I’ve been for the Republicans attending the health care summit even though I know it’s a presidential photo op. I’ve changed my mind because of something Betsy McCaughey wrote on the subject:

Republicans are dithering over whether to accept President Obama’s invitation to a Feb. 25 health-care summit. The White House says the health bills passed with Democratic support, the Pelosi and Reid bills, will be the basis for talks. Republicans should just say no to a summit based on these bills.

These bills reduce American freedom. Forcing people to buy insurance and empowering government to dictate what your doctor does, key elements of these bills, need to be off the table. There can be no negotiation between coercion and freedom.

King likes to say that “there’s no halfway point between right and wrong.” That principle applies here. It’s important that we first recognize that the American people are a freedom-loving bunch when left to their own devices. Any plan that restricts their liberty enough will draw their ire. Accepting things that limit the American people’s liberty isn’t acceptable. PERIOD.

With that in mind, Republicans should settle on a single plan with a catchy name, like the Patients’ Choice Act, then highlight the fact that their legislation would lower health care costs and health insurance premiums without injecting government into health care decisions. Speaking of which, Ms. McCaughey talks about government inserting itself into the doctor-patient relationship:

Also, for the first time in history, government officials are given power over how doctors treat privately insured patients. Doctors who don’t adhere to whatever regulations the Secretary of Health and Human Services imposes to improve health-care “quality” cannot contract with your insurer (Senate bill, pp. 148-149).

I’m pretty certain that people aren’t interested in a doctor-patient-bureaucrat relationship. I’m even more certain that they aren’t interested in that relationship if they thought the bureaucrat would hinder their physician’s treatment of them.

It isn’t surprising that Democrats are already taking potshots at Republicans:

Democrats said the Republican proposals would do little to solve the crisis in health care. The proposals are “as skimpy as a hospital gown,” said Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas.

Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, said, “If the Republicans’ health care plan was a plan for a fire department, they would rush into a burning building, and they would rush out and leave everybody behind.”

What Rep. Doggett apparently hasn’t grasped is that the American people are totally capable of making their own decisions. they don’t need a 2,400 page bill to help them make smart decisions. Rep. Doggett should learn that smart health care shoppers are using the internet to gather information on what policies best suit them, which hospitals do the best job at the cheapest prices and other important considerations.

I know that Democrats aren’t used to believing that people are capable of making good decisions without the government’s help but that’s reality. If Democrats don’t adjust to that reality, which I suspect they won’t, they’re in for a difficult election cycle.

I don’t take Rep. Miller’s comments seriously because Rep. Miller’s comments are typical liberal hyperbole. In fact, that’s what I expect from him. Rep. Miller has never been in the habit of accepting the fact that Republicans have great ideas because he thinks, rightly, that Republicans trust people to make good decisions. That’s a foreign concept to Democrats but it’s what libertarian-leaning conservatives believe.

Since President Obama’s HHS secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, has notified everyone that the Democrats’ bills will be the starting point and that the structure was built so that Democrats could control the event from start to finish, there isn’t that much to be gained from attending.

If President Obama and the Democrats insist on pushing the Democrats’ bills, which the American people have rejected, then the Republicans should state clearly and consistently that they’re only open in attending a process where 80+ percent of the outcome isn’t predetermined.

Otherwise, they’re just attending a made-for-Obama-reelection photo op.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

4 Responses to “I’m Changing My Mind”

  • eric z. says:

    Is your belief that your party will not look obstructionist and unwilling to be sensible, by boycotting the opportunity with a flimsy fig-leaf excuse?

    If you believe that argument can be convincingly made, others might not.

    I would be surprised if the GOP boycotts since then, what, they can credibly say they never had an opportunity to be heard.

    If they attend, and it’s televised, what’s to stop them from articulating anything the feel appropriate.

    Come on, Gary.

    Be real.

    If you don’t go to the wedding you can’t complain about not having a dance with the bride.

  • Gary Gross says:

    For the record, Eric, I’m certain that the Republicans will attend.

    I’m just stating a preference that they highlight the fact that Democrats still insist on using their unpopular legislation as a starting point.

  • J. Ewing says:

    See my post on True North, “Here’s what I’d Say” for my take on the subject. I encourage them to attend and make Obama look a fool.

  • eric z. says:

    Appreciate the idea they attend.

    But both parties have made healthcare a political football.

    That’s been inflamed by the lobbyists.

    It is counterproductive for the nation.

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