Waxman: GOP making 'serious mistake' to think health bill stance will bring 2010 wins

Republicans are making a "serious mistake" by thinking that stopping Democrats' healthcare reform will result in political victories in 2010, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) warned.

"I think they make a serious mistake trying to make this a partisan fight," Waxman told U.S. News in an interview posted Friday.

Waxman asserted that GOP-ers would be in error to look to the 1994 healthcare fight, in which they blocked President Bill Clinton's reform efforts, as a template for the 2009 fight.

"They are looking at the playbook from 1993 and 1994 where the Republicans pulled someone like Bob Dole back from working out a deal on healthcare in order to deny President Clinton a victory," Waxman said. "And they were rewarded in the election in '94."

"They are playing that same card again, but this time it's not going to work," he added.

Waxman, the chairman of one of the three committees crafting healthcare legislation in the House, signaled that Republican support wouldn't be essential to passing legislation if members of the GOP refuse to play ball on negotiations.

"I think it's always important for legislation to be bipartisan," he said. "But you don't always achieve that goal. If the Republicans don't want it because they want to deny Obama a political success, you don't stop your efforts."