Finally: Prominent GOPers Come Out in Support of Health Care Reform
REPUBLICANS FOR REFORM.... It's an extremely small group, but Time's Karen Tumulty notes the GOP contingent that likes what Democrats are up to on health care reform.
Okay, maybe it's not enough to call a groundswell. But after former Majority Leader Bill Frist told me last Friday that he would end up voting for the bill were he still in Congress (with some caveats about the shortcomings of the legislative language as it now stands), we've heard from some other GOP voices in support of the basic contours of Barack Obama's health care reform effort: Bush Administration HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (who ran as a Republican, but who is now an independent)* and Mark McClellan, who ran both the Food and Drug Administration and the Medicare and Medicaid programs under George W. Bush.
Others are noticing, too. Mike Allen's widely-read "Playbook" feature in Politico included a headline this morning that read, "Tommy Thompson, Frist, Bloomberg give momentum to health care.... Non-Dem Support Builds For Health Reform."
And as long as we're counting GOP heads here, it's probably worth noting that former Republican Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker and Bob Dole have also "endorsed the sorts of reforms President Obama and his allies are pushing."
Now, as a practical matter, these endorsements probably don't mean much. It's a very modest number of people. Moreover, Frist, Thompson, Bloomberg, McClellan, Baker, and Dole have varying degrees of influence in Republican circles, but not one of them will have a vote when reform comes to the floors of Congress.