Some days you almost have to feel sorry for Republicans. Almost.

For most of the year Republicans have been content to attack Democrats' healthcare reform proposals while offering little to nothing in the way of alternatives. Apparently it was really bugging House Minority Leader John Boehner that people kept, you know, noticing that. So last week he said, "I gotchyer plan right here." (I'm paraphrasing.)

You can probably guess the rest.

Late last night, the Congressional Budget Office released its initial analysis of the health-care reform plan that Republican Minority Leader John Boehner offered as a substitute to the Democratic legislation. CBO begins with the baseline estimate that 17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won't have health-care insurance in 2010. In 2019, after 10 years of the Republican plan, CBO estimates that ...17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won't have health-care insurance. The Republican alternative will have helped 3 million people secure coverage, which is barely keeping up with population growth. Compare that to the Democratic bill, which covers 36 million more people and cuts the uninsured population to 4 percent.

But maybe, you say, the Republican bill does a really good job cutting costs. According to CBO, the GOP's alternative will shave $68 billion off the deficit in the next 10 years. The Democrats, CBO says, will slice $104 billion off the deficit.

The Democratic bill, in other words, covers 12 times as many people and saves $36 billion more than the Republican plan.

Boehner of course was oblivious to the irony of all this, coming just days after warning, "We can come together to implement smart, fiscally responsible reforms to improve Americans' health care or we can recklessly pursue this government takeover that creates far more problems than it solves." And a few months after releasing a budget with no numbers.

It's like he stays up at night thinking of ways to make himself and his party look utterly ridiculous.

UPDATE: "Constitution, declaration, whatever. Point is I'm patriotic-er than you." — Frank Lewis

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