While Democrats control both the White House and Congress, House Republicans are working to create a fresh legislative agenda on health care, the economy, Big Tech, energy, and a host of key issues in preparation for the fall elections and their hopes of taking control in 2023.
President Biden taunted them in his January 19 news conference asking repeatedly, “What are Republicans for?” Karl Rove says, in his latest Wall Street Journal column, he may be sorry he asked.
While many House Democrats and staffers still are working remotely, Republicans have been gathering for countless meetings on Capitol Hill to answer Biden’s question through the process that Leader Kevin McCarthy calls the Commitment to America that began last summer.
We are, of course, particularly interested in the Healthy Future task force, jointly chaired by Reps. Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Vern Buchanan of Florida. Each task force has up to 18 members, drawn from various committees to overcome the obstacles involving committee jurisdiction that often impede progress. And it is a bottom-up process. Too many bills have failed because leaders didn’t even have buy in from their own team.
Legislators have put health care on the backburner since the 2017 repeal and replace fiasco, but no more. They know the American people still are concerned about a range of health policy issues, and their attentions have shifted since the Covid era. They are, for example, much more focused than before on good health. One place to start: Demand a rewrite of the federal government’s Food Guide Pyramid that many experts believe is highly flawed and has contributed to proliferating obesity*.
We have been invited* to provide our ideas to the Healthy Future task force, and we are relying heavily on our Health Care Choices 20/20 proposal that has the support of 82 health policy leaders and organizations. And it works particularly well in a process like this since it contains 35 specific policy recommendations.
Karl Rove has a wise word of warning: “The task forces should also avoid requiring complete unanimity. This is less about getting every Republican to agree on every proposal than about describing generally acceptable conservative approaches. Let individual candidates pick what answers to emphasize in their districts.”
Good advice. Let the good ideas flourish, focused on core messages and ideas, and engage the American people in an informed conversation about needed policy changes.
*The Galen Institute is non partisan, and we work with health policy colleagues on both sides of the aisle—including Joe Manchin when he was governor of West Virginia and he and I were among 14 people serving on the federal Medicaid Commission. We always seek out colleagues and legislators from the center left who are open to our ideas on patient-centered health reforms that rely on competition and choice to produce better, more affordable health care and coverage options.
Upcoming Event: And please register to join us next Wednesday, February 16, at 2 pm Eastern to hear “The inside story behind Operation Warp Speed, with Paul Mango.”
Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Analysis will moderate this virtual event jointly hosted by IPI and the Galen Institute. Paul will give you the inside story about Operation Warp Speed that he led and which is detailed in his forthcoming book. Please join us!
I should have known this, but the Food Pyramid has been replaced by My Plate. Granted the pyramid still is in use elsewhere. When one Googles “Food Pyramid 2022,” the Harvard Healthy Eating Pyramid shows up as do a number of other alternatives, so the pyramid concept clearly is embedded in our national conversation. But the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s controversial pyramid is history. We’ll take a deeper dive into this issue in the future.