Democrats Shoot Down McMorris Rodgers and Reichert Health Care Amendments

By Josh Feit September 14, 2009

The conservative web site News Busters (committed to fighting what they percieve as liberal bias in the media), posted a long article yesterday objecting to the notion, being promoted by the New York Times, that Republicans are getting in the way of health care reform.

The News Busters article documents a long list of GOP reform proposals that have been shot down in the health care debate.

Two Washington state reps, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5, WA.) and Dave Reichert (R-8, WA) get shout-outs in the article.

Rep. Reichert gets namechecked for an amendment he sponsored to exempt employers from any employer healthcare mandate if their business can prove that the mandate has imposed financial hardships, such as forcing layoffs, salary cuts, or preventing them from hiring additional workers.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers is cited for proposing an amendment that would have exempted individuals making less than $200,000 a year from paying any new taxes that were associated with the health care bill.

Both bills were killed in their respective committees.

I have calls in to Reps. McMorris Rodgers and Reichert to hear their take on why their proposals got shot down. A spokesman for Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the chair of the Education and Labor Committee that killed McMorris Rodgers' amendment, tells PubliCola that the amendment "wasn't germane to our committee—we have no jurisdiction over that."

We do have calls into other Democratic committee leaders to see what the story is on these two proposals.

I will say: The article's conceit is misleading because it cites general principles that President Obama is pushing— "increasing competition in the health care market," passing a health care bill that does not hurt the economy—and then lists a parade of failed amendments (like Reps. McMorris Rodgers' and Reichert's) that Republicans have proposed ostensibly to meet the President's general goals. But obviously, the devil is always in the details, and that's where the GOP and the Democrats go separate ways. To wit: Everyone is for peace in the Middle East, but everyone disagrees on how to acheive it.

For example, as an instance of Republicans "trying to acheive" Obama's goal of increasing competition, the article cites Arizona Republican Rep. John Shaddeg's bill (H.R. 3217) to allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines.  That's a disingenuous example of trying to pursue Obama's goals: Obama wants to amp competition by having a public option not by—as Rep. Shaddeg's idea would have done—allowing insurance companies to look across state lines (for the best deregulated environment) to cherry pick healthy consumers, thus enabling them to have enough of a market to neglect unhealthier applicants in their own states.

"That's a race to the bottom," one Democratic staffer tell us.
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