Forget Bipartisan Backing for Health Care Reform Bill

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2009 11:14 AM CDT
A citizen takes part in a health care reform rally on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama can keep up the bipartisan talk, but it looks like Democrat-sponsored health care reform legislation in Congress has very little chance of winning meaningful GOP support, per the New York Times. GOP lawmakers are balking en masse at the provision for a public plan to challenge private insurers, not to speak of the $1 trillion price tag. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, asked to estimate the number of GOP backers, said:  “I think right now, none. Zero.”

The reticence on the part of the minority party is raising hackles at the White House. “I have never seen a party leadership lose two national elections back to back and still defend the status quo,” says Rahm Emanuel. Still, Democrats seem to want the legitimacy that comes with broad support. And “this is not going to be a bipartisan bill with just three or four Republicans,” says GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is working with Dems toward a solution.