aide to a senior congressional Republican, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about his party. “There is catch-up in terms of us talking about it in public. There is a good core of ideas, but we haven’t talked about the issue as much as Democrats. We are playing catch up. We are running against the wind. They have a lot of momentum.”