LaHood makes case for healthcare reform

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took to the pages of the Chicago Tribune today to make the case for healthcare reform.

Obivously, LaHood's position isn't directly related to healthcare. But LaHood is a former Republican congressman, and the administration is probably hoping his imprimatur will lend a sheen of bipartisanship to the bill.

"If I were still a member of Congress, I would proudly vote for the bill that President Barack Obama is championing and I would urge my colleagues to do the same, not because I don't believe in fiscal discipline, but because I do," LaHood wrote.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs promoted the article on Twitter, noting that LaHood is a "lifelong GOPer, fiscal conservative, [and] 08 McCain supporter[.]"

LaHood also repeated Nancy Pelosi's argument that the bill can be "bipartisan" without receiving any Republican votes:

While the ultimate vote on health care may not be bipartisan, the ultimate bill certainly is.

There are several Republican ideas in the bill. It allows Americans to buy health insurance across state lines. It increases the bargaining power of small businesses by allowing them to pool together — much like large corporations or labor unions — to bargain for a better insurance rate. It gives states the flexibility to come up with an alternate health care plan, and it gives them resources to reform our tort system by developing new ways to deal with medical malpractice.