As many of you know, the Obama health care reform law, far from being some radical piece of legislation, was actually something of a historic compromise: the decades-long progressive goal of universal health care coverage but achieved by what was essentially a Republican or at least a centrist policy approach.
So it’s little surprise that a number of key Republicans had endorsed the basic approach in the past. And a few were candid and courageous enough to endorse it in the heat of the health care debate in 2009 — though most ones who probably didn’t plan on running for office again. One of those was former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) who is reportedly about to announce he’s running for senate.
After the jump, I’ve included the joint statement Thompson released with Dick Gephardt in November 2009 — one of several. This was before the law took its absolute final form. But the gist was already clear. And Thompson’s endorsement doesn’t provide any wiggle room for him now to oppose it, without completing recanting his earlier stance.
I’ll be very curious to see how Thompson’s support plays out in the context of the highly polarized environment in Wisconsin today.
Statement after the jump …
Washington, D.C. (November 20, 2009) – Tommy Thompson and Richard Gephardt, Board members of America’s Agenda: Health Care for All, today released the following statement on the Senate Health-Care reform bill:
“The health-care bill in the Senate represents another milestone in achieving meaningful health- care reform for millions of Americans. It is now critical that members of Congress work together in a bi-partisan fashion to pass a common-sense, fiscally responsible solution to drive down health-care costs, ensure access to affordable and quality care, increase efficiency and achieve real savings.
“While we both have specific concerns with the bill in its current form, we believe a bipartisan consensus must emerge to address the health care crises in America. All evidence shows that the number of uninsured Americans will continue to rise and that skyrocketing costs will be simply unsustainable for American businesses and workers without Congressional action in the near term.
“Any final bill passed into law must focus on both the human and economic impact, ensuring that access and affordability are achieved for employers, employees, and Americans currently without coverage. We can all agree that the opportunity before us is far too great to let specific differences stand in the way of reaching consensus legislation needed this year.
“As the Senate takes up the bill, we urge Members to further reduce costs, waste, inefficiency and chronic disease prevalence through such measures as coordinated health teams at the family doctor-patient level. It is a proven idea that both business and labor have rallied behind, and will redefine the way we prevent chronic disease, eliminate unnecessary costs and deliver 21st Century health-care to millions who need it most. In short, coordinated health teams will tie together, and make real, disparate elements of health-care reform by providing a means to help eliminate costly fragmentation of our health care system once and for all.
“Americans will look back with appreciation for those who set aside political interests to keep the process moving forward. Working together, it is time to show the nation that consensus legislation is possible, that ideas and bipartisanship far outweigh politics and, above all, that members of both parties rose to the occasion and got the job done.”