As we reported some time ago, 10th District Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk will take a leading role in crafting and presenting the GOP alternative to the Democrats' radical re-working of the healthcare system.
A significant article in Roll Call outlined Kirk's involvement (usually Roll Call is subscription-only, but I was able to access this article, at least for now):
The moderate plan has been proposed by Reps. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Charlie Dent (Pa.) and reportedly will form the basis of a full-blown GOP alternative developed by the GOP Health Care Solutions Group headed by Rep. Roy Blunt (Mo.), but not yet unveiled. [snip]
Kirk and Dent’s Medical Rights and Reform Act is designed to lower the cost of insurance policies through legal reform — which will reduce the expensive practice of “defensive medicine” — and also create interstate pools.
According to Kirk, the average cost of insurance in states like California, which have limits on medical malpractice awards and allow large-scale pooling, is less than half that in lawyer-friendly states like New Jersey.
Other Republicans are also crafting other plans, which is good to hear, as the message so far has been very negative on Obama's plan without offering any concrete alternative proposals. This strategy seems to be working thus far, as the Roll Call article notes, but it won't be long before voters want to hear some positive plans out of the GOP, as almost everyone seems to agree that the health care system does need some serious care itself.
That being said, the DSCC is sure concerned about Kirk and has already started the smear campaign.
UPDATED 8/13/09 7:25 a.m.: Here's some coverage of a forum on healthcare conducted by Congresscritters Kirk and Judy Biggert yesterday in Naperville:
One Wheaton businessman, Richard Godwin of Collector's Guide Publishing, said he thinks it shouldn't be an employer's responsibility to provide health insurance. Hailing from London, Godwin said he has found it easier to start companies in countries with government-run health care because of the reduced cost to employee workers. "The people of the country should be able to count on government," he said.
Kirk rebutted by pointing out one proposal would levy an 8 percent payroll tax on employers to fund the plan. Kirk also said patrons of Canada's system continually cross into the U.S. for better, faster treatment.
"If we have government take control of our health care ... where are we going to drive?" Kirk asked to laughter.
Also, the Tribune editorial staff weighs in on the healthcare debate, and suggests that the Democrats stop blaming people for having questions and concerns, and do a better job of explaining their plan... maybe even consider taking the complex issue of health care reform one step at a time instead of trying to do everything at once:
There's a lot of fear and misinformation about the Democrats' plan. So how about stepping back, Democrats?
Stop blaming people for being angry or confused. You've undertaken to reshape one-sixth of the U.S. economy under a hasty, self-imposed deadline. You're channeling those late-night commercials that urge viewers to buy now, while supplies last!It's the classic hard sell. Who can blame Americans for being suspicious?