Gibbs: Enzi’s Flipped Over His Cards And Walked Away from the Health Care Table

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today that the “Gang of Six” health care negotiators on the Senate Finance Committee might now be the “Gang of Five.”

During this week’s GOP YouTube address, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)–one of the three Republicans involved in bipartisan health care negotiations–trashed Democratic reform ideas.

“The bills would expand comparative effectiveness research that would be used to limit or deny care based on age or disability of patients,” Enzi said, echoing the rationale used by those who falsely warn that Democrats plan to create “death panels.”

For the White House, that appears to have been a bridge too far.

“In Senator Enzi’s case, he doesn’t believe there’s a pathway to get bipartisan support and the President thinks that’s wrong,” Gibbs said. “I think Senator Enzi’s clearly turned over his cards on bipartisanship and decided that it’s time to walk away from the table.”

On a related note, Ezra Klein revealed today that Sen. Chuck Grassley–the lead Republican in those negotiations–has been raising money by attacking “Obama-care”: “the legislation sponsored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi…and Chairman Ted Kennedy.”

Maybe the Gang of Six is actually down to four? Let’s see what the White House has to say.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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