THE TREATMENT FEBRUARY 4, 2010
The Republican hypocrisy on health care reform has been mind-boggling, even by Republican standards. Once again, for example, New Hampshire Judd Gregg is on a rampage against the possible use of reconciliation to pass amendments to the Senate health care bill, suggesting it'd be an unholy perversion of the "spirit of the Senate." This despite the fact that (a) reconciliation would merely allow the Senate to hold a vote, so that a minority couldn't block the majority from passing a law (b) Gregg himself happily voted for bills in reconciliation when the Republicans were in charge. MediaMatters has the full story.
But let's put that aside and consider the statements of Gregg's newest colleague, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. Brown, as you know, campaigned on a promise to vote against health care reform if it came back to a final vote in the Senate. This required some rhetorical acrobatics, since Brown happened to support the health reforms Massachusetts implemented a few years ago--reforms that, at least on the coverage side, look a lot like what the Democrats want to enact nationally. Brown's answer was that the Senate bill was actually very different from what Massachusetts passed.
Or at least that's what he said during the campaign. ThinkProgress has dug up an interview Brown gave to MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan in August. In it, Brown praised the emerging Senate health care bill, because--you guessed it--it looked like the Massachusetts reforms. Here's the quote:
Well it's been interesting looking at... the US Senate is doing. They're really mirroring what we did a couple of years ago through Governor Romney's leadership. We had a bipartisan plan that was carefully crafted to make sure that everybody’s interests were taken into consideration: business, providers, individuals and obviously the Commonwealth. And as I said we have a plan that is somewhat similar to what the Federal plan...
To be sure, the Senate bill evolved after that interview. And Brown was angry over some of the deals cut to ensure passage. But it's not like the Massachusetts law was a pristine piece of legislation, either. Nor is it like Massachusetts expanded its coverage without help from the feds, more of which would come in the reform bill.