The Hill: Top GOPer: Comprehensive health bill is impossible

Posted on February 25, 2010

It is simply impossible for the Senate to fix healthcare with a single comprehensive bill, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told President Obama today.

Alexander, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said at the healthcare summit today that the issue is simply too complex--and the country too large--to address through comprehensive legislation.

That's why Republicans have decided not to put forward a single, alternative plan, he said.

"If you're waiting for Mitch McConnell to roll in a wheel barrow in here with a 2700 page Republican comprehensive bill, it's not going to happen, because we've come to the conclusion that we don't do comprehesnsive well," Alexander said.

He continued:

"We've watched the comprehensive, economy-wide cap and trade. We've watched the comprehensive immigration bill...We've watched the comprehensive healthcare bill, and they fall of their own weight. Our country is too big, too complicated, too centralized for Washington--a few of us here--to write a few rules about re-making 17% of the economy all at once."

Alexander's comments will likely play into the Democratic argument that Republicans lack ideas. But the Tennessee Republican said that the GOP is eager to start healthcare reform one step at a time.

"We've got people who are used to solving problems step by step," he said.