The Republican position is fairly incoherent. The major talking points are these:
- This bill uses accounting gimmicks to front load the taxes and back load the spending, which is the only reason it's deficit neutral over the ten year window.
- The Democrats are refusing to let cuts to doctor payments stand, and also, doctors don't get paid enough.
- Millions of people are going to be added to Medicaid, which is a terrible program because providers don't get paid enough. Also, it would be too expensive to add people to Medicaid.
- Medicare costs too much, and also, shouldn't be cut.
- The Republicans favor "real reform" which mostly seems to consist of liability caps.
Luckily for the Republicans, they weren't exactly playing against the varsity. The Democrats had their own set of uncompelling talking points:
- Insurance companies are evil institutions which deny everyone any care that costs more than a pack of Freedent gum. Also, they cannot control health care costs without substantial government intervention, because they spend far too much on expensive procedures.
- Ted Kennedy sure was a swell guy, wasn't he? He'd be proud of every dang one of us today. (It is impossible to exaggerate how great a role this point played. There was a five minute stretch which consisted largely of people telling Ted Kennedy's replacement that Teddy would be awfully proud of him, and him saying, "No, really, Ted would be proud of you.")
- Small- and medium-sized businesses are groaning under the weight of their health care costs. Also, starting next year, we're going to force them to give you much more generous coverage from your employer, such as coverage for non-dependent "children" up to the age of 26.
- This problem is incredibly urgent, which is why we have to pass this bill, which now takes effect in 2014, RIGHT NOW.
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