Behind the GOP revolt on health care

Increasing numbers of Republicans are telling the party it should make a deal along the lines of the Finance Committee bill due for a vote tomorrow.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive

It's not your imagination. There is a growing revolt within the Republican Party on health care.

Increasing numbers of Republicans are quietly telling the party it should make a deal along the lines of the Finance Committee bill due for a vote tomorrow.

So far this does not extend to Congress, where the party remains united against any deal it doesn't write (and maybe not even that). It does not extend into the party's base, into the grassroots activists who are adamant, for ideological reasons, that any deal is a surrender to socialism.

Where it's coming from is business. Especially big business, and the medical-industrial complex. Even the insurance companies.

Former "loyal Bushies" now making their living off K Street want a deal because their sugar daddies may cross over without one.

  • We're talking about companies in the Fortunate 500 that need visibility on health care costs before they can begin hiring again.
  • We're talking about hospitals and their suppliers, who figure they can make up on volume what they might lose to the current reform proposals.
  • And we're talking about insurers who know the present deal will give them millions of new customers without destroying their pricing "flexibility."

The modern Republican party has long been based on three pillars -- Wall Street Republicans who care about money, Pentagon Street Republicans who care about defense, and Church Street Conservatives whose activism made the party a majority.

On Election Day it's the last group that counts. The rest of the time it's the first.

The mini-revolt does not encompass the entire Wall Street wing. There remain plenty of business executives who continue to take their orders from Rupert Murdoch, via either Fox News or The Wall Street Journal.

But it does encompass most players in the medical marketplace, on both the buy side and the sell side. The present deal, so detested by liberals, is one most feel they can live with, even profit from.

But the conservative Democrats who brought them the deal can't face down their own liberal base unless some Republican Congresscritters are willing to walk the plank with them. Including some not named Olympia Snowe.

It's up to lobbyists like McClellan (above, from Wikipedia) to bring some Republicans to the table while Harry Reid works on his "leadership bill" or watch liberals force through something more partisan and less friendly to industry.

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