Faux Bipartisanship

Reihan makes several strong points:

[W]hen the president claims that the Senate health-care bill he still hopes to salvage includes many Republican ideas, he's stretching. Republicans wanted interstate competition for insurance policies, allowing New Yorkers to buy South Dakota policies that have fewer expensive mandates. The bill allows states to form interstate compacts, allowing New York to decide that New Yorkers can buy policies from certain other statesalmost certainly other states with similarly stiff regulations. Just as the Harlem Globetrotters always choose to play the hapless Washington Generals, this isn't a real competition: It has the form of a Republican idea, but not the substance.

And liberals offer a pretty good reason for not allowing real interstate competition: It might mean that all of the healthiest people in a state will flock to buy barebones policies registered in states with lax regulations, leaving the state government to deal with the oldest and the sickest. Rather than acknowledge this deep difference, however, the president insists that he's incorporated a Republican idea. Roughly the same thing applies to other supposedly conservative ideas in the Senate bill. There is something condescending about this faux bipartisanship. It fools no one but the gullible or the deliberately obtuse, and it obscures a real and legitimate debate. Congressional Republicans will concede nothing because they believe they're right. They will not give political cover to Blue Dogs for voting for a health-care reform bill they're convinced will prove economically ruinous for the country.