Center for American Progress Action

The Conservative Response to Our Health Care Crisis: 37 Bills, No Solutions
Press Release

The Conservative Response to Our Health Care Crisis: 37 Bills, No Solutions

A new analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows that in reality, the 37 bills that conservatives in the House of Representatives point to as their alternatives for fixing our nation’s broken health care system add up to very little, as far as actual solutions are concerned.

Please find a summary of the findings below. A chart examining each of the 37 bills can be found here.

The Conservative Response to Our Health Care Crisis: 37 Bills, No Solutions

October 8, 2009

CAP Action’s scrutiny of the 37 bills that Republicans waved at President Barack Obama during his recent speech on health care reform to the joint session of the Congress show that Republicans are being disingenuous about both the scope of these so-called solutions and the fact that they have not been considered by the Democratic leadership. These bills were put together by the Republican Study Committee under the title “Health Care Solutions by RSC Members.”

Our analysis of these bills shows:

  • There is a paucity of new ideas and solutions for health care reform in the Republican camp. Many of these bills echo only a few themes—medical liability and tax cuts, for example—and five of them are reworkings of McCain election proposals, which were rejected by the majority of American voters.
  • A small number of smart ideas proposed by Republicans (eight) have been incorporated into the House and Senate bills.
  • Some of these bills (five) lie outside of the jurisdiction of committees that have reported bills, and since no bill has yet come to the House floor there has been no opportunity for their consideration or inclusion in the reform legislation. In these cases, claiming that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic majority have not considered these bills in committee or on the House floor fails to recognize the procedural rules of the House.
  • Only five amendments relating to these bills were offered during markup of the bills that do lie within the jurisdiction of the House committees that have reported out H.R. 3200. The obvious explanation is that Republicans don’t really care whether these bills are enacted or not.
  • In 18 cases there were opportunities for these legislative provisions to be included in other more appropriate legislative vehicles that have moved through the House, and Republicans have not worked to make this happen.
  • A number of these bills (five) have been around since the 106th Congress—over a decade ago—so claiming that Speaker Pelosi is responsible for failure to ensure their consideration ignores the fact that the House was controlled by Republicans for the major part of that time.
  • Nine bills were introduced after July 1, so it’s unreasonable to expect their inclusion in legislative packages that were already being written at that time.
  • Thirteen bills have no or only one cosponsor, so we assume they have little Republican support.

All in all it’s a bit rich for Republicans to claim they have solutions and that these solutions have been ignored by the Democrats. It takes more than a few sentences of legislative language on paper waved rudely at the president to tackle

View the full analysis of the 37 Republican Study Committee health bills