Despite Obama Overture, GOP Stays on Message

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As Adam noted earlier, President Obama sent a letter to House and Senate leadership today outlining four GOP ideas he wants to integrate into Democratic health reform legislation. In his letter, the President called out some Republicans senators by name, describing which ideas came from whom. But this too is political theater – no Republicans are likely to vote for the Democratic reforms, regardless of which GOP ideas are added to the legislation. The unsurprising GOP reaction to Obama’s letter can be summed up in three words: Scrap the bills.

Here’s how some said it specifically:

Sen. Tom Coburn, whose undercover patients ideas Obama wants to adopt:

“I admire those who pursue their convictions but health care is an issue too big in its scope for either side to pursue an all-or-nothing strategy. I, and many Republicans, have set aside visions for one-shot comprehensive reform. I respectfully encourage you to do the same.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

“Americans are telling us quite plainly that in order to reform health care, we should scrap the bills they have already rejected and start over with commonsense, step-by-step reforms we can all agree on.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, whose idea to increase Medicaid payments to doctors Obama wants to adopt:

“There’s no question Medicaid won’t be able to provide adequate access. It’s good if the White House has figured that out. The question becomes whether the President is willing to cut spending in the bill to guarantee the poorest people adequate access to care.”

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor:

“If the President simply adds a couple of Republican solutions to a trillion dollar health care package that the American people don’t support, it isn’t bipartisanship – it’s political cover.”