Obama: “Healthcare Now,” Goodlatte: “Reset”

Brent Finnegan -- March 9th, 2010

While President Obama is making his big push to pass his version of health care reform in Washington, Rep. Bob Goodlatte has been in the Shenandoah Valley, urging to put the brakes on current negotiations and start over.

“The American people have not responded well to this, and we have received thousands and thousands of e-mail and letters,” [Goodlatte] said. “And the overwhelming majority say push the reset button and that’s what we said when we went to the (Feb. 25 health care) summit.” (Staunton News Leader)

His remarks to the Waynesboro Kiwanis Club today were consistent with statements of opposition the congressman has made about health care reform in the past.

Considering Goodlatte has been in office since 1993, Obama’s recent remarks about congressional obstructionism to his health care plan seem to be tailored for longtime Republican incumbents like Goodlatte (who is now serving his ninth term).

Obama: “I got all my Republican colleagues out there saying ‘No, no, no, we want to focus on things like costs.’ You had 10 years. What happened? What were you doing?” (TPM)

Going back as far as 1992, when Goodlatte was the “candidate for change” during his first run for congressional office, “Democrat Steve Musselwhite and Republican Bob Goodlatte sparred over how best to extend health care coverage to the estimated 40 million Americans without health insurance” (today that number is closer to 47 million).

Goodlatte said his plans would turn poor Americans into health care consumers and give them more options; Musselwhite contended Goodlatte’s policies would only help the middle-class and wealthy . . .

Goodlatte also repeated his call for a system of tax credits and vouchers. Under the plan, devised by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., the federal government would send a poor recipient a voucher, which could then be spent on health care. (Roanoke Times, September 15, 1992)

That was then, this is now, but not a whole lot has changed. Sweeping health care reform and major coverage expansion has failed in Washington since the Truman administration. Will 2010 be any different? Should it be?

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12 Responses to “Obama: “Healthcare Now,” Goodlatte: “Reset””

  1. Sifting through old articles in NewsBank, I came across this another (I thought) interesting bit of info. Throughout his political career, Goodlatte has stressed deregulation, tax deductions, medical savings accounts, and tort reform as alternatives to Obama’s plan. But In 1999, Goodlatte voted to allow lawsuits against HMOs.

    [A health industry] lobbyist, who did not want to be identified, said he could not dissuade Goodlatte, a pro-business conservative who earns top ratings for his voting record from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, from supporting a move to allow HMO enrollees to sue plans for injuries or deaths resulting from the denial of covered benefits.

    “He could not understand why health plans should be exempt from liability when no other business is,” the healthcare lobbyist said. He summed up the HMO industry’s surprise that normally conservative, pro-business lawmakers have turned against them: “If you can’t get Goodlatte, who can you get?” (Modern Healthcare, October 4, 1999)

  2. seth says:

    “Throughout his political career, Goodlatte has stressed …. But In 1999, Goodlatte voted to allow lawsuits against HMOs.”

    the ‘but’ seems to imply that you believe such a vote would be incongruous with his other positions. i’m curious if that’s correct and if so, why?

  3. Yes; tort reform. Goodlatte, like all American politicians left, right, and centrist, says our healthcare costs are too high. He proposes (among other things) tort reform to help lower costs. But (at least in this one case) he voted against the Denny Hastert plan to restrict certain lawsuits against HMOs.

    Like I said, “interesting.” And like the lobbyist said, “If you can’t get Goodlatte, who can you get?”

    I’ll see if I can find that article again. It was long, but it’s not available online without digging through databases.

  4. The Heritage Foundation “plan” does nothing to bend downward the cost of health care…unless you consider the rationed healthcare “vouchers” to be an ethical address to the cost problem. Goodlatte and his Republican buddies are wholly in the pocket of the insurance industry.

  5. seth says:

    “Goodlatte and his Republican buddies are wholly in the pocket of the insurance industry.”

    see, this is funny to me. not sure if you read the two previous comments, but the fact that goodlatte voted to allowed the evil insurance industry to be held accountable for ‘injuries or deaths resulting from the denial of covered benefits’ doesn’t seem to line up with your perception. i would say that the ones who appear more evidently in the pocket of the insurance industry are those who continue to advocate things like mandates in the face of increasingly convincing evidence that suggests such a strategy has not done much to decrease premiums or control other costs in the state of massachusetts.

  6. This why Bob Goodlatte is referred to as Wind-Sock Bob. He is nice guy, and I like him, but Bob doesn’t have a spine. I wouldn’t share a fighting hole with him.

    People in Massachusetts continue to support their mandatory universal health care system 2:1. The priority was to assure health care for everyone and they are at 97% covered. They now have the numbers to bargain with and drive down costs.

  7. mtnsailor says:

    *PLEASE, someone- give/link an OBJECTIVE summary on Mass. plan!
    “People in Massachusetts continue to support their mandatory universal health care system 2:1. The priority was to assure health care for everyone and they are at 97% covered. They now have the numbers to bargain with and drive down costs.”
    From previous– I’ve heard Mass. plan is too costly; but, what’s doing OK? what’s not? and, what’s are the steps to resolve issues?

    Overall, how should USA *manage its 11+%/year increases in health care costs? Or, is our destiny painful bankruptcy?

  8. Dan says:

    mtnsailor, here is an article with analysis of a Mass. poll carried out following the Brown/Coakley election by the Washington Post and Harvard.

    Here is an interesting tidbit:

    By a 68-27 margin, voters in last Tuesday’s election supported the universal health care law in Massacuhsetts; this included a majority of Scott Brown voters! But these same voters opposed the Democratic health care plan, which is quite similar to the Massacuhsetts law, by a 43-48 margin.

  9. seth says:

    polls like that one and the one that bubby cites are just that (polls). if we’re interested in finding a solution to our health care crisis, we need to get away from allowing the collective opinion of the uninformed to influence the direction of intelligent thought (and i don’t mean to sound elitist there, but when the majority of respondents say things like they favor the enacted reforms but also say that they don’t feel like they’ve made a significant impact on their lives, i have to question the spinning of any numbers as potentially manipulative political histrionics). to me, the elephant in the room is the lack of clarity regarding our goal. if the goal is to extend universal coverage, perhaps the MA type reforms are the way to go. if the goal is to control costs in a meaningful way, maybe not so much.

    instead the best our congress (which is newly invigorated by the president’s calls for monolithic bipartisanship) is going to be able to do is maneuver and machinate in such a way as to leave republicans advocating federal funding for abortion and dems as the sponsors of unambiguously pro life ammendments.

    so in answer to your questions of whether we’re destined for painful bankruptcy, in a word,

    it should make for some entertaining polls though.

  10. The way to certain bankruptcy for America is to continue to spend the +2 trillion / per year on health care in the current manner.

    The fact that the federal government alone spends $1 trillion per year on health care would suggest that if Republicans were serious about controlling government costs they would be engaged in reforming health care not obstructing it, or doling out “vouchers’.

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