Very few Republicans have signed on to the Democratic health care reform bills that have passed through the committees in Congress, and those who have are either not currently in office (Bill Frist, Bob Dole) or are not in a position to run for president: Arnold Schwarzenegger. In other words, they have no partisan ax to grind and are willing to simply speak out for what's right, not what's politically expedient.
But now Bobby Jindal, the young governor of my home state of Louisiana and a possible contender for president in the future, has penned an editorial in the Washington Post that endorses the Democrats' health care reform plan. That's right, Jindal is on board with Obamacare.
Before Jindal's people call my people to protest, let me say he didn't exactly use the words "I endorse the Democrats' bills." But that's essentially what his editorial does, in calling for ten basic health care reforms. Nine—count 'em, nine—are already in the bills in one form or another, in fact, in at least one case, Jindal's prescription goes even further than what's in the bills. The tenth, tort reform, doesn't exactly belong in such a bill, nor does anyone who's looked at the matter seriously believe malpractice reform would lower costs, but regardless, President Obama has already said—on the very floor of the House and Senate—that he would be willing to add tort reform to the mix if that's what Republicans want.
One of Jindal's prescriptions deserves special mention. It's the one nearest and dearest to my own heart, since I have two daughters: The part about covering young adults on their parent's insurance plans when they graduate from college. (Currently they're kicked off their parent's plan, even if they can't find work or decide to go to grad school. This happened to my oldest, who was without insurance for over a year while she subbed in high school, and will soon happen to my youngest.) And yes, it's in the Democrats' plan, always has been.
Here's Ezra with more, and also the background on Jindal, who used to serve as President Bush's assistant secretary of Health and Human Services.
So why aren't Republicans in Congress lining up to endorse what one of the bright young leaders of their party thinks is a pretty nifty idea? Could it be that they don't really want any health care reform at all? Could it be that, like in 1994, when Clinton's failure to pass a health care plan doomed the Democrats to lose their majorities in Congress, Republican congress critters would prefer nothing at all to pass?
The answer is yes.
I suggest you ring your Republican congressperson and ask him or her why she or he isn't planning to vote for a plan that even Bobby Jindal is willing to endorse. And maybe, if Louisiana Senator David Vitter is in between sex scandals, Governor Jindal could give him a ring and tell him all about how swell Obamacare is.