Republican Governors met yesterday here in Georgia, and while many, including Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue, had been big supporters of the S-CHIP program (he calls ours Peachcare) the successful veto of that made their policy prescriptions seem like small beer.
Health saving accounts. Portable health records. "Free market" solutions. The location of their meeting, beside a dieing lake, could not be more apropos. (The picture is from a Georgia Democratic blog called Tondee's Tavern.)
UPDATE: A Bloomberg poll released Thursday show Americans now back Democrats on health care by more than a two-to-one margin. Almost half of Republicans support businesses either paying for health coverage or paying a tax to cover the cost.
Meanwhile pastors around the country had spent Sunday thundering about the S-CHIP veto. My own preacher practically cried, called the Republican choice of $190 billion for war but no $7 billion for kids "monstrous," and urged his congregants to be persistent, to pester and agitate as a form of prayer.
And this guy's a Baptist.
The unpopularity of the veto, and the Republican Governors' refusal to challenge it, are another sign of how irrelevant they're becoming. This is sad, because many of the things Republicans say on health care make sense, and should be part of the debate.
But the debate is not being engaged.
The only historic parallel I can come up with is to 1931, when Herbert Hoover famously said the nation wasn't in a recession, "just a little depression." It took Republicans 20 years to recover from that, and they sailed into a Democratic wind for nearly 20 years more.
All this may have a profound impact on American medicine over the next few years. No matter how many times you call it "Hillarycare," the word care remains there, and denial ain't just a river in Egypt.