This is the first time congressional Republicans as a group have been comfortable talking about health care. It may be the product of necessity, but it is also necessary to get a robust debate on health-care reform.
Republican efforts will be helped by a recent Congressional Budget Office report that found that Sen. Ted Kennedy’s health-care reform would cost at least $1 trillion over the next 10 years and still leave 36 million Americans uninsured (it may be slightly more once all the details are released). Estimates for the health-care bill that the Senate Finance Committee is drafting with help from the White House are coming in around $1.6 trillion over 10 years.
As the debate now shifts from broad generalities to the specifics of how health-care reform would work and how the government will pay for it, the GOP has an opportunity to stop the nationalization of the health-care industry. The more scrutiny it gets, the less appealing Obama-Care will become. And the more Democrats have to talk about creating a new value-added tax or junk food taxes to pay for it, the more Americans will recoil.