Saturday, September 12, 2009

Democrat Myths on Health Care Reform: Republicans Have Offered No Alternatives

It's a whole lot easier to disregard your opponent's arguments when you mislabel them. Take this Democrat Myth: Republicans are the "Party of 'No'" and only want to stop Obamacare. They have no plan of their own."

Facts are inconvenient things.

Rep. Tom Price, the Georgia Republican who heads the House GOP Study Committee, came to President Obama's speech Wednesday night itching to make a point. Price, who also happens to be an orthopedic surgeon, has often heard the president accuse Republicans of criticizing Democratic health care proposals while having no plans of their own. He expected Obama to do the same Wednesday night.

"We knew the president would at some point say something like, 'and the other side has no ideas,' " Price says. So Price and his Republican colleagues brought with them copies of the more than 30 health care reform bills they have proposed in the House this year.

Obama didn't directly accuse Republicans of not having a plan. But he did say he would welcome "serious" health care proposals. "My door is always open," Obama said.

That's when Price held up the sheaf of papers he was carrying -- a copy of H.R. 3400, the Empowering Patients First Act, which Price and the Republican Study Committee proposed in July. Other GOP lawmakers held up their own bills. Some raised a list of all the health care bills -- there are more than 30 -- proposed by members of the Study Committee.

Why use the props? "To say in a quiet and respectful way, 'Here are our ideas,' " Price says. "To say to the president, 'You're not being honest with the American people when you say that there haven't been ideas put forward, and that you've listened to them, because you haven't.' "

What Democrats really mean is, "Republicans have no plan we will even consider. And since we're the majority, we can lie about what they're doing with impunity."