Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is the latest GOP smarty-pants to insist via major daily op-ed that, when it comes to health care, Republicans really do have ideas. More than one, even! Still, one wonders if the supply has dwindled recently: Unlike similar pieces by Bobby Jindal and Newt Gingrich and John Goodman, each of which proposed 10 ideas, Pawlenty's Washington Post piece only has five. Maybe they're really good?
Sadly, no. As with previous Republican offerings on the topic of health care, it's at best a mixed bag—far too vague and far too dependent on regulation and bureaucratic tweaking to solve problems. "Modernize health insurance"? Government-set performance metrics for health care providers? As Cato health policy analyst Michael Cannon points out in an excellent point-by-point rundown (worth reading in full!), it's not clear what Pawlenty means by all of his suggestions, nor even that Pawlenty really knows. With this op-ed, what Pawlenty, like any number of Republican politicians before him (Paul Ryan being the notable exception), has proven once again is not that the Republican party has a strong, clear command of health care policy, but that, at least so far, it doesn't.