There's a helpful reality check in the NYT today on the health reform debate. Among the two most common GOP "alternatives" to health reform in the centrist bill the Senate has passed were tort reform (good idea but trivial in terms of cost control) and the ability to buy insurance across state lines. I think tort reform should have been in the bill and that Obama should be open to a stand-alone bill adding it. But the other issue is already in there:

Mr. Obama, in an exchange Friday with Representative Tom Price, Republican of Georgia, said he had considered many Republican ideas and pointed, by example, to a proposal to allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines. “We actually include that as part of our approach,” the president said.

“But the caveat is, we’ve got to do so with some minimum standards; because otherwise what happens is that you could have insurance companies circumvent a whole bunch of state regulations.” After the session, Representative John Shadegg, Republican of Arizona, took issue with Mr. Obama’s comments, saying the president “got his facts wrong.” ...  But in a report comparing the health care bills passed by House and Senate Democrats, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service wrote: “Both bills would allow states to form compacts to facilitate the sale and purchase of health plans across state lines.”

Read the whole piece and you realize just how centrist Obama's proposals are and just how insane the current GOP leadership is.

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