March 30th, 2010
10:49 AM ET
13 years ago

Republican candidates told to talk health care

Atlanta (CNN) – Republican Senate candidates are being instructed Tuesday to promote the party's health care policy proposals as they continue to push the "repeal and replace" theme following passage of President Obama's health care reform legislation.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who oversees Senate Republican campaign efforts, outlines the key health care talking points in a new memo, "Moving Forward," that was also conveniently sent to some media outlets including CNN.

"On the trail, it's critical that we remind people of the fact that it was Republicans who fought to force insurance companies to compete with one another over state lines for Americans' business," Cornyn writes in the memo. "It was Republicans who fought to reform the junk lawsuits that raise medical costs and lower quality by forcing doctors to practice 'medicine.' It was Republicans who fought for policies that protected Americans with preexisting conditions and it was Republicans who proposed health care reforms that didn't cut Medicare by $500 billion and raise Americans' taxes by $400 million."

Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, also emphasized a talking point that you should expect Republicans to repeat as the midterm election nears: Americans prefer checks and balances in the system.

"Americans don't want a one-party rule in Washington that brings them unprecedented government intrusion in their lives, with no accountability," Cornyn writes.

Responding to the memo, Democratic Senatorial Communications Director Eric Schultz said, ""Republicans need all the spin they can muster after a yearlong transparent display of shilling for the insurance industry. "

"As they adopt the same strategy for financial regulatory reform, we suggest the memo writers get to work trying to creatively defend their zealous advocacy for Wall Street," he also said. "The bottom line is, Republicans in Washington want their Senate candidates to run on repeal, and nearly all of them have succumb to the pressure. They are now are in the unfortunate position of looking voters in the eye and pledging to take away their health care, reinstate the donut hole for seniors, and restore pre-existing conditions for insurance companies."

Full memo

To: Republican Senate Candidates
From: U.S. Senator John Cornyn, NRSC Chairman
Re: Moving Forward
Date: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just hours after popping the champagne and patting themselves on the back for passing a trillion dollar government health care plan that raises taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars, reality is setting in for the Democrats.

The Department of Labor reported last Friday that the already-high unemployment rate rose again in 27 states during the month of February 2010, setting records in four states – including in Nevada, the home state of Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), where unemployment hit 13.2 percent.

Businesses across the country – including American job creators John Deere and Caterpillar – announced that this massive legislation will cost their shareholders tens of millions of dollars, placing them in an even more vulnerable economic position against their global competitors. AT&T announced that they would assess, and likely reduce, the health care benefits provided currently to employees. California reported that the bill will add another $2 to $3 billion annually in increased costs, which will ultimately be passed on to taxpayers in the form of higher fees and property taxes. And critical state industries – such as the ski industry in New Hampshire and Colorado – announced they will likely hire fewer workers because they simply cannot afford the higher costs and mandates resulting from this bill.

The impact of this flawed legislation has been echoed in local headlines around the country. For example:

· "Polk Jobless Rate Holds Steady At 13.4 Percent "
· "A Rough Time For Nevada's Unemployed "
· "Report: Illinois Has Lost Over 100,000 Jobs To China "
· "Pay Drops For Colorado Workers "
· "Florida Workers Must Get Used To Long-Term Joblessness "
· "Another Hard Year For California Economy: Report "

As U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appropriately noted in the Republican radio address this weekend:

"Most people aren't interested in celebrating a bill that makes their lives more complicated, takes more out of their paychecks and puts decisions they're used to making themselves into the hands of federal bureaucrats. Most people aren't celebrating the fact that their insurance premiums will go up. Seniors aren't popping champagne corks at more than a half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts. And, job creators, already struggling in a down economy, aren't doing any cartwheels over all the mandates and new taxes they'll have to shoulder as a result of this bill."

This is the real story that is quickly taking hold across the country. It's a story which has been missed or ignored by the Democrat elites in Washington. It's a story that is not, however, lost on Americans who will cast their ballots this November.

In a Washington Post poll taken after the Democrats' health spending bill was passed and signed into law, support for the bill is unchanged and upside-down:
· Despite the bill's passage and signing, support for the health spending bill remains statistically unchanged since July and remains upside-down at 46-50 in this poll
o The intensity is with the opposition, with 4 in 10 "strongly" opposed-equal to the intensity of August
o 46 percent of respondents support a full repeal of the health care bill
· The President's handling of health care is up slightly at 48-49
o But 43 percent "strongly disapprove" (equal to the intensity of August) while only 33 percent "strongly approve"

And pollsters not on the payroll of the Democrat campaign committees are also acknowledging this serious political problem for their party. In an article titled, "After reform, no quick poll boost," Politico reported Monday, for example, that Democrat pollster Doug Schoen said, "It's pretty clear to me that public opinion is arrayed against the plan. And among swing voters, opinion is even more against the plan. I don't think there's any evidence it will be good politically, except for maybe some marginal impact firing up the base…..Them's the facts."

As Members of Congress travel around their home states for recess this week, congressional Democrats may consider this a victory for their personal agendas, however, the majority of Americans clearly disagree. There is no doubt that the Democrats' contentious health care takeover, and the partisan maneuvers they used to force it into law, will be a critical issue for both parties over next seven months – and the contrast for voters could not be more clear. Americans have a chance to restore the checks-and-balances and accountability that they deserve in Washington by electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate. Or they can maintain the status quo and endorse the Democrats' partisan maneuvers and costly spending agenda that will continue to cost critical American jobs.

Republicans are offering a robust and positive alternative to the current one-party Democrat rule in Washington. We're offering constructive solutions that, unlike those of the Democrats in Washington, don't fly in the face of our fiscal and economic reality, our Constitution, or the will of the American people.

You and I must remind Americans of that, because our Democrat opponents will use every tool at their disposal to distort our record and our ideas. On the trail, it's critical that we remind people of the fact that it was Republicans who fought to force insurance companies to compete with one another over state lines for Americans' business. It was Republicans who fought to reform the junk lawsuits that raise medical costs and lower quality by forcing doctors to practice "defensive medicine." It was Republicans who fought for policies that protected Americans with preexisting conditions and it was Republicans who proposed health care reforms that didn't cut Medicare by $500 billion and raise Americans' taxes by $400 million.

It's Republicans who continue to believe that we should focus on reforms which actually lower health care costs for Americans, first and foremost.

I have been honored to travel all over our country as NRSC Chairman in the past fifteen months, and one thing is clear: Americans know that Democrat-run Washington is out of control – and they want to replace it with a government that listens to them and works for them.

Americans don't want a one-party rule in Washington that brings them unprecedented government intrusion in their lives, with no accountability. They don't want higher taxes, reckless spending and crippling debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay off.

The difference between Republicans and Democrats is clear – both in our specific proposals and the big ideas behind them.

· Democrats are for higher taxes, reckless spending, crippling debt, and a federal government that interferes more and more in Americans' daily lives.

· Republicans are for lower taxes, controlled spending, fiscal sanity, and a renewal of the entrepreneurial spirit that will provide Americans with secure, well-paying jobs, and allow them to build a foundation of prosperity for generations to come.

As Republican candidates for Senate, your job is to continue drawing these important contrasts with the Democrats' agenda in Washington, while advancing our positive agenda for creating jobs, and striving to bring fiscal sanity to our Federal government. I'm confident that, given the choice, Americans will overwhelmingly choose our strong values and leadership this November.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. tony_n_atl

    All thats in the bill yet they didnt vote for it...Now you create talking points to stay relevant? POLITICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 30, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. Felix_Colorado

    Republicans are on the losing end of the healthcare debate. No matter how they are going to try and spin this. When the dust settles, they are going to be on the outside looking in.

    March 30, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. sharon

    what I find so interesting in this mess called a speech to their gop' that the GOP put this country into a huge mess and had over 8 years to do SOMETHING....................but chose to do NOTHING.

    Yep....................the party of NO........tries to strike again...............

    wait..........................the bill passed both the house and the senate and was signed by PRES. OBAMA and then reconciled and the FINAL
    signing will happen today......................................

    oh well................................LAW of THE LAND...........................................

    March 30, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. brian

    Republicans, touting Tort Reform, are Wasting the People's time, and money on frivolous lawsuits, that have ZERO chance of overturning this bill- Someone should tell them the Fed vs States argument was decided by the Civil War- More waste of time obstruction from the Party of No!!!!!!

    March 30, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. duckhunter13

    something good for the dems to read. Please feel free Dems to share with us about your philosphys instead of always doing behind closed doors.

    March 30, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. jane

    Republican candidates know full well that they belong to the party, not the people. It's a shame.

    March 30, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. LG

    "Republicans who fought to force insurance companies to compete with one another over state lines for Americans' business,"

    Please explain how this would work.

    Many insurance companies like Aetna & UHC are already licensed to sell in all states. So, what does it mean for a business to buy it from another state? Is this just a clever way to let businesses ignore state mandated coverage by buying insurance from another state that does not include that mandate? How does that help the consumer?

    Conversely, there are many smaller insurance companies (e.g. Kaiser Permanente) that license in specific geographic regions. If a business from outside of that region buys with them, then all of the physicians will be "outside of program", making the insurance of little value to the employees.

    I'd like to see the Republican alternatives be more than one-liners that sound good but are unclear as to what they actually mean.

    March 30, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Clint in Houston

    Cornyn is my senator and useless as teats on a boar hog. He could care less about Texans, he's more focused on working with chinless McConnell and the party of NO. I have more respect for a sidewinder rattle snake than I do for Cornyn.

    March 30, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. Michael in Boston

    Spin it however you want it, the Democrats are the only ones working in Washington. If it were up to the Republicans, we'd still be faced with rising premiums and more and more people left out in the cold to die.

    Its better to work towards solutions, than feed the media so you'll be re-elected come Fall. If the Republicans take the House and Senate in 2010, then we are surely dooming our country from moving forward.

    March 30, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Annie, Atlanta

    Why did they refuse a seat at the adult table when they had the chance, instead choosing to throw temper tantrums in front of every camera and mic available? Repeal & Replace? Replace with what? They want to privatize Social Security (like the rich need to feed off our elderly, too), and do away with Medicare. The GOP no longer has our best interests even on their radar. Have they no decency left? As I've said before, I wonder what Dwight Eisenhower would think of his party today.

    March 30, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. BestProfitCompany = WAR

    "Americans don't want a one-party rule in Washington that brings them unprecedented government intrusion in their lives, with no accountability,"

    Yeah! When rethuglicans are in charge!! Government intrusion aka "maria schiavo" "gay marriage" "patriot act." No accountability aka "Bush years" "hiding true cost of iraq war" "outing a cia agent (treason)" "no bid contracts for cheney's buddies" The list goes on and on...

    March 30, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. Sam

    Democrats are on such a roll. Finally, the Republican party who absolutely live in a fantasy world where unbridled corporate profits lie at the base of their alter and unchecked greed and self indulgence rest on their mantel have just had their clocks cleaned! As one of their own said "it's the worst political setback for Republicans in 40-years". Can you say payback time for the fraud of Election 2000?
    The Republicans completely wrecked the country so bad since they elected Howdy Doody the first time that it became a slam-dunk for us to ascend to the White House for the next 10-years at least! On behalf of Democrats everywhere I would like to thank John McCain, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Jim DeMint, Jim Bunning, Eric Cantor, Mike Pense, Bob Corker, Jon Kyl, et all, for being the perfect jerks you were at disinforming the public and causing outright fear in the country over something as much a basic human right as healthcare. You guys will roast over this flaw in your character during the remainder of this life and all of the next! Say "hi" to Reagan and Nixon when you get there.

    March 30, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. ATL Guy

    Replace and repeal with.....what? The Republicans have not put a proposal on the table explaining what their legislative intent is. What they want to do is have a repeat of the townhall meetings. But at this point, the train has left the station and moved on.

    March 30, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. jbakaregit

    GOP, you must think America is stupid.

    After all these years, why didn't you pass any healthcare reform that benefits America?

    The GOP cares nothing for the majority of America except the top 2% and their corporate donors. That's it. We remember the years under Bush: 2 tax cuts for the rich that weren't paid for, 2 wars (one of them based on lies they have yet to pay in court for) that weren't paid for, Katrina debacle, crashed economy, 9/11, establishment of torture, Valerie Plame outing by VP Dick Cheney, etc.

    You talk about "repeal and replace?" How about this: repeal more GOPers and replace them with more Dems or Independents that actually care for America.

    March 30, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. Larry

    The GOP hypocrisy is bigger than a Black Hole

    The obstructionists to Health Care Reform for the past many years, now want credit for it being a reality

    Sadly, it just doesn't get any funnier than this

    The Party Of NO ... what a JOKE!!!

    Next they'll be claiming to have voted for Obama

    WHAT A JOKE !!!!!!!

    March 30, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. kebo72

    And it was the Republicans who have never tried to bring about a better form of health care to the American people until the Democrats pushed their top agenda. Way to go. Now try and take all the credit for it. Had you been helpful in drafting the legislation rather than obstructing it, there may be even more favorable attributes in it. GOP will be sorry in 11/2010.

    March 30, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  17. The Clear Thinking Independent Voter

    Brilliant Strategy GOPers.

    Don't focus on jobs.
    Resist Wall Street reform ... then seek to repeal & replace.

    After having advanced ZERO plans on Healthcare Insurance Reform while they were in power of the Presidency, the House & the Senate, NOW, all of a SUDDEN, they are going to talk up healthcare repeal.

    Republican politicians are like that person in a group meeting that tries to repeat the ideas of others as if they were the originator. I'm sorry but I respect people that can originate an idea and implement it .... like the Democrats have done.

    I am not impressed by naysayers that don't have the courage to advance their own thoughts 1st and instead are like vultures that only pick at portions of an overall compromise that they don't like.

    The Democrats are moving on to Wall Street & Jobs. They are leading. Republicans either follow or get out of the way.

    March 30, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. Ken in NC

    WOW.....I think these Republicans that are going around lying about all they have done to promote good quality health care must be severely constipated. I think they are full of themselves. They have no shame and will say anything to get in office even when they know it to be a lie.

    Through it all, I am glad we have Republicans because as mad as I am at Democrats, when I see what Republicans are willing to say and do to get back in the Majority, I am pushed closer and closer to the ranks of Democrats.

    March 30, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  19. 330shortbutcute

    Okay, so why didn't the GOP go to the table during the 15 months that the bill was proposed? I don't undstand how someone can say they have all these wonder ideas, but don't fight. Saying "no, we need to start over" was not the way to handle this. Personally, I think the GOP should have got in the trenches, worked on the bill, stretched it out a little longer/delayed schedule to get it passed. At least, it would have been said they were in there working with the Dems and on behalf of the American people. At least make it "look like" you were doing something besides saying "no, lets start over". I mean really? What options did the Gop present/sell to the American people. The GOP handled this whole situation wrong! What a joke!

    March 30, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Tommy P

    Repulsivecans had 8 years to reform healthcare and end abortion and did NOTHING so they are all losers in my book.

    March 30, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. GOP = "I hoe he fails"

    How cynical and disingenuous can you get?

    For 100 years, progressives and moderates tried to reform our healthcare system. Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton all tried to pass a healthcare bill. Each and every single time their efforts were blocked by conservatives. And when conservatives were in power, they never even mentioned the word healthcare. Now – suddenly – conservatives have all these big ideas on the subject that would be much better.

    Come closer, said the spider to the fly.

    March 30, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. 330shortbutcute

    I really expected better from the GOP! I am really disappointed!

    March 30, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. CommonSense09

    And please remind the people, that it was also the Republicans who did not vote for the bill nor their own issues within the Healthcare Reform Bill....therefore it's too late now to claim victory!

    March 30, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. VETO

    Repiblican senators are the primary obstructionists. Sen. Grassley had the audacity to try and take credit for writing the bill. These guys are toast come November.

    DEATH OF THE GOP 11/10

    March 30, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  25. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Anyone notice how the slimy leftists broke in to a book signing and disrupted a book signing by Karl Rove last nite. They are such hypocrites and racists, slimy and corrupt, just like their beloved chosen one, Hussein Obozo.

    March 30, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
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