From NBC's Luke Russert and Domenico Montanaro
Prominent House Republicans unveiled a multi-colored, complicated-to-follow flow chart meant to symbolize the House Democratic health-care reform plan.
Speaking a day after Democrats unveiled their plan for universal healthcare, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) looked at the chart at a press conference today on Capitol Hill and said, "If anybody thinks that all of this bureaucracy will fix our health-care system I politely disagree."
He then went on: "What this is going to do is ration care, limit the choices that patients and doctors have and really decrease the quality of our healthcare system."
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) whose office, he said, read the entire 1,100-page Democratic bill last night and created the chart said, "This chart identifies the 31 new federal programs, agencies and commissions by mandate that will be in between patients and their health-care providers."
Brady then pointed at a graphic on the chart that said "HCA Commissioner" and equated the position to a health czar. "This is the new czar, the health-care commissioner," he said. "He'll make the decisions on what medicines you deserve to have, what treatments you can get and what doctors you can see."
Remember that in 1994, on the Senate floor, Republicans unveiled a flow chart they created, which derided the White House's health-care plan. The chart played a role, certainly, in derailing health reform then.
As USA Today points out: "It was a flowchart unveiled on the Senate floor in 1994 that many believe helped turn the tide against the Clinton administration's effort to overhaul health care. That chart, produced by none other than Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (then a Republican, now a Democrat) showed a complicated maze of government and medical programs patients would have to navigate."
Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) continued the GOP assault on the bill, portraying it as a job killer. "One word can sum this up -- unprecedented," he said. "One question I think that can accurately reflect what we're asking is who's going to pay for all of this? It is clear in their bill who is paying for this, the small business men and women who are the ones we are counting on to start hiring American workers again."
Referring to the Democrats' idea to tax those who make more than $350,000 a year to pay for the legislation, Cantor added, "Over 50% of those targeted in this surtax are small business men and women."
It's a line of attack he and other Republicans have made previously.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) hinted that the bill was too costly to implement during an economic recession. "Economic recovery comes before health-care reform," he said.
When asked about a Republican alternative to the Democratic health-care reform plan, Boehner replied, "That's the real crux of this -- how do we help those who don't have insurance get it and, secondly, this does nothing about the cost of health care in America. And if we are serious about fixing our health-care system we [have] got to go to the cost and the cost side is pretty simple. We have to do something about reforming junk lawsuits that drive up the cost of health care for all Americans."
When pressed for more specifics like cost of the GOP plan, Boehner said, "We are continuing to draft our bill, and we hope to have it soon."
Look for the GOP to continue to tie health-care reform directly into the issue of the poor economy. Expect more statements on fiscal responsibility, how health-care reform hurts small businesses and how it's too much, too soon.