Stand back Nancy, Republicans have a plan.

Frank Yonkof

As I spent my Saturday night with a box of tissues and a notepad, I had the thrill of watching the House of Representatives pass the health insurance reform on C-SPAN.

Why did I spend a Saturday night watching C-SPAN, you might ask? Well, partially because I was sick last weekend and partially because of the intense debate.

To be perfectly honest, I enjoyed my Saturday night. Unlike every other media outlet in this country, C-SPAN looks past the talking points and gives you a chance to hear everything from our representatives themselves.

For example, I learned that the Republicans actually have a health care plan of their own.

Of course, after listening to five minutes of debate, I quickly realized that the Republican plan was a complete joke that was probably thrown together at FedEx Office minutes before the debate. (The Congressional Budget Office says its plan will still leave 52 million Americans uninsured by 2019.)

Perhaps my favorite quote of the night was from Republican representative Joe Barton, who claimed that those who don’t have health insurance simply don’t want it.

Freedom from health insurance? That’s a first.

Who would not want health insurance? Certainly one of my close friends, who is part of that 10 to 15 million young people who are uninsured, wishes she could afford health insurance with her two jobs-but she cannot.

Naturally, there is going to be a small group of Americans who don’t want to spend the money on insurance even though they could afford it. But these people are going to cost taxpayers an arm and a leg during their next trip to the emergency room, so it’s necessary to mandate insurance.

(For those of you who claim the Democrat’s plan will cost the country an arm and a leg, I must point out official CBO statistics that say the this bill will reduce the federal deficit by $104 billion.)

Wanting more information about this revolutionary plan, I stumbled across where House minority leader John Boehner talked about Republican accomplishments toward reform.

“At the beginning of this year, I told President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Republicans would be ready to work with them whenever possible to address the nation’s biggest challenges,” the Ohio representative said. “I also said that where there are differences, it was our obligation as a party to explain to the American people how we would do things better. And on the ‘stimulus,’ the budget, energy bill, and health care, we have done exactly that.”

So in other words, Republicans have opposed pretty much every piece of legislation for the last 10 months and have contributed nothing except talking about their “philosophy”?

Now, anyone who has read my previous columns knows I am displeased that Democrats waited so long to work toward bipartisanship because, as the quote above demonstrates, Republicans had no plan of cooperating and making concessions.

But for the sake of those who voted for you, couldn’t you contribute a little more than just talking about your philosophy? Lord knows we’ve seen that philosophy in action for the better part of the last decade.

As Democratic Representative Jim McDermott pointed out Saturday, we saw the Republican philosophy of little government involvement when Hurricane Katrina hit the south in 2005.

And for years, we’ve seen how the Republicans favor large corporations while leaving average Americans to fend for themselves. So why anyone would trust his or her health care status to Republicans is beyond me.

Republicans controlled all three branches of government a few years ago, so I’m going to guess that health care is not a priority for them. Why should we believe they have the right answers now?

Frank Yonkof is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].