Republicans for Health-Care Reform
Democrat-cum-Republican-cum-Independent Mike Bloomberg is impressed with the health-care reform plan winding its way through Congress.
The health reform proposal that Congress will shortly consider is shaping up to merit broad, bipartisan support, incorporating Republican ideas and earning deserved support from Republican leaders such as former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The approach has great potential to reduce costs for families, businesses and government at every level over the long term, while extending coverage to many millions of the uninsured and investing in proven, cost-effective public health strategies. This is an approach that Republicans, Democrats and Independents can and should support.
Actually, Bloomberg's presence means the bill is achieving tripartisan support, but that's a quibble. Bloomberg joins former Republican Senate majority leader Bill Frist and former Republican secretary of health and human services Tommy Thompson. Expect Robert Gibbs to spend the next few months mentioning those three names about as often as he breathes.
This is reminiscent of the strategy the Obama campaign employed in the closing weeks of the presidential election. Obama had run as the herald of a new, less polarized type of politics, but he didn't have much support from prominent Republicans. So the campaign began to roll out, or emphasize, retired Republicans: Colin Powell, Jim Leach, and Lincoln Chafee among them. Obama's advisers figured that if the current political situation was too polarized to permit bipartisanship, then they could reach backward, or maybe outward, to find Republicans who weren't subject to its pressures. Then they used the presence of those retired, moderate Republicans to imply that more Republicans would be signing on if not for partisan pressure from the party leadership. Looks like they're readying to run the same play on health care, and they're helped by the fact that it's probably correct on the merits.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg is getting something out of this deal, too. Mike Allen's Playbook reports that "Progressive stalwart John Podesta will endorse Mike Bloomberg in Gotham today, arguing that he knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a successful chief executive. Poedesta will be joined by health care leader Dennis Rivera and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards." It's hard to imagine that the timing of all that is a coincidence.
Update:: Looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger is on-board, too.
Photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP.
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